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Recovery Act

The Internet Wonk’s Guide to the Trump Administration’s New American Broadband Initiative

February 13, 2019 - The Trump Administration on Wednesday highlighted the importance of enhancing broadband internet service for America, particularly in rural areas, as it promoted a variety of existing federal initiatives under a new brand, the "American Broadband Initiative." Through the issuance of a new "Milestones Report" by the Agriculture Department and the Commerce… Keep Reading

How Abraham Lincoln’s Belief in Equal Opportunity Animated a Passion for Infrastructure Improvements

Editor's Note: Around the time of Presidents' Day eight years ago, I wrote this piece about the connection between Abraham Lincoln's passion for infrastructure improvements and his belief in equal opportunity. I linked it to the then pressing - and still pressing - need for infrastructure improvements in Rural America. On Abraham Lincoln's 210th birthday… Keep Reading

M-Lab Celebrates 10 Years of Broadband Speed Tests, Discusses Work with Schools and Libraries

WASHINGTON, August 16, 2018 - New measures to improve broadband education and access in schools and libraries were among the innovations in broadband data touted on the second day of a conference last week on Measurement Lab. The 10 year anniversary conference was hosted on August 7 and 8 by the New American Foundation, which… Keep Reading

Ten Years After the Beginning of Broadband Data Collection Efforts, M-Lab Gathers to Celebrate

WASHINGTON, August 8, 2018 – Experts in broadband data analysis on Tuesday criticized internet service providers for overstating coverage in federal broadband data collection efforts, and for resisting cooperation that could increase network security. At an event commemorating the 10th anniversary of Measurement Lab, or “M-Lab,” held at the New America Foundation, experts spoke about… Keep Reading

NTIA’s Request for Comments on Broadband Data Spurs Concerns About FCC’s Form 477

WASHINGTON, August 7, 2018 – Many in the broadband industry commenting on broadband availability data exposed the weaknesses of current Federal Communications Commission data – and not only in the data itself but in the process by which it is collected. The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications Industry Association conducted a request for comments on actions… Keep Reading

FCC Passes ‘One Touch Make Ready,’ Designed to Speed Broadband Deployment, on a Split Vote

WASHINGTON, August 2, 2018 – The Federal Communications Commission voted to pass the new, so-called “One Touch Make Ready” policy, a measure designed to accelerate pole attachment processes for new broadband deployments. At the agency’s monthly open meeting today, the commissioners voted 3-1 to shift the framework for pole attachments to permit “simple” make-ready processes… Keep Reading

While Google and Verizon Favor ‘One Touch Make Ready,’ Comcast and AT&T Want to Drag Heels

WASHINGTON, August 2, 2018 - Google Fiber and Verizon split with AT&T and Comcast over the so-called “One-Touch Make-Ready” policy, with the former claiming that the need for faster deployment speeds make the policy essential, and the other side claiming it oversteps existing rules and jurisdiction for pole attachment regulation. Later on Thursday, the Federal… Keep Reading

Rural Electric Cooperatives Pose an Obvious Solution for Deploying Fiber to Rural Areas, Says Former FCC Official

PITTSBURGH, July 31, 2018 - Rural electric cooperatives and not “small cell” deployment powered by 5G networks, may be the solution to closing the digital divide, according to Jonathan Chambers, former chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Strategic Planning. Speaking at the regional conference hosted last week here by Next Century Cities, a… Keep Reading

For Robust Broadband in the 5G Era, More Local Control May Be Required

PITTSBURGH, July 30, 2018 - Many broadband experts speaking at the Next Century Cities regional summit here said last week that city jurisdiction should take precedence over federal rules in ensuring impactful broadband deployment. The conference highlighted some of these local voices, eager for broadband deployment even as they criticize recent Federal Communications Commission moves… Keep Reading

BroadbandUSA Webinar on Statewide Strategies Highlighted Role of Community Planning, Libraries

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2018 - In rural America, data-driven tools and libraries are heading efforts to expand broadband access, according to broadband policy experts. On July 18, BroadbandUSA hosted a webinar “Statewide Strategies for Rural Digital Inclusion,” discussing state-level measures to extend broadband access to unserved rural areas. Amy Huffman, a research and policy analyst… Keep Reading

FCC Chairman Attempts to Assuage Local Government Anger Against the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2018 – In advance of the Federal Communications Commission’s open meeting on Thursday, agency Chairman Ajit Pai announced a local government representative as the new vice chair of the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. The announcement may be one more volley in the back-and-forth feud between local governments and the agency over a… Keep Reading

Public-Private Partnerships, Local Involvement Central to Colorado Broadband Success

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2018 - Colorado broadband officials stressed the importance of public-private partnerships in extending broadband access to unserved Americans in rural areas, and expressed doubts that the so-called fifth-generation wireless standard dubbed 5G will be the answer to closing the digital divide. Speaking at a webinar hosted by the Schools, Health, & Libraries… Keep Reading

Pew Charitable Trusts Announces New Broadband Research Effort

WASHINGTON, June 11, 2018 – The Pew Charitable Trusts recently announced a new broadband research effort amid concerns that government’s past data collection methods are not enough to inform policy makers on the nation’s broadband access gap. In a May 30 webinar event on this new broadband research initiative focused on improving data collection methods… Keep Reading

Blair Levin’s Scathing Takedown of FCC’s Ajit Pai, Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, and 5G Hype

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: We were present at the Broadband Communities Summit at which Blair Levin gave these remarks; thanks to the Coalition for Local Internet Choice for providing the complete and unvarnished record of this important and scathing speech. Remember that Levin was the former executive director of the FCC's ambitious National Broadband Plan, issued… Keep Reading

Trump Administrations Unveils Details of Infrastructure Incentives, Including Spending on Rural Broadband

WASHINGTON, February 12, 2018 – President Donald Trump on Monday unveiled details of his plan to spur $1.5 trillion in new investment to revitalize the nation’s crumbling infrastructure with a combination of $200 billion worth of matching funds and block grants to be funded from to-be-determined budget savings. "We're going to get the roads in… Keep Reading

Trump Administration Trial Balloon About Nationalizing 5G Broadband Networks Greeted with Skepticism and Derision

Editor's Note: Updated January 30, 2018, at 8:44 a.m. with statement from the National Security Council. WASHINGTON, January 29, 2018 – The Trump administration has made no decisions regarding a National Security Council proposal to nationalize the forthcoming fifth-generation, or 5G wireless broadband network meant to prevent the network from being exploited for espionage purposes… Keep Reading

Leaked Copy of Trump Administration’s Infrastructure Plan Shows Few Provisions for Broadband

WASHINGTON, January 22, 2018 – A leaked document purporting to be an outline of the Trump Administration’s forthcoming infrastructure plan makes few provisions for broadband or other digital infrastructure outside of rural areas. The six-page outline, which was first reported by Axios, bears the title of “Funding Principles,” and sets out four programs which will… Keep Reading

Net Neutrality Big Focus of House Oversight Subcommittee Hearing, With Stark Partisanship

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2017 – The official topic of Tuesday’s House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing was reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission, but the big focus was on net neutrality. “The Commission’s decision in 2015 to reclassify the internet as a public utility was a power grab laced with the irony of suffocating the… Keep Reading

FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee Holds Second Meeting With Working Group Reports

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2017 – Speaking at a meeting of the agency’s newly-form Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O’Rielly put forward his view that state and local governments are creating barriers to broadband deployment across the United States. “Broadband deployment remains a top priority of this Commission,” O’Rielly said. “It’s more than… Keep Reading

New NRRI Report Probes State Broadband Initiatives in California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota and New York

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: This new 60-page report by the National Regulatory Research Institute (and which was founded by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners), delves into the important state role in broadband deployment. It discusses the role of State Broadband Initiatives, including broadband mapping efforts, and discusses in greater detail the projects in California,… Keep Reading

Better Broadband Data Necessary to Make Overdue Improvements in Universal Service Fund, Say Panelists

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2017 - Without efficient data, the Federal Communications Commission can’t put together a model that shows what the cost would be to cover areas with no wireless coverage, the senior vice president of strategic relations of the broadband company C Spire said at a hearing on Tuesday. The hearing on Capitol Hill… Keep Reading

How Broadband Mapping Can Help Communities with Chronic Health Conditions

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2017 - The Federal Communications Commission’s Connect2Health Task Force last week announced updates to a broadband mapping platform to allow communities and businesses to better use high-speed internet to help patients with chronic health conditions. “As a famous writer once said, ‘data are just summaries of thousands of stories,’” Michele Ellison, chairwoman… Keep Reading

Two Municipal Broadband Groups Criticize Data and Analysis in U. Penn Paper

WASHINGTON, June 7, 2017 - Two organizations supportive of municipal broadband advocacy efforts last week issued differing reports critical of a May 24 report by a University of Pennsylvania professor. The report, by Christopher Yoo and Timothy Pfenninger, was titled “Municipal Fiber in the United States: An Empirical Assessment of Financial Performance,” and it concluded… Keep Reading

Average U.S. Broadband Speed Continue to Rise, to 18.7 Mbps, in Akamai Report

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: United States broadband speeds are continuing to rise, according to Akamai's periodic "state of the internet" report. The more urban "states," including Rhode Island, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, conventionally do better in these rankings than less-dense states. || Akamai: Average U.S. Broadband Speed Rises to 18.7 Mbps, from Telecompetitor: The… Keep Reading

Now Coming in Broadband Infrastructure: The Battle Over Pole Attachments and ‘One Touch’

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: One of the most interesting questions in broadband infrastructure today centers around dry legalities like "dig once" and "one touch." This conflict in Louisville shows that Google still intends to stay in the battle, at least on the policy and legal front, vis-a-vis incumbents like AT&T. || Legal bills mount as Louisville… Keep Reading

California Broadband Politics Concerning Building Conduits in State Rights-of-Way

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: By taking this action, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has likely avoided the fate of a bill that would require the agency to add conduit to infrastructure projects. See Steve Blum's perspective below, and on the link. || Caltrans buries dig once conduit bill, from Tellus Venture Associates: Under a veto… Keep Reading

Riverside County Introduces Broadband Initiative for Area the Size of New Jersey

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA, April 19, 2017 - At 7,200 square miles, this Southern California county is nearly the size of New Jersey. On April 3, the county put out a "Request for Participants" in an effort to jump-start a $2 billion to $4 billion initiative building a gigabit fiber network. The project is dubbed RIVCOConnect, and represents… Keep Reading

Twists in the Broadband Mapping Saga, Plus the Need for Good Data Now, at Rural Telecom Congress

DALLAS, April 18, 2017 - Over the past ten years, broadband mapping has gone through many changes. In the beginning, the Federal Communications Commission collected data about high-speed internet access, but didn't release any local or granular data collected through its semi-annual forms. Through the efforts of organizations like BroadbandCensus.com (the predecessor to BroadbandBreakfast.com), a… Keep Reading

Despite Trump Pledge, Congress and FCC Don’t Appear to Have Appetite for Broadband Infrastructure Investment

WASHINGTON, March 8, 2017 - Despite high hopes that President Trump’s campaign promise for a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill would lead to additional investment in high-speed internet access, it appears that broadband deployment and accessibility is taking a back seat in Congress to brick-and mortar projects. At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing last week on improving… Keep Reading

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Pai Announces Broadband Advisory Group to Propose Model City Ordinances

WASHINGTON, January 31, 2017 - Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday announced the formation of a new federal advisory committee that would seek to accelerate deployment of high-speed broadband nationwide, and to close the digital divide, by providing a model approach to deployment for municipalities. “Access to broadband is increasingly critical for all… Keep Reading

An Open Letter to Donald Trump From Adrianne Furniss of Benton Foundation About National Broadband Strategy

EVANSTON, Illinois, January 30, 2017 - Benton Foundation CEO Adrianne Furniss on Monday sent the following letter to to President Donald Trump and leaders both in Congress and at the Federal Communications Commission. She wrote: Just as ten years ago when Benton Foundation Founder Charles Benton called on then-President George W. Bush to develop a national broadband… Keep Reading

Broadband Data Geeks Rejoice: Public Comment Opens for Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey

Broadband Breakfast Insight: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is continuing its efforts to ensure good-quality broadband data, even as broadband policy remains undertain under the incoming presidential administration. These steps will ensure a good foundation. Building Our Next Internet Use Survey January 09, 2017 by Rafi Goldberg, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and… Keep Reading

FCC Releases Video of Webinar from its ‘Connected Health’ Discussion

Broadband Breakfast Insight: This was an excellent webinar discussion probing connectivity, and helping government, non-profit and industry users to visualize data about connectivity. Think of this as the kind of activity that the National Broadband Map was designed to achieve. -> Mapping Connected Health County by County Webinar, a webinar of the Federal Communications Commission… Keep Reading

Connected Nation Exchange Launches North America Broadband Partnership with Macquarie Capital

Broadband Breakfast Insight: Connected Nation has taken its broadband mapping skills from the State Broadband Initiative and pivoted into translated that expertise into knowledge for infrastructure deployment on the local level.-> COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 11, 2016. /PRNewswire/ -- Speaking at the 2016 SmartGig Ohio Business Technology Conference, CNX CEO Brian Mefford announced a newly created partnership… Keep Reading

Community Broadband Center Leaders to Gather in Silicon Valley for AnchorNETS and NTIA Event on November 16-17

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California - Local broadband institutions seeking to leverage high-speed connectivity for the benefit of their broader communities will benefit from attending the inaugural AnchorNETS conference here on November 16 and 17.

Sponsored by the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, the AnchorNETS conference is being hosted in conjunction with the federal government's BroadbandUSA initiative on Tuesday, November 17. The AnchorNETS event will be keynoted by former Gov. Pat Quinn, the Illinois Democrat responsible for completion of a nearly $100 million, four-year project to install 1,000 miles of fiber-optic infrastructure throughout Illinois. “Governor Quinn's role in bringing together state, federal and local resources, from private and public sectors, in the pursuit of improved digital literacy and internet connectivity to Illinois anchor institutions is a model for all public officials," said John Windhausen, executive director of SHLB Coalition. Former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn [More...] Keep Reading

White House Launches ‘Smart City’ Initiative That Links Broadband Connectivity to Urban Solutions

WASHINGTON, September 16, 2015 - A movement to make cities "smart" by using the power of broadband and information technology processing power is reaching critical mass, with the White House on Monday announcing a comprehensive initiative to support municipal efforts. Coinciding with the Smart Cities Week conference here this week, the White House released a 4,000-word summary of more than $160 million in federal research investments, leveraging more than 25 technology collaborations with local communities. The goal of these efforts? Tackling such key challenges, in the words of the White House, as "reducing traffic congestion, fighting crime, fostering economic growth, managing the effects of a changing climate, and improving the delivery of city services." "Advances in science and technology have the potential to accelerate these efforts," read the White House statement. "An emerging community of civic leaders, data scientists, technologists, and companies are joining forces to build 'Smart Cities' – communities that are building an infrastructure to continuously improve the collection, aggregation, and use of data to improve the life of their residents – by harnessing the growing data revolution, low-cost sensors, and research collaborations, and doing so securely to protect safety and privacy." The launch of White House Smart Cities Initiative [More...] Keep Reading

Pell Center Report Emphasizes Continuing Role in Broadband for State Entities

WASHINGTON, September 16, 2015 - State broadband entities and commissions continue to plan an important role in fostering economic development and digital learning, according to a recent report from the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy. The report, "State-Level Broadband Policy: A Compendium of Resources and Approaches," catalogs some of the important capabilities and tools of the federal technology program dubbed the State Broadband Initiative of the U.S. Department of Commerce. But the report, by Pell Center Adjunct Fellow Angela Siefer, also advances the discussion about state-level broadband resources by highlighting more recently discussed tools, including eRate funding, telecommunications modernization legislation, and ways to promote local infrastructure partnerships. Angela Siefer [More...] Keep Reading

Former Architect of National Broadband Plan Says That Every City Needs a Broadband Plan

September 14, 2015 - Every city should create a city-wide broadband plan of its own, said the former director of the National Broadband Plan, in wide-ranging speech touting four strategies useful for different types of city broadband plans. Speaking on Friday at the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Officers annual conference in San Diego, Blair Levin of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and the group Gig-U, said that every city should tackle four key strategies: (1) Getting fiber deeper into neighborhoods; (2) Using community WiFi; (3) Getting everyone online; and (4) Promoting innovative civic applications for broadband. Levin, the former architect of the Federal Communications Commission's broadband plan, crafted from 2009 to 2010, said that the United States was about the 20th country to adopt such a plan for the deployment of high-speed internet. Nearly 150 countries have one now. "With cities, we're where we were with countries in 2010. Several dozen have them," Levin said. "But now, such a plan is becoming table stakes for any city that wants its residents to be part of the 21st Century Information Economy." In his remarks, Levin addressed the pivotal role that Google Fiber has played in spurring the development of Gigabit Networks. Indeed, on Thursday, Google announced upcoming fiber-optic deployments in three new cities: Irvine, Calif., Louisville, Kentucky; and San Diego. He categories the types of cities, and they relative trajectories towards Gigabit Networks, as follows: "The first set of communities is those that either have or are likely to see Google Fiber enter. For these, the starting strategy is pretty simple. Accelerate to the extent possible, Google's entry." Whether or not Google comes, such cities will be well-situated for others, as well. Blair Levin [More...] Keep Reading

White House Announces September 21 Date for Release of Broadband Report

Editor's Note: The White House announced that it would be releasing a report from its Broadband Opportunity Council on Monday, September 21. Read more about the council. Coming Soon: Building on Our Progress of Broadband Investment and Competition August 20, 2015 at 5:57 PM ET by Jeffrey Zients Summary:  The White House has received input… Keep Reading

Broadband Data/Press Releases

President Obama Signs Executive Order Making Presidential Innovation Fellows Program Permanent

Editor's Note: This Presidential Innovation Fellows Program, highlighted in a press release today from the White House, is a fascinating exercise of how President Obama has institutionalized technology innovation, one of the main accomplishments of his administration in technology policy. THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 17, 2015 FACT… Keep Reading

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