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Broadband Roundup

FCC Concludes First Mid-Band Spectrum Auction, Government Oversight of Data Privacy, OpenVault Report

Jericho Casper



Photo of Ajit Pai from February 2018 by Gage Skidmore used with permission

On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission announced the conclusion of bidding in its auction of Priority Access Licenses in the 3550-3650 MegaHertz band.

Auction 105 made available the greatest number of spectrum licenses ever in a single FCC auction.

Pai attributed the strong demand for licenses to the FCC’s reforms to the licensing rules for what is also referred to as the 3.5 GigaHertz (GHz) band.

The licensed spectrum will further the deployment of 5G, as well as, the Internet of Things and other spectrum-based services.

“This auction has been a key part of our 5G FAST Plan and our ongoing push to make more mid-band spectrum available for 5G,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

“This is a banner day for American leadership in 5G and for American consumers,” Pai said in a statement (PDF). “The 3.5 GigaHertz auction has concluded, and I can say unequivocally it was a resounding success.”

Pai said he is looking forward to the Commission making available 280 more megahertz of mid-band spectrum for 5G in the C-Band auction beginning on December 8. The C-Band spectrum is generally understood to run from 3.7 GHz to 4.2 GHz.

Consumer demands for government oversight of data privacy reflects growing awareness of privacy issues

Privitar, a data privacy firm, on Tuesday released new survey findings from its 2020 Consumer Trust and Data Privacy report, which set out to understand how consumers feel about the privacy of their personal data and the role government should play.

The report found that 73 percent of consumers would like to see government oversight when it comes to the protection of their sensitive digital information.

A significant majority of respondents think there should be more government oversight of data privacy at the federal, state and local levels.  Out of these, 35 percent believe there should be oversight coming from the federal level.

78 percent indicated being “concerned” or “very concerned” about protecting their personal data.

More than half of respondents, 59 percent, are worried about data being stolen as part of a breach or sold to other third parties, demonstrating a growing awareness of privacy issues.

The survey reveals Americans are increasingly concerned about privacy and believe elected officials should hold some responsibility, which may be something they’ll be thinking about when they cast their votes in November.

Netizens’ demands for upload up, while demands for download dip

OpenVault recently published its network analysis for the second quarter of 2020, the first full quarter under COVID-19 working and learning restrictions.

The report reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic has largely poked holes in the argument that consumers need faster download than upload Internet speeds.

OpenVault found that the need for upload speeds has drastically jumped, largely due to consumers’ dependence on video conferencing as a business, educational and lifestyle tool.

While the demand for upload speeds has skyrocketed, downstream demands have dipped.

“In contrast to quarter-over-quarter declines in downstream usage, upstream consumption was up 5.3 percent in 2Q20, when compared with 1Q20,” reads the report.

The trends in higher demand for bandwidth consumption and faster speeds are forming the new “broadband normal.”

As more people work and learn from home, the demand for upstream bandwidth will continue to multiply, largely driven by the need for two-way video communication to maintain any type of normalcy.


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