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Broadband's Impact

Digital Inclusion About More Than Connectivity, Says One Economy CEO

Ensuring that all Americans have access to broadband is about more than ensuring high-speed Internet connectivity, said a non-profit organization promoting a philosophy of “digital inclusion.”

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WASHINGTON, June 2 – Ensuring that all Americans have access to broadband is about more than ensuring high-speed Internet connectivity, said the CEO of the One Economy, a non-profit organization promoting a philosophy of “digital inclusion.”

In addition to ensuring that broadband is present, affordable and available for adoption by low-income Americans, groups aiming to make a difference in stemming the digital divide must also focusing on human capital and digital media content, said Rey Ramsey of One Economy, speaking last week at plenary session the International Summit for Community Wireless Networks here.

One Economy has been seeking to bring broadband into public housing developments, and then to create the tools and incentives for residents to use broadband. The group has sought created its digital content, including the Web site beehive.org, about emergency preparedness, and is currently developing a “public internet channel,” which aims to provide what it calls “a 21st century public service benefit for all Americans.”

“It is important to attack everything on the supply and demand side,” said Ramsey, rather than focus merely on the availability of broadband in a particular community. “So much attention is placed on the connectivity” piece of broadband, he said.

Ramsey said specifically that Internet speeds needed to be included in analyses of digital inclusion.

“We have to upgrade the thinking. We are falling behind in terms of speed,” he said of measurements of U.S. broadband. And he criticized the Federal Communications Commission’s inclusion of office use of the Internet in its broadband statistics. “We should only be looking at high-speed in the home.”

Others speaking at the conference, an annual gathering of volunteers and others who have been seeking up wireless community networks for more than a half-decade, also emphasized the need for a holistic approach to leveraging community engagement in the Internet.

Mark Ansboury, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology office of OneCommunity, spoke about the need to not only engage in dialogue about connectivity, but to create a platform for universal adoption of broadband within a community. OneCommunity is a non-profit organization targeting universal Internet access, social inclusion and economic development in northeast Ohio.

The group wants to make broadband as ubiquitous and free as the air we breathe, said Ansboury. But that noble goal doesn’t mean avoiding engaging with the business community — including the telecommunications carriers.

Among wireless communications networks, “the fear is that the incumbent carrier is going to come after me [so that] I have to stay so far beneath the radar,” Ansboury said. “We have built a commercially scalable network in northeast Ohio, but have structured it in a way that is a win for us and win for them.”

OneCommunity is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has committed up to $25 million over five years to create universal Internet access programs in 26 cities of focus by the foundation.

It uses next-generation fiber-optic networks, and also wireless communications, to meet its goals, said Ansboury.

Organizations Mentioned in this Article:

International Summit on Community Wireless Networks
One Economy Corporation
OneCommunity

Broadband's Impact

Dianne Crocker: Recession Fears Have Real Estate Market Forecasters Hitting the Reset Button

Growing fears of recession trigger pullback on previous rosy forecasts.

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The author of this Expert Opinion is Dianne Crocker, Principal Analyst for LightBox

The lyrics to “Same As It Ever Was” by the Talking Heads certainly don’t apply to how 2022 is playing out in the commercial real estate market. Two quarters of negative economic growth has put a damper on market sentiment and triggered fears that the U.S. economy is heading for a recession. By midyear, market analysts were taking a good, hard look at their rosy forecasts from the start of the New Year and redrawing the lines.

Once upon a time…

At the start of 2022, forecasters were bullishly predicting that commercial real estate investment and lending levels would be nearly as good as 2021. This was significant, considering that 2021 set new records for deal-making and lending volume as the debt and equity capital amassed during the pandemic while looking for a home in U.S. commercial real estate.

What a difference a few quarters have made. Virtually, all the predictions that started the New Year were obsolete by mid-summer. The abrupt shift in market conditions is palpable and surprised just about everyone. Now, markets are reaching an inflection point that is in sharp contrast with the strong rebound of last year.

The two I’s: Inflation and interest rates

At the core of the recent upset in market sentiment is the persistence of high inflation, which seems to be ignoring all attempts by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates and bring prices down. Higher inflation is having a ripple effect throughout the economy, pushing up the costs of construction materials, energy, and consumer goods. Among the notable economic indicators showing stress at mid-year was the GDP, which fell for the second consecutive quarter, and the Consumer Price Index, which jumped 9.1% year-over-year in June – the highest increase in about four decades.

In July, the CPI fell to 8.5%, an encouraging sign that inflation was beginning to stabilize. By the latest August report from LightBox, however, hopes were dashed when the CPI showed little improvement, holding firm at a still high of 8.3%.

The market is responding to a higher cost of capital as lenders tap the brakes. As the cost of capital rises with each interest rate hike and concerns of a recession intensify, many large U.S. financial institutions are pulling back on their loan originations for the rest of 2022 and into 2023. This change in tenor is a significant shift, given that 2021 was a record-breaking year for commercial real estate lending. Many lenders have already shifted to a more defensive underwriting position as they look to mitigate risks.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, which had previously predicted that lending levels in 2022 would break the $1 trillion mark for the first time revised their forecast downward in mid-July. By year-end, the MBA now expects volume to be a significant 18% below 2021 levels—and one-third lower than the bullish forecast made in February. Now, investment activity is cooling as higher borrowing costs drive some buyers from the market.

In the investment world, transactions were down by 29% at midyear due to a thinning buyer pool as higher rates impact access to debt capital. Market volatility is causing investors, lenders, and owners to rethink strategies, reconsider assumptions, and prepare for possible disruption.

Looking ahead to year-end and 2023

The rapid and diverse shifts in the market make for an uncertain forecast and certainly a more cautious investment environment. The battle between inflation and interest rates will continue over the near term. As LightBox’s investor, lender, valuation, and environmental due diligence clients move toward the 4th quarter—typically the busiest quarter of the year–unprecedented volatility is driving them to recalibrate and reforecast given recent market developments.

Continued softness in transaction volume is likely to continue as rates and valuations establish a new equilibrium. If property prices begin to level out, there will be more pressure on buyers to consider how to improve a property to get their return on investment. The next chapter of the commercial real estate market will be defined by how long inflation sticks around, how high interest rates go, and whether the economy slips into a recession (and how deeply). The greatest areas of opportunity will be found in asset classes like office and retail that are evolving away from traditional uses and morphing to meet the needs of today’s market. Until barometers stabilize, it’s important to rethink assumptions, watch developments, and recalibrate as necessary.

Dianne Crocker is the Principal Analyst for LightBox, delivering strategic analytics, best practices in risk management, market intelligence reports, educational seminars, and customized research for stakeholders in commercial real estate deals. She is a highly respected expert on commercial real estate market trends. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to commentary@breakfast.media. The views reflected in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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Broadband's Impact

Reason 3 to Attend Broadband Mapping Masterclass: State Maps vs. Federal Maps

The 3rd of 5 reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass with Drew Clark on 9/27 at 12 Noon ET

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WASHINGTON, September 23, 2022 – The third reason to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass with Drew Clark on September 27, 2022, is to get a handle on what state broadband officers have and are doing with broadband maps.

While much of the action has been at the Federal Communications Commission, after state allocations have been made, funding decisions will ultimately come from state broadband officers.

Broadband Breakfast is hosting the 2-hour Broadband Mapping Masterclass to help Internet Service Providers, mapping and GIS consultants, and people in everyday communities concerned about broadband mapping.

This 2-hour Masterclass, available for only $99, will help you navigate the treacherous waters around broadband mapping. The live Broadband Mapping Masterclass is being recorded, and those who make a one-time $99 payment will obtain a guaranteed place during the live session.

ENROLL TODAY for our Zoom Webinar through PayPal.

Registrants will also receive unlimited on-demand access to the Masterclass recording. And they will receive Broadband Breakfast’s premium research report on broadband mapping.

Learn More about Why You Should Participate in the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

We’re presenting five additional reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass.

Additional reason number 3 to attend the Masterclass

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allocates $42.5 billion for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program. Every state will receive at least $100 million in funding, but the remaining more-than $37 billion will be allocated among states based upon a formula that is primarily determined by their percentage of the unserved population. (According to IIJA, a location is “unserved” if it lacks access to broadband at 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload. An area is “underserved” if it lacks 100 Mbps * 20 Mbps broadband.)

That’s where the FCC’s updated broadband map come in: Once challenges to the map are concluded, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration will allocate that $37 billion pool according to the “denominator” that the NTIA reads out from the FCC map.

But state and their broadband offices have a trump card: They can and are developing their own maps to check, verify and challenge the FCC map. Furthermore, they are under no obligation to award funds according to the actual places that the FCC says are unserved or underserved.

In the Broadband Mapping Masterclass, you’ll learn what you need to know in order to tap into these efforts by state broadband offices.

ENROLL TODAY  to find out what happens next.

Learn More about Why You Should Participate in the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

Read more about the reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

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Broadband's Impact

Reason 2 to Attend Broadband Mapping Masterclass: Aren’t There Other Databases?

The 2nd of 5 reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass with Drew Clark on 9/27 at 12 Noon ET.

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WASHINGTON, September 22, 2022 – The second reason to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass with Drew Clark on September 27, 2022, is to find out what other databases and software tools are available to get a handle on broadband mapping.

Broadband Breakfast is hosting the 2-hour Broadband Mapping Masterclass to help Internet Service Providers, mapping and GIS consultants, and people in everyday communities concerned about broadband mapping.

This 2-hour Masterclass, available for only $99, will help you navigate the treacherous waters around broadband mapping. The live Broadband Mapping Masterclass is being recorded, and those who make a one-time $99 payment will obtain a guaranteed place during the live session.

ENROLL TODAY for our Zoom Webinar through PayPal.

Registrants will also receive unlimited on-demand access to the Masterclass recording. And they will receive Broadband Breakfast’s premium research report on broadband mapping.

Learn More about Why You Should Participate in the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

In addition to obtaining lifetime access to the recording – and a premium research report from Broadband Breakfast – we’re presenting five additional reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass between now and the LIVE Zoom Webinar on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at 12 Noon ET.

Additional reason number 2 to attend the Masterclass

The first version of the National Broadband Map was published with much fanfare on February 17, 2011. Each of the 50 states, 5 territories and the District of Columbia compiled broadband information from providers on a Census block basis. Significantly, carriers were required to disclose their service locations and feed that information into state and federal maps.

The National Broadband Map lasted for about five years, when the data collection effort – a partnership of the FCC, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the state broadband offices – concluded. But the publicly available data fed by the National Broadband Map remained. Many private companies and non-profit entities began to use this publicly available data and integrate into other public collections of data.

In the Broadband Mapping Masterclass, you’ll learn about these resources, databases, tools and projects – and how they provide many more forms of broadband data than simply that which is available from the FCC.

ENROLL TODAY  to find out what happens next.

Learn More about Why You Should Participate in the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

Read more about the reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

ENROLL TODAY

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