Editor’s Note (4/19) – The complete BroadbandCensus.com List of NTIA Comments is now available at http://broadbandcensus.com/2009/04/the-broadbandcensuscom-list-of-ntia-comments
The BroadbandCensus.com List of NTIA Comments aims to include all substantive comments filed between March 10 and April 15 on the NTIA web site. For a growing number of comments, BroadbandCensus.com has provided a brief summary of the contents of the comment.
WASHINGTON, April 10, 2009 – The federal government’s disbursal of funds for broadband grants should be fluid and flexible enough to fund the best projects, irrespective of category, according to submissions to the NTIA on Thursday, April 9.
The volume of comment submissions to the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration continued to rise as Monday, April 13, the due date for comments, approaches.
Underscoring the stakes involved in this round of comments, the NTIA confirmed Thursday that there will not be a round for reply comments. “We are going to go right to the rules” after the comments deadline, said agency spokesman Mark Tolbert.
In its filing, Granite Broadband said that no hard and fast percentage of funds should be apportioned to each category, since each state will have different priorities. The track record and existing relationship between an applicant and the community they will serve should be part of the application weighting process. Projects that leverage existing public and private assets should be given priority, and projects should be viable and sustainable after stimulus funds disappear. NTIA should not contract with one group to create the national broadband map, said Granite Broadband. Rather, this should be done on a state level, either by NTIA or by a contractor. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=DB05ECBF-BD87-4B8D-B4EF-0158857FABC7
In a Thursday comment, Wireless Communications Association International agreed with previous commenters’ suggestion that wireless networks should be built out in unserved and underserved areas.
WCAI said that “unlike fixed services, mobile wireless broadband provides mobility.” Mobile broadband has the potential to produce both good mobile and good broadband. NTIA should give “substantial consideration” to the states, but not delegate all power to them. Finally, mobile wireless and fixed wireless should also constitute separate product markets. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=3584C5B5-9F89-4FA9-B0AD-241E72AAB810
The group also submitted its comments a second time in the Adobe PDF format, at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=F25DE927-B543-4231-A6D3-3275B25360F4
The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) highlighted the problems that disabled Americans face. Broadband adoption among disabled populations is significantly below average The NTIA should take this into consideration when ranking projects, the group said. COAT “expects applicants for the funds to involve people with disabilities through collaborations and partnerships.” http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=BE20D0EA-8282-4CED-9216-9503B9D164D0
The Regional Fiber Consortium said that it will be counterproductive to divide the funds for different purposes. Funds should be awarded on a competitive basis. They also said: states should not create their own criteria, but follow those set by Congress; broadband mapping must be done below the census tract level. Mapping at the census tract level – which is only slightly less granular than the ZIP code level – would skew actual broadband availability. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=BAB612A4-86BB-4093-AC14-1E614A3B3560
JAB Wireless defined an unserved area as one in which service of at least 3 Megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds are not available. An underserved area is an area where there are not two or more providers who can provide 3 Mbps downloads. Projects that can provide short turnaround, and those that provide a least cost solution should be prioritized in the scoring process, the group said. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=D2BE5026-1979-44AE-9CAF-67D852637B77
Spacenet, a satellite provider, recommended that NTIA offer a coupon program, such as they did with DTV, in order to overcome startup costs with satellite broadband. Spacenet pointed out that satellite broadband service is already available in rural areas. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=827CA38B-F86B-41C8-BFC4-1897AEA6E283
Juan Eugenio Rodríguez de Hostos, chief information officer of the territory of Puerto Rico, requested that NTIA take a holistic approach to the stimulus. When establishing priority for funds, NTIA should look to state’s broadband plans, to ensure the best solution. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=DBA3CDEB-5953-4679-9F7C-1F5534B79285
The San Antonio Public Library wrote to emphasize the importance of libraries and the public computing centers they house. The definition of underserved should contain a library component, where rural areas without a public library within 10 miles, or an urban area where there is not a library within four miles are considered underserved. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=710063DC-727B-4442-8C85-F6264E8878E9
The City of Beverly Hills, Calif., also requested that no hard percentage of grants should be apportioned to any category. Projects should meet multiple goals, when possible, and should be given to those with “a proven record of successful implementation projects on budget and on-time,” said the city. The national broadband map should be at the county level, at a minimum, and ideally at the municipal level. http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/comment.cfm?e=DD07C1DB-1B83-4267-AD18-35E6D8FB4295
Broadband Breakfast Club
Don’t miss the opportunity to register for the April 14, 2009, Broadband Breakfast Club at the Old Ebbitt Grill. The theme of the April meeting will be, “Spending the Stimulus: Can States’ Front-line Experiences Expedite Broadband Deployment?” Register at http://broadbandbreakfast.eventbrite.com.
Confirmed speakers include Karen Jackson, Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance, Commonwealth of Virginia; Betty Ann Kane, Chairman, D.C. Public Service Commission; and Sue A. Suleski, Technology Investment Specialist and Program Manager for the Pennsylvania Broadband Initiative.
Senate Advances Legislation Creating Office of Internet Connectivity Within Commerce Department’s NTIA
WASHINGTON, March 12, 2020 – The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday voted to advance a version of legislation creating a new office with the Commerce Department, and re-authorizing the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to protect consumers from deceptive internet marketing.
One bill would establish an Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth within the National Telecommunications and Infrastructure Administration of the Commerce Department.
While senators approved both the reauthorization of the US SAFEWEB Act and the Advancing Critical Connectivity Expands Service, Small Business Resources, Opportunities, Access, and Data Based on Assessed Need and Demand Act by voice vote.
The ACCESS BROADBAND Act requires the administrator of NTIA to establish a new Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth within 180 days of the bill’s enacting date, with the aim of coordinating and streamlining the process of applying for various federal broadband support programs.
However, the amended version of the bill includes language authored by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., which specifically excludes the Universal Service Fund’s programs from the office’s mandate.
The bill would also require the new office to create a single application for the various federal programs under its auspices, as well as a website which would be a one-stop shop for individuals and institutions seeking to learn more about federal programs for expanding broadband access.
In her opening remarks before the committee began consideration of the bill, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the committee’s ranking member, praised the “good bipartisan work” that went into drafting it.
“Closing the digital divide that so many communities particularly in our rural communities face is a priority for many members on this committee, and this bill is an important step in addressing that challenge,” she said.
“And I would I would say that this coronavirus is also a very strong learning lesson for us, as it relates to the gaps in broadband because you certainly need it as it relates to so many aspects of delivering on education and healthcare during this time period.”
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., later added that the bill, which she co-sponsored, will be helpful to Arizonans living in rural areas who may need help accessing better broadband services.
“Nearly 25 million Arizonans living in rural areas do not have access to high speed internet, so it’s crucial for Arizona that rural communities are afforded the same opportunity to stay connected as our urban areas, and the ACCESS BROADBAND Act moves us in the right direction,” she said. “It’s an essential step to help us close the digital divide and ensure everyone in my state and across our country can access quality, high speed internet and the opportunities that come with it.”
Panelists on NTIA Broadband Webinar Say Smart Buildings Boost Civic Resiliency and Public Health
WASHINGTON, January 16, 2020 – Speakers advocated civic resiliency and better public health through smart building infrastructure in a webinar discussion hosted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration on Wednesday.
Limor Schafman, senior director of Smart Buildings Programs at the Telecommunications Industry Association, said as buildings digitize, human experience will improve.
“A smart building uses an interoperable set of technology, systems and infrastructure to optimize building performance and occupant experience,” said Schafman. Smart buildings are not just for megacities. Rather, everyone shares resiliency and wellness concerns, and smart buildings are the answer, she said.
The purpose of a broadband-focused smart building is to digitize the infrastructure while maintaining occupants’ needs at the forefront of the innovation. Smart building infrastructure includes a focus on basic infrastructure, connectivity, power and energy, data, interoperable systems, and intelligence and cognition, said Schafman.
Smart buildings function through wireless or fiber connection and streamline data sharing across departments, combating or inter-departmental stagnation.
Wireless infrastructure also solves the problem of spaghetti wiring, said Benny Lee, Councilman and Director of San Mateo County Public Wi-Fi, in Northern California.
While wired building need dozens of switches on every floor, wireless buildings only need one or two.
Most 5G deployments using higher radio frequencies pose problems because such signals cannot travel through walls, said Lee. The “FCC has been discussing adding 6 [GigaHertz] spectrum to Wi-Fi, which promises connectivity speeds upwards of 5 [Gigabits per second]s,” he said.
Jiri Skopek, of a group called 2030 District Networks, argued that smart buildings save money while improving occupants’ quality of life. Speaking of smart buildings, he said, “we expect them now to respond to our needs, and even our wishes.”
Productivity increases, he said, because users can control the environment: lighting, air quality, temperature, occupancy sensing, shade control, white noise control, etc. These factors foster health and convenience.
Because smart buildings operate through microgrids, Skopek said, they run on direct current, which can integrate renewable energy.
In the case of natural disasters or emergencies, first responders can arrive quicker and know where the exact danger area is.
Schafman said municipalities can view the status of the building’s infrastructure because it has a virtual image. The buildings can also be run remotely, added Skopek.
Speaking at Commerce Department Symposium, Federal Agencies Doubt Benefits of Spectrum Plan
WASHINGTON, September 10, 2019- Federal agencies speaking at radiofrequency symposium hosted on Tuesday by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Symposium expressed doubts that any kind of a national spectrum strategy would be useful.
Addressing speculation that the Commerce Department’s NTIA might unveil such a national spectrum strategy, the officials each seemed focused on their doubts that such a strategy would be beneficial for their respective agencies.
Spectrum management needs to meet constantly changing demands, said R. J. Balanga, senior regulatory and policy adviser at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Increased spectrum usage and higher data-rate transmissions are required for human and robotic operations in space.
NASA’s main objective, he said, is to enhance interoperability by further cooperation with the commercial space industry and its international partners.
The Department of Defense occupies a great number of spectrum bands, said Colonel Frederick Williams, director of spectrum policy and programs at the Pentagon. He said spectrum has becoming increasingly congested.
Agencies must work together to combat spectrum issues, he said. The Citizens Broadband Radio Service, for instance, was established by the Federal Communications Commission as a way for shared wireless broadband use of the 3.5 GHz band.
Karen Van Dyke, principal technical adviser for Global Positioning Systems at the Department of Transportation, said that spectrum affects all modes of transportation. Therefore, it’s important that GPS are protected from harmful radio-frequency interference.
Furthermore, she said, close cooperation with private industries is required to best utilize spectrum innovation.
The government has so many layers of spectrum management that it’s difficult to determine the exact process, said Ian Atkins, director of the Federal Aviation Administration spectrum strategy and policy.
The FAA is committed to utilizing the least amount of spectrum possible, he said. However, what the agency is looking for is a return of investment to make sure that valuable spectrum programs are enacted.
With 5G approaching mass deployment, efficient spectrum management is key.
Dynamic spectrum sharing as well as extended range millimeter waves are going to dramatically increase 5G deployment, said Dean Brenner, senior vice president for spectrum strategy and technology policy at Qualcomm.
The hype surrounding the deployment of wireless 5G technology demonstrates that the public often gravitates its focus on a single set of technologies, said Christopher Szymanski, director of product marketing and government affairs at Broadcom. But there needs to be focus on the backhaul and wireless aspects of spectrum as well.
Cisco has projected increased usage of unlicensed spectrum in the coming years, said Szymanski. However, the U.S. lacks enough channels of spectrum to keep up with demand.
Hence why spectrum and infrastructure policies are necessary on both the state and federal level, said Hank Hultquist, vice president of federal regulatory for AT&T.
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