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Broadband Roundup: White House Summit on 5G and Huawei, Sen. Bennet Grills Facebook, Rural Fiber in Ohio

Adrienne Patton

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Photo of Michael Bennet in August 2019 by Gage Skidmore used with permission.

In light of the increased attention being paid to allegations of security vulnerabilities in telecommunications equipment manufactured by Huawei, the White House will hold a 5G summit in April, reports Eamon Javers of CNBC.

According to Javers, the summit has not been “officially announced,” but was confirmed by Trump economic advisor Larry Kudlow.

“The administration fears that the Chinese government has installed ‘back doors’ in the gear that will allow for spying on sensitive communications,” writes Javers.

The toughest critics of Huawei were disappointed when U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last month that the U.K. won’t completely ban Huawei infrastructure from the nation’s 5G deployment.

“The upcoming 5G summit is intended to gather information from the tech industry to help the White House press its case with allied countries that they should not allow Huawei equipment into their telecommunications networks,” reports Javers.

Sen. Bennet presses Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about election disinformation

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, released the letter he wrote to Mark Zuckerberg on Monday with concerns that Facebook is not effectively tampering misinformation.

According to Bennet’s letter, “the Oxford Internet Institute reported that governments or political parties orchestrated ‘social media manipulation’ campaigns in 70 countries in 2019.”

Bennet also sites examples of Facebook misinformation in elections in Brazil and the Philippines.

“I am concerned that Facebook, as an American company, has not taken sufficient steps to prevent its platforms from undermining fundamental democratic values around the world,” writes Bennet.

Bennet requested that Facebook respond to a series of questions concerning its practices by April 1.

“As we approach critical elections in 2020, not only in the United States, but also in countries such as Egypt, Georgia, Iraq, and Sri Lanka, Facebook must swiftly adopt stronger policies to limit abuses of its platforms and to absorb lessons learned from the cases cited above,” Bennet writes.

Rural broadband partnership between Cincinnati Bell and Butler REC

Cincinnati Bell and Butler Rural Electric Cooperative are partnering up to “expand fiber broadband to parts of rural Ohio,” writes Bernie Arnason on Telecompetitor.

Arnason reports that this partnership is unique because “most telco electric partnerships involve smaller rural telcos and neighboring electric cooperatives.”

He said that larger telcos believe they are seeing a window of opportunity for rural broadband partnerships as part of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program, writes Arnason.

The partnership in Ohio will service fiber broadband to approximately 2,000 Butler Electric members with Gigabit internet service, home phone, whole-home Wi-Fi, and internet security.

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