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Virginia, Pennsylvania Discuss State Maps of Broadband Availability

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2009 – With the fast-moving broadband stimulus package almost certain to stretch the capabilities of federal agencies such as the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, state governments and agencies say they can help expedite the process.

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WASHINGTON, April 22, 2009 – With the fast-moving broadband stimulus package almost certain to stretch the capabilities of federal agencies such as the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, state governments and agencies say they can help expedite the process.

Sue A. Suleski, Technology Investment Specialist and Program Manager for the Pennsylvania Broadband Initiative, said the state had registered considerable progress in deploying broadband technology thus far.

She spoke at the April 14 meeting of the Broadband Breakfast Club, which is organized by BroadbandCensus.com.

The web site Broadbandinpa.com, she said, was an on-ongoing attempt to map and test broadband in the state on the basis of available data and ZIP codes, so as to determine both the availability and type of broadband being offered.

Karen Jackson, Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance in Virginia, said her state had thrived on a “statewide perspective and strategy.”

She said that Virginia had formulated recommendations toward careful mapping of broadband availability by identifying areas that were unserved. The state had started the process of broadband mapping at the county level, and was now working toward industrial park-by-industrial park identification.

Jackson said that Virginia’s map was expected to be released within two weeks.

Also speaking at the event was Graham Richard, the former mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Betty Ann Kane, Chairman of the D.C. Public Service Commission. Kane has been leading an effort of states to coordinate efforts at broadband data-collection and deployment.

Richard said that states have “highly skilled and trained workforces” to help implement ideas about implementing the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus.

“Their success at that level would lay a good ground for our competitive advantage in coming years,” said Richard, adding that it would limit offshore outsourcing and preserve domestically-available jobs.

As mayor, Richard was responsible for a broadband initiative that brought a $100 million fiber-optic investment in Fort Wayne.

Suleski and Kane agreed that states’ role in aggregating demand could be vital.

Members of the audience expressed interest in:

  • Disparities of access to broadband within similar ZIP codes.
  • The need to maintain up-to-date databases. Suleski said that legislation in Pennsylvania required updates after every six months.
  • Public utility commissions being duty-bound to satisfy public interest.
  • A strategic sense of emerging and future needs be maintained.
  • A determination being made on who would be responsible for ensuring universal broadband access.

The Broadband Breakfast Club on Tuesday, May 12, 2009, will focus on defining the role of unserved and underserved. Speakers include Randolph J. May, President of the Free State Foundation; Jean Plymale of the Virginia Tech eCorridors Program; James Bradford Ramsey, general counsel of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners; and S. Derek Turner, research director of Free Press.

Registration is available at http://broadbandbreakfast.eventbrite.com. The current series of the Broadband Breakfast Club, “Spending the Broadband Stimulus,” is sponsored by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, and the Benton Foundation.

Broadband Data

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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Broadband Data

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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Broadband Data

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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