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FCC National Plan Aims for Data-Driven Approach to Broadband

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2009 – Blair Levin, recently appointed to head up the national broadband strategy at the Federal Communications Commission, laid out the agency’s framework for this plan – due in 230 days – at Thursday’s open meeting.

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WASHINGTON, July 2, 2009 – Blair Levin, recently appointed to head up the national broadband strategy at the Federal Communications Commission, laid out the agency’s framework for this plan – due in 230 days – at Thursday’s open meeting.

The agency’s broadband plan will interact with other congressional mandates, including the Broadband Data Improvement Act, and an upcoming report on high-speed adoption, among others.

The agency said it would merge the regulatory process for the regulatory process on high-speed adoption (also called the “Section 706” report after that portion of the 1996 Telecommunications Act) and the national broadband plan.

Comments on the 706 report will be considered in the national broadband plan, and vice versa. This will help create ongoing institutional knowledge on broadband, Levin said, which can serve to inform ongoing policy deliberations. The plan will include input from each bureau at the FCC.

The national broadband plan asks four questions: (1) What is current state of broadband deployment, affordability, and other factors?; (2) What is the near-term solution if there were no dramatic change in government policy? This would take into account technological advances including the wireless Long Term Evolution standard, the cable industry DOCSIS 3.0 technology, among others; (3) What are the areas in which there are demonstrable harms to the public interest?; and (4) What are the ways of lessening the public interest harms?

Levin noted that the FCC doesn’t know the answers to any of these questions today, but the agency would be open, transparent, inclusive, and participatory.

One of the first steps to achieving this goal was the launch on Thursday of the beta website, www.broadband.gov. The new website has the ability to display maps, consumer info, and broadband resources.

The process will also include several meetings “outside the beltway,” though no locations are set as of today.

Levin also set out a timeline where the following developments would be presented at the open commission meeting that month:

  • In September, the FCC will explain the factual state of play.
  • In November, key broadband gaps will be analyzed.
  • In December, the policy framework will be explained.
  • In January, the national agenda will be discussed.
  • In February, the Section 706 report and the national broadband plan are due to be presented.

Commissioner Michael Coops, the first of the three commissioners to speak, said that the national broadband plan is “even more important and transformative than the 1996 Act.

Copps thanked Levin for this work on the plan. He said he was “thoroughly impressed with the quality and quantity of your work.” Copps lauded the “forward-looking, strategic, data driven” approach, hoping that the plan “can make us the technology leader of the world again.”

Commissioner Copps finished by saying, if you “enable broadband, and you enable the United States of America.”

Commissioner Robert McDowell noted that increasingly the world’s economy rides on the rails of broadband.” He also expressed his hope that “the plan will be iterative… so we can be adjustable, as the Internet is.”

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski stated that “Congress has entrusted the FCC with a matter of profound importance to the country.” The agency “must find ways to make sure all Americans have access to broadband.” Genachowski said he was also “pleased that the plan will be data-driven,” with the FCC “not just accepting data, but digging into the data.”

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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