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FCC Chairman Martin Wants FCC to Map Broadband Data and Speed Tiers

July 21 – The United States government needs to expand its broadband mapping efforts and collect information about internet speed tiers, Federal Communications Chairman Kevin Martin said in Pittsburgh on Monday.

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By William G. Korver, Reporter, BroadbandCensus.com

July 21 – The United States government needs to expand its broadband mapping efforts and collect information about internet speed tiers, Federal Communications Chairman Kevin Martin said Monday.

Martin made the remarks at a field hearing on the future of broadband conducted by the FCC at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. A webcast of the hearing was available online.

The FCC is currently considering whether it should get into the business of mapping out availability of broadband.

Following remarks by Rep. Michael Doyle, D-Penn., that governmental policies may either “choke” or “spur” innovation, Martin said an atmosphere willing to permit regulations was the “key to the digital future.”

Martin added that internet video may prove a viable alternative to the internet and television offerings of cable operators. Repeating his long-standing criticisms of the cable industry, Martin said that cable bills have doubled in recent years.

Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein echoed Doyle’s and Martin’s calls for regulations and seconded Martin’s belief that America must find a solutions that will help increase broadband deployment and speed while also lowering the cost of broadband.

Adelstein reminded the audience that half of American do not subscribe to broadband. Also, around 35 percent of dial-up users have not switched to broadband – and many cite the high cost of broadband.

Adelstein recommended digital literacy efforts and government subsidies to remedy the problem.

Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate emphasized her efforts to crack down on online child pornography. Internet service providers should be free to take unilateral action against such sites, she said. Tate also cited the need to respect intellectual property rights online.

Commissioner Michael Copps said that all citizens “need and are entitled to have [broadband] services” because it is a civil right of every American citizen.

Commissioner Robert McDowell, appearing to reject some of the more regulatory policies of his colleagues, said that the Internet has flourished because engineers have, and should continue, to be the solvers of engineering problems, not governmental officials.

The comment drew applause from the crowd.

A panel on “The Future of Digital Media” and a second on “The Broadband of Tomorrow” followed the Commissioners’ opening statements. A public comment period concluded the hearing.

Editor’s Note:

BroadbandCensus.com filed comments in the Federal Communications Commission’s inquiry about how to best map out information about local broadband.

-Drew Clark, Editor, BroadbandCensus.com

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Ookla Has Verizon as Fastest Q1 Fixed Provider, T-Mobile Takes Top Spot for Mobile

T-Mobile was also named the most consistent mobile operator and topped 5G download speeds.

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Image of Speedtest from May 2017 by Daniel Aleksandersen used with permission

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2022 – A market report released Friday by performance metrics web service Ookla named Verizon the fastest fixed broadband provider in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2022, and T-Mobile as the fastest mobile operator during the same period.

Verizon had a median download speed of 184.36 Mbps, edging out Comcast Xfinity’s speed of 179.12 Mbps. T-Mobile’s median mobile speed was 117.83 Mbps.

Verizon had the lowest latency of all providers, according to Ookla, well ahead of Xfinity’s fourth place ranking, yet sat at third for consistency behind both Xfinity and Spectrum.

T-Mobile was also the most consistent mobile operator during the first quarter, achieving an Ookla consistency score of 88.3 percent, which along with median download speed represented an increase from the fourth quarter of 2021.

The company also achieved the fastest median 5G download speed, coming in at 191.12 Mbps.

Verizon also notably increased its 5G download speed from its Q4 metric, attributed in part to the turning on of new C-band spectrum in January following deployment delays and protest from airlines. For mobile speeds, it stood in second behind T-Mobile, bumping AT&T to a standing of third. These rankings were the same for mobile measures of latency and consistency.

Yet on 5G availability, AT&T remains ahead of Verizon.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra came in as the fastest popular device in the country, running at 116.33 Mbps.

Ookla is a sponsor of Broadband Breakfast.

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FCC’s Rosenworcel: Broadband Nutrition Labels Will Create New Generation of Informed Buyers

The FCC hopes companies will make it easier for consumers to choose a broadband plan that fits their needs.

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Photo of Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel speaking at the Mobile World Conference 2022 in Barcelona

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission’s broadband nutrition labels will usher in a new era where buyers have simple information about what they’re buying, agency Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said Friday.

Consumers should know what they’re signing up for when they spend hundreds “or even thousands” of dollars per year for internet service. She was speaking at Friday’s commission hearing on its so-called broadband nutrition label initiative.

The hearing comes on top of a public comment period on the initiative. Many providers are pushing for more flexible regulations on compliance.

When consumers choose a broadband provider for their household, Rosenworcel said may people make decisions with “sometimes incomplete and inaccurate information.”

“The problem for broadband consumers isn’t a total lack of information, but there’s loads of fine print,” Rosenworcel said. “It can be difficult to know exactly what we are paying for and these disclosures are not consistent from carrier to carrier,” which makes comparing prices and services harder and more time-consuming for consumers.

The comments built on other recent speeches by Rosenworcel promoting the initiative, encouraging state attorneys general’s ability to enforce companies’ commitments through their states’ consumer protection statutes.

The FCC began a plan in 2015 for broadband labels that was voluntary. The new initiative directed by last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law makes this effort mandatory for broadband providers.

Matt Sayre, managing director of cross sector economic development firm Onward Eugene, said residents in rural Oregon would benefit from simple information when considering broadband providers. During a time where dial-up and satellite-based offerings were primarily available, Sayre said his neighbors “never used terms like latency or packet loss.”

“These are important aspects of good internet service, but not easily understood by most people,” Sayre said. “Citizens understood they needed better service but were uncertain about what tier of service they needed. This is where broadband labels can be very helpful.”

The hearing was the agency’s first on the initiative.

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Small ISP Organizations Push FCC for Flexibility on Broadband Label Compliance

Advocates say strict compliance requirements may economically harm small providers.

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Photo of outgoing WISPA CEO of Claude Aiken from April 2018 by New America used with permission

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2022 ­­– In comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday, organizations representing small internet providers are pushing for flexible regulations on compliance with a measure that requires clear reporting of broadband service aspects to consumers.

The measure was adopted at a late January meeting by the commission, mandating that providers list their pricing and speed information about services in the format of a “broadband nutrition label” that mimics a food nutrition label. Congress’ bipartisan infrastructure bill enacted in the fall required that the FCC adopt such policy.

The organizations that submitted comments Wednesday say that strict compliance requirements for the new measure may economically harm small providers.

Among those leading the charge are trade associations Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association and America’s Communications Association as well as provider Lumen Technologies.

In comments, limited resources of smaller providers were cited as factors which could disadvantage them in terms of complying with the measure to the FCC’s standards and several organizations asked for small providers to be given extra time to comply.

In separate comments, internet provider Lumen said that the FCC must make multiple changes to its approach if it is to “avoid imposing new obligations that arbitrarily impose excessive costs on providers and undermine other policy goals.”

Last month, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said that she looks forward to increased coordination between the FCC and state attorneys general for the enforcement of the measure.

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