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FCC Releases Report on Rural Broadband Strategy

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2009 – Rural broadband deployment has many possible hurdles to clear, the Federal Communications Commission said on Wednesday in “Bringing Broadband to Rural America,” a report on a rural broadband strategy.



WASHINGTON, May 27, 2009 – Rural broadband deployment has many possible hurdles to clear, the Federal Communications Commission said on Wednesday in “Bringing Broadband to Rural America,” a report on a rural broadband strategy.

Although the report was required by the 2008 Farm Bill, passed in the Bush administration, it dovetails with the requirement, in the February 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, that requires the FCC to create a national broadband strategy by February 2010.

Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps (D) said while there are multiple problems with coverage in rural areas, the report is a positive “building block” on the way to a national plan.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack agreed on the importance of improving rural broadband connectivity.

Broadband “will not only enhance farmers and ranchers’ ability to market goods and enhance production, it will help residents in rural communities obtain needed medical care, gain access to higher education, and benefit from resulting economic activity and job growth,” Vilsack said.

Public-private partnerships, as well as inter-agency cooperation, will be essential to the effort, the report noted.

The report encouraged agencies to create individual broadband agendas and share them with the FCC and Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Furthermore, agencies should coordinate with tribal governments to develop their own broadband strategies.

Measures in the same line ought to be taken towards minority and disabled groups. Existing relationships, such as the Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Services should also be put to their fullest uses, the report said.

Broadband data and mapping is the key to the quickest reform in rural and national broadband, the report said. While Copps said efforts thus far had been “insufficient,” he said that moving forward, the commission would work to better collect the information “in coordination with the administration and tribal and state governments.”

The most apt representation of the consumer need for broadband can be shown through the mapping effort associated with “subscribership,” according to the report. Subscribership can give both provider- and technology-specific results, which is invaluable information in providing prescriptive funding.

Subscribership information from rural, minority, disabled, and tribal groups, as well as those “anchor institutions” like schools, libraries, and health institutions, will shed the most light the needs that should be met foremost, said the report.

The report called broadband speed a “crucial component” of measuring rural coverage, including determining  new hardware might be installed, or older hardware might be replaced or updated.

Networks should be built according the “demands of the future,” the report said, in comparison with other countries that have deployed upgraded networks.

The report also contemplated the the need to obtain greater broadband “demand” within rural and low-income areas for the various demographics.

Whether on the supply side or the demand side, the report said, neither speed nor demand could be quantified without specific mapping efforts. The FCC has already seen the disagreement between “broadband connection speeds that customers experience [that] are neither constant nor identical advertised speeds or the theoretical maximums of a given network or particular service configuration.,” the report said.

In this report, the FCC is requesting annual reports from such broadband providers instead of mere “regular” reports, including information from mobile broadband as well.

“Decision makers therefore should proceed on a technology-neutral basis—by considering the attributes of all potential technologies—in selecting the technology or technologies to be deployed in a particular rural area,” said Copps.

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.



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.



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.



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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