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Adoption is Key for Minority Groups Focusing on Broadband Expansion

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2009 – The coordinator of the national broadband plan at the Federal Communications Commission, Blair Levin said Monday he is less optimistic about the broadband efforts than he was when he accepted the job.



WASHINGTON, July 21, 2009 – The coordinator of the national broadband plan at the Federal Communications Commission, Blair Levin said Monday he is less optimistic about the broadband efforts than he was when he accepted the job.

The Minority Media and Telecom Council today brought together both public and private broadband representatives, where Levin stated that after reading more than 8,000 pages of comments in the FCC’s broadband proceeding that the agency received from the public, he is “much less optimistic as when Chairman Copps asked me to come in.”

Levin wasn’t quite jovial in his statements, either. He said that the comments – bar a few – have primarily criticized FCC policy and history, or asked for money. But few have offered a real plan to achieve ubiquitous broadband coverage.

There is “very little in the 8,000-something pages that moves the ball forward…. The insight has to be tied to an exact government action,” he said.

Levin himself said, “I don’t really know anything” when it comes to the current state of broadband in the United States, or what it may look like in the future.

Levin pointed out the need for granular, sophisticated data in order to make educated decisions, something the FCC hopes to possess within the next year – long before the fruition of the Broadband Data Improvement Act, as implemented by the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Special Assistant to the President for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy Susan Crawford agreed that the government needs data- and demand-side information in order to create data-driven policy.

Such knowledge can develop “comprehensive approach to broadband adoption,” said Crawford.

Individuals at the conference citing statistics for the percentage of minorities not adopting broadband varied from 20 percent to 37 percent. Reasons cited ranged from fear of internet safety, incomplete knowledge of the tools, to computers being unaffordable. The MMTC hopes to held address these problems.

Crawford spoke of “increasing the pool of investment” in order for small business to get in on the money while the time is opportune.

“We can’t guarantee the result, but we can guarantee the result,” said Crawford.

Chairman and CEO of One Economy Foundation Rey Ramsey said that his organization was focused on bringing broadband knowledge to those who need it most.

“A baby was born” at the conference today, with the announcement of the Broadband Opportunity Coalition, newly formed coalition of civil rights and minority groups.

The coalition was formed “to ensure not only for this round of stimulus dollars but for as long as it takes[for broadband to be] adopted by people of color in every corner of the country,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey said that the industry needed not “build a bridge to nowhere,” or a bridge without people on it. Joining Levin and Crawford’s statements on the need for data, Ramsey highlighted both mediocre demand, and real uncertainty about what incentive there is to develop high-cost infrastructure in unserved or underserved areas.

“Relevant content is one of the most important elements of demand,” said Ramsey.

However, that discussion took place earlier in the day, Google Policy Counsel Harry Wingo said that Google has been providing pertinent content through services such as Gmail, Google Earth, and – on Monday – Google Moon.

Wingo said the current administration has taken a strong lead to encourage broadband adoption. “Absolutely on Government 2.0…. It saves costs and show leadership,” he said.

Joseph Waz, senior vice president at Comcast, said, “I would hope that the One Economy program will be the breeding ground for the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Many at the conference voiced concerns over funding and gaining capital for investment. Blair Levin said that the FCC “is no Santa Clause.”

He said that applicants in all groups need to show a real plan for broadband development.

Levin said that the FCC has developed a unique process for issuing these grants, being innovative in receiving and publicizing comments and tools for reviewing applications. But “if all we have is a great process, in the end we will fail. We need good ideas.”

Broadband Data

Many Data Points Required for Broadband Planning, Event Hears

An assortment of data will be useful in all phases of the broadband planning process.



Photo of Kristin Lardy of CORI

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2023 – Providers must invest in data collection for physical location, existing network infrastructure, and community needs and interests, advised the Center on Rural Innovation at a panel discussion Thursday.  

Physical location data includes a map of all buildings, identification of which buildings are eligible for or need broadband service, what services are provided, and fiber drop distances. Providers will need this information to understand how to utilize federal investment money from the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program, which award amounts are set to be announced later this month. 

Not only will providers need information on poles, towers, hubs, and fiber infrastructure ownership but they will also need insight on community needs and interests, said presenters. These include barriers to access and customer interest in a new internet provider. 

This assortment of data will be useful in all phases of the planning process, said Kirstin Lardy, broadband consultant at CORI, such as the market analysis phase for penetration assumptions, network design for projected costs, and financial modeling for forecast of costs and revenues.  

Data can be collected from federal resources like the Federal Communication Commission’s national broadband and funding map, which can be used to determine what areas are covered by federal subsidy and where communities should focus their efforts.  

Further data is also available at the municipal level which often hosts information about location of structures, types of structures, vacant lots, addresses, pole data, power distribution paths and rights of way.  

Engaging with community anchor institutions is essential to building comprehensive and useful data sets, added Kristen Corra, policy counsel at the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition. She urged providers to work with localities to gather information. 

States may also collect data directly from providers and users through speed tests, surveys, and censuses. 

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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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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.



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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