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Recovery Act

California Report: Income Most Significant Factor in Low Broadband Adoption

Income is the most significant factor contributing to low broadband adoption rates, according to an analysis (PDF) released this month by the California Public Utilities Commission. Only about half of households in census tracts with a median annual income level of less than $20,000 have in-home broadband access, as opposed to 86 percent of households… Keep Reading

US Telecom Touts Progress in Weaving a ‘Fabric’ for Address-Level Broadband Mapping

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2019 – In tackling the nettlesome question of improving broadband mapping, the telecom industry group US Telecom on Thursday showcased recent progress in their pilot program to better detect broadband serviceability. The discussion on a 45-minute webinar focused on how the initiative, by the trade group and others, including ITTA and the… Keep Reading

Multiple Pieces of Broadband Legislation Moving Forward in Congress, on Data, Funding, Rural Broadband and Digital Equity

WASHINGTON, June 19, 2019 – At least a half-dozen separate pieces of broadband legislation are working their way through Congress, and panelists assembled by the Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband Coalition on Wednesday commented on the pros and cons of how these bills would deploy broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved areas of the country. The… Keep Reading

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

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… Keep Reading

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

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… Keep Reading

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

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… Keep Reading

Pew Charitable Trusts to Launch Interactive Database on State Broadband Deployment

BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: This is fabulous news. Pew has one of the best reputations for consistent, credible, and long-lasting research on broadband adoption. Coupled with the launch of its Broadband Research Initiative earlier this year, this begins to address some of the issues and complexities, and get us out of the messy world of inadequate broadband… Keep Reading

Livestream of Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing on LIFT America Act at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday, Plus Insight Into $40 Billion for Broadband

On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce will conduct a hearing on H.R. 2741, or Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow's America Act. Introduced by committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., the measure includes $40 billion, over five years, to deploy broadband. The livestream for the hearing will be available on this page at 10 a.m. ET. The Democrats' staff… Keep Reading

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

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… Keep Reading

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

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… Keep Reading

AT&T and Verizon Spearhead Granular Broadband Mapping Program With Address-Level Availability

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2019 - The nation's leading telecommunications companies on Thursday announced a new broadband mapping pilot initiative that aims to geolocate each address in the country, and link each location with broadband providers that offer service to that address. At a launch event joined by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, the broadband… Keep Reading

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

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… Keep Reading

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

Drew Clark: 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

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