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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.”

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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.



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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