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Broadband Roundup: Francella Ochillo is New Chief at Next Century Cities, Vermont Broadband Bill, and States Ponder Telehealth

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Next Century Cities on Tuesday announced that it had named Francella Ochillo as the non-profit organization’s new executive director. Ochillo, currently the Vice President of Policy and General Counsel for the National Hispanic Media Coalition, has been active in testifying before Congress, meeting with the Federal Communications Commission and participating in local events across the country…

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Broadband Roundup: Transparency for Tech Platforms, Fiber in American Fork and Mountain Connect

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Axios is reporting that Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., plan to introduce The Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulations on Data Act (DASHBOARD). The measure would require tech company to better explain to consumers what they are giving up when they share their personal information with big tech platforms…

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Broadband Roundup: 5G Needs Fiber, Anchorage Wireless Project and Budgeting for Broadband in Fort Collins

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Just because 5G is “around the corner” doesn’t mean fiber optic broadband development is unnecessary, said Ben Lewis-Ramirez of Lit Communities. Ramirez is not the only one with a cynical outlook on 5G’s nationwide rollout. “Deep deployment of fiber optics is a national imperative. The success of 5G wireless will hinge on deep fiber. The…

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Broadband Roundup: Gigi Sohn on Wireless Mergers, Utah Ignite Lunch Launch, and New Global Crypto-Currencies

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The political turmoil and guess-manship over the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger continues, with 10 state attorney generals filing a lawsuit in New York last week in a federal district court. Unusually, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice did not join the lawsuit. It’s not the first thing that’s unusual about this particular merger review.…

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Broadband Roundup: SiFi Proposes Open-Access Network in Lowell, Ajit Pai on Broadband Farming

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SiFi Networks has offered to install and maintain a new fiber optic network in Lowell, Massachusetts—at no cost to the city. This infrastructure would pave the way for new internet service providers to compete with Comcast, which is currently the main internet provider within the city. “Increasing competition is one of the best ways to…

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Broadband Roundup: Controversy Around 24 Gigahertz, Plus Rural Calls and Networks

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The Federal Communications Commission’s recent auction of the 24 GigaHertz (GHz) spectrum has been criticized by both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. One of the concerns raised by NOAA and NASA is the potential for interference with adjacent bands that collect important weather data by using microwave…

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Broadband Roundup: Congress Considers Plans to Improve Mapping, AT&T Launches 5G Phone

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After wide bipartisan acknowledgement that broadband map currently being used by the Federal Communications Commission is wildly inaccurate, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., has introduced the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act, urging the FCC to halt decisions on broadband funding until more accurate data is available. The bill will require the FCC to gather…

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Federal Communications Commission Announces $169 Million in Rural Broadband Funding

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WASHINGTON, June 10, 2019 – The Federal Communications Commission on Monday authorized $166.8 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to 60,850 unserved rural homes and businesses in 22 states. Providers will begin receiving funding this month. A map of the winning bids is available here. This funding represents the second wave…

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Broadband Roundup: Texas Rural Funds Collaborative and Infrastructure Zone in Indiana

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Currently, 1.45 million residents of rural Texas lack high-speed internet connections, but a program launched on Wednesday by Connected Texas, a subsidiary of the national nonprofit Connected Nation, will attempt to change that. Connected Texas is taking a three-step approach over the next two years to increase rural broadband access: Making sure lawmakers have accurate…

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Broadband Roundup: Virginia Tobacco Region Awards $8 Million in Grants, and Senate Passes Broadband Research Legislation

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On Thursday, the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission awarded almost 8 million dollars to fourteen counties across rural Virginia for the development of broadband services, reported The News & Advance. Commission Chairman Kathy Byron highlighted the essential role increased broadband access will play in economic growth, particularly in the tourism industry. “People who visit generally bring…

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Pennsylvania Broadband Speeds Worse Than Previously Believed, According to State Report

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There is not a single county in Pennsylvania where more than half of the households meet federal standards for broadband, according to a report (PDF) released Monday by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a legislative agency of the state’s general assembly. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University collected more than 11 million broadband speed tests to…

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Broadband Roundup: NTIA Database on Federal Projects Released, FCC’s Carr Visits Montana and Wyoming, and New Broadband Study

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The National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a comprehensive database of federal broadband programs on Monday. (See also this PDF for the 109-page guide of programs.) The database was created under the American Broadband Initiative’s mandate to expand connectivity for all Americans. The database includes information about billions of dollars in potential grants and loans from several…

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Is Broadband Coverage Getting Better? FCC Critics Say Agency Data is Part of the Problem

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The divide between rural and urban internet access has “narrowed substantially,” according to an annual report recently released by the FCC. However, The Verge reported that several experts are debating the accuracy of this data. The report is based on data provided from service providers, which may overstate availability or be otherwise incorrect. One minor…

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Broadband Roundup: Georgia State Plan, New Bills in Alabama, and Launch in Loveland, Colorado

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Approximately 1.6 million residents of rural Georgia currently lack high-speed internet access, but this could change under a new state broadband plan (PDF) released this month, AJC reported. According to Georgia officials, this will have a major impact on schools, hospitals, farmers, and more. The plan requires the government to map areas in the state that…

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Press Release: Benton Foundation Opposes Proposal to Cap Fund to Close Digital Divide

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On May 31, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposes imposing an overall cap on the Universal Service Fund. USF programs provide subsidies that make telecommunications and broadband services more available and affordable for millions of Americans. The following may be attributed to Benton Foundation Executive Director Adrianne B.…

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USDA Announces Loans to Improve Rural Electric Infrastructure and Upgrade Energy Efficiency

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WASHINGTON, May 30, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing $858 million in loans to upgrade rural electric systems across 17 states, benefiting around 450,000 consumers. Approximately 7.5% of this funding will be used to finance smart grid technologies, allowing for more efficient electricity transmissions and improved security. “Investing in our nation’s electric…

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Cord-Cutting Rises as Consumers Shift to Streaming Over-the-Top Video, According to NTIA Survey

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: That latest internet use survey from the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration shows that the proportion of internet users watching videos online has grown from 45 percent in 2013 to 70 percent in 2017. The organization added a question about over-the-top vide viewing to its survey in order to track trends and…

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Commerce Department Grants 90-Day Reprieve From Huawei Ban, Cites Impact on Rural Broadband Networks

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: On Monday, a mere five days after placing Chinese telecommunications manufacturer Huawei on the “Entity List” of effectively banned companies, the Trump administration signaled a (temporary) reprieve: Effective Monday, U.S. manufacturers will have 90 days in which to find alternatives to Huawei: “The Temporary General License grants operators time to make other…

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Utah’s Open Infrastructure Network Releases Timetable for Fiber in Orem; To Complete Buildout by 2022

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: There is much to cheer for better broadband in Utah, including this report from today’s Daily Herald. The Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, the U.S.’s largest open access network, is on a roll. It is boasting an accelerated buildout in several Utah communities, and commitments to buildout its remaining cities, including Orem.…

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Why States and the Federal Government Alike Are Honing in on Broadband Data and Broadband Access

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: This OpEd last week highlights the importance of broadband data and mapping, the variety of efforts underway to address inadequacies in our informational base, plus the broadband coordination currently going on in the federal government, and among many of the state governments. Of particular note, later in the articles, is the way it highlights…

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Senators Capito and Hassan Re-Introduce the Rural Reasonable and Comparable Wireless Access Act

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Together with her Democratic colleague Sen. Maggie Hassan, Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito on Friday introduced legislation designed to establish a national standard that would govern the Federal Communications Commission’s determination about whether mobile and broadband services in rural areas are “reasonably comparable” to service provided in urban areas. Capito has also recently introduced a…

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Rep. Anna Eshoo Reintroduces Broadband Bills to Lay Conduit, Streamline Pole Attachments and Permit Community Broadband

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Rep. Anna Eshoo on Thursday introduced three separate measures designed to expedite broadband access. The Conduit Deployment Act and the CLIMB Once Act are common-sense measures that enjoy strong support from many players in the industry, at least at a general level. The Community Broadband Act is also a common-sense measure to remove…

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Industry Groups and Non Profit Advocates Offer Encouraging Words about House Energy and Commerce Broadband Measure

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Telecommunications industry and advocacy organizations on Wednesday and Thursday reacted to the introduction of the LIFT America Act, H.R. 2741, which stands for Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s America Act, by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, R-N.J. The measure includes $40 billion, over five years, to deploy broadband. A hearing…

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Interactive Advertising Bureau Joins the Growing Number of Industry Lobbyists Calling for Privacy Legislation

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: The CEO and Executive Vice President of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group for digital marketers, argue in a Tuesday OpEd for “Do Not Track Plus” legislation. With civil society and lobbyists alike joining the chorus for privacy legislation, it’s looking more and more likely that — eventually — online privacy…

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Time to Focus on California Legislation That Affects Infrastructure Access to Rights-of-Way and Conduit, says EFF

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: California, and many other states, have muscled their way onto the national broadband stage. They’ve done this through legislation that would either require net neutrality protections that the Federal Communications Commission removed in December 2017, or use state purchase power to require that selected Internet Service Providers commit to neutrality principles, or…

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Portland, Home to Historic Open Access Battles, is Bringing Municipal Dark Fiber to Light

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Susan Crawford is once again bringing history to life with this blast-from-the-past story of how “net neutrality” owes some of its roots to a 20-year-old fight in Portland. Today, however, the city is bringing open access battles into the 21st Century. (We wrote about Lake Oswego here in October 2015.) And here’s…

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What Will Fiber Optic Network Owner Zayo’s Acquisition by Private Equity Mean for Broadband?

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Many fiber-focused companies in the U.S., and overseas, have turned to private equity investors instead of the public markets. What the public company Zayo’s acquisition mean for the industry? Steven Blum takes a stab at his prognostication. One can only hope that it bodes well: Zayo is a key middle-mile ingredient for…

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Mozilla’s Internet Health Report Explores the Power of Cities in Addressing Net Neutrality

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Mozilla’s recently-released “Internet Health Report” is a fascinating look at the politics and technology behind our contemporary broadband nettworks. This story, on the “Power of Cities,” highlights the role of grass-roots activism in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s decision, in December 2017, to lift Obama-era net neutrality rules. Spotlight: The power of…

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Press Release: Rep. Paul Tonko Reintroduces House-Passed Bill to Increase Broadband Access in Underserved Areas

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Bipartisan ACCESS BROADBAND Act would improve coordination and community access to federal broadband resources WASHINGTON, April 4, 2019 – Representatives Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Susan Brooks, R-Ind., announced the introduction of H.R. 1328: the ACCESS BROADBAND Act today, bipartisan legislation that would expand broadband access in underserved areas and create a simpler process for small businesses and local economic…

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A Research Brief on Household Access to Broadband from the Strategic Networks Group

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: We’ve been following SNG Group for some time. Think of this group as the “broadband economists.” They take data about broadband and help communities understand what they can do with it to enhance their usage of high-speed technology, and to find their competitive advantages vis-a-vis other communities. See this research report they’ve…

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Livestream from Silicon Flatirons on ‘Internet Platforms’ Rising Dominance, Evolving Governance’

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Big Black Eye for Google as it Shuts Down its Fiber Access Network in Louisville, Kentucky

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: As Google says goodbye to the first of its fiber cities in which it has actually deployed connectivity, questions swirl about what happens to the network already in place. In its blog post, Google refers to “learn[ing]” by failing,” and links to an article about challenges of exposed fiber lines and a…

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Piece Outlines SiFi Networks’ Plan to Build Open Access Network in Saratoga Springs, New York

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: We reported this news back in August, but it’s worth highlighting again with this new new piece on SiFi Networks’ project in Saratoga Springs, a city of 28,027 in upstate New York. Most notably, the article includes a link to the agreement between SiFi Networks and the city. Saratoga Springs to lay fiber…

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California’s Privacy Legislation Will Force Changes in the Way Businesses Collect Personal Information in 2020

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: We’ve written about the California Consumer Privacy Act before in “European and Chinese Pressures are Squeezing Silicon Valley, Threatening a Global ‘Splinternet’. The fact of multiple states passing significant privacy legislation is one of the potential drivers for federal consideration of substantial privacy rules. Here, attorney Lauren Stickroth catalogs the various aspects…

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How to Understand The Future of Privacy Policy: A Q&A With David Brin

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: We remember reading The Transparent Society 20 years ago, back in the days when Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy said, “You have no privacy; get over it.” Brin’s book was remarkably prescient in providing a pathway for how to live with the ever-decreasing private space occasioned by technological progress. Here, in an…

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Kelvin Droegemeier Confirmed as the Next Head of the Office of Science and Technology Policy

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: A Senate confirmation prior to the end of the 115th Congress at Noon on Thursday brought a new head to the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The position has been vacant for nearly two years. In a statement, CCIA CEO Ed Black said, “This is a vitally important link to the administration…

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FCC Releases Tentative Agenda for January 30 Agency Meeting

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Editor’s Note: The Federal Communications Commission released the following press release, entitled “FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for January Open Meeting”: WASHINGTON, January 3, 2019—Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the items below are tentatively on the agenda for the January Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 30, 2019.  Should the current lapse…

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Federal Communications Commission Plans Shutdown Beginning Thursday, January 3

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Editor’s Note: The Federal Communications Commission issued this press release on Monday – it looks as though the agency will close down right as Congress is coming back into session.  WASHINGTON, December 31, 2018—In the event of a continued partial lapse in federal government funding, the Federal Communications Commission will suspend most operations in the…

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Metro Finally Extends Wireless Coverage to a Portion of Washington Underground

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: It’s about time that Metro began covering the Washington subway! Metro, AT&T, Sprint, T‐Mobile and Verizon Wireless announce major milestone in tunnel wireless coverage, from WMATA: December 19, 2018 – Today Metro and the nation’s leading wireless carriers, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless announced that more than half of Metro’s tunnels…

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D.C. Circuit Court Questioning Suggests an Uphill Battle for the Justice Department to Defeat AT&T Acquisition

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: The first news report that we’ve seen on Thursday’s argument before the D.C. Circuit. While the Trump Justice Department attempted to stop the merger between AT&T and Time Warner, the deal has already closed after it was blessed by district court judge Richard Leon. This report emphasizes the tone and mood in the closely-watched case.…

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