WASHINGTON, July 31, 2009 – The federal government and broadband grant seekers should be careful as they seek policy to ensure it doesn’t hinder the spreading of high-speed communications system across the nation, a former Commerce Department official and broadband expert said.
Internet Innovation Alliance Co-chairman Bruce Mehlman, who was assistant secretary of Commerce for technology policy during the most recent Bush administration, told BroadbandCensus.com that although many parties with an interest in the debate are displeased with the National Telecommunication and Information Administration’s broadband initiative, the state of the nation’s broadband is not dire.
“Speeds have gone up, prices have gone down, percentages of populations served have expanded,” he said.
But he noted that “the tenor of many of the comments [to the broadband plan] is that the sky is falling and America is the broadband Banana Republic.”
Mehlman pointed to a new study, “The Substantial Consumer Benefits of Broadband Connectivity for U.S. Households” by Jonathan Orszag, Mark Dutz and Robert Willig as evidence that the broadband situation in the United States is healthy.
The study focused on five findings:
1. Consumers receive more than $30 billion of net benefits from the use of fixed-line broadband at home, with broadband increasingly being seen as a necessity;
2. With even higher speed, broadband would provide consumers even greater benefits – at a minimum of an additional $6 billion per year;
3. Significant broadband adoption gaps exist between various groups of households;
4. Among those who have a home broadband connection, there is no significant valuation gap based on race; and
5. The total economic benefits of broadband are significantly larger than our estimates of the consumer benefits from home broadband.
Mehlman said the report shows broadband is an “experience good.” Once people experience it, they value it much more highly than they ever thought they would, which could explain some of the adoption gaps. In effect, to expand broadband by focusing on unserved areas is a good investment, but one that should be done regularly by the private sector.
Broadband also has seen growth through private investment and not just from the government’s coffers, he noted.
“We should recognize that there is an annual investment of $60 to $80 billion that is not government money,” Mehlman said, citing data from researcher Yankee Group. “We should make sure that government decisions don’t deter that investment.”
“In a healthy market you will see adoption up and down the workplace,” he said, “and I’d like to continue to see the wireless versus wireline versus cable versus powerline arms race.”
Mehlman’s attitudes reflect those by economists at a broadband plenary last month held by the Progress and Freedom Foundation. Economists at the event differed on exact reasons why the United States has a successful broadband competition, but said the market works. They said too much regulation – rather than incentive – would be a bad thing.
Emperis Managing Partner Jeffrey Eisenach had said at the PFF forum that regulation of the broadband market would discourage innovation and that “regulations…don’t give enough credence to how capital markets work.”
Mehlman said the federal government should be careful in setting regulation “With mapping underway you shouldn’t presuppose strategy,” he said, referring to the Broadband Data Improvement Act currently open for broadband mapping grants.
Mehlman said policy can make infrastructure investment harder or easier, and if you add regulation it will deter private investment – especially in the unserved and underserved areas, those of prime focus in the current notices of available funds.
“Things are going right,” Mehlman said of the competition, and that any new policy should be done “with caution and humility.”
State Broadband Offices Need to Increase Their Capacity, Improve Data, and Communicate Well
NTIA’s Evan Feinman spoke about what states need to keep in mind as they prepare for BEAD funds.
WASHINGTON, May 18, 2022 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration webinar event on Tuesday focused on the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Notice of Funding Opportunity. The webinar highlighted three important items to keep in mind as states begin to receive money for broadband planning.
The first, according to Evan Feinman, deputy associate administrator for BEAD, was for states to consider your office’s capacity. Each state will receive a minimum of $100 million. Very few states have the human resources required to adequately run a program of this magnitude, he said.
The second is to build up research and data collections of broadband coverage at a state level. The Federal Communications Commission will soon release a new mapping system. It will be necessary, said Feinman, to “engage meaningfully” with these maps using state’s own research and data. Furthermore, states should have the necessary data to engage with internet service providers and the NTIA as they determine who is served and unserved.
Third, states should develop a clear-cut plan for outreach and communication support with stakeholders. Stakeholders include telecom providers, tribal governments, local governments, and community organizations.
The planning step is a great point for stakeholders to become involved in the process, said Feinman. “There is an expectation that lives throughout this program that folks are going to engage really thoroughly and in an outgoing way with their stakeholders.”
See other articles on the NTIA webinars issues in the wake of the Notices of Funding Opportunity on the Broadband.Money community:
Treasury Department Joins FCC, USDA and NTIA in Collaborating on Broadband Funding
Agency leaders sign pact to formalize information-sharing on broadband deployment projects.
WASHINGTON, May 13, 2022—Just in advance of the deadline for the release of the funding requirements under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act, the four principal federal agencies responsible for broadband funding released an interagency agreement to share information about and collaborate regarding the collection and reporting of certain data and metrics relating to broadband deployment.
The agencies are the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Commerce Department, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The Memorandum of Understanding is the latest development in federal efforts to coordinate high-speed internet spending, and the Treasury Department is the new addition to agreement.
The other three agencies signed a prior memorandum in June 2021 to coordinate the distribution of federal high-speed internet funds. That June 2021 Memorandum of Understanding remains in effect.
The respective Cabinet and Agency leaders announced that their agencies will consult with one another and share information on data collected from programs administered by the FCC, the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, programs administered or coordinated by NTIA, and Treasury’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund and State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.
“No matter who you are or where you live in this country, you need access to high-speed internet to have a fair shot at 21st century success. The FCC, NTIA, USDA and Treasury are working together like never before to meet this shared goal,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Our new interagency agreement will allow us to collaborate more efficiently and deepen our current data sharing relationships[and] get everyone, everywhere connected to the high-speed internet they need.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “When we invest in rural infrastructure, we invest in the livelihoods and health of people in rural America. High-speed internet is the new electricity. It is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, to have access to health care and to stay connected.”
“USDA remains committed to being a strong partner with rural communities and our state, Tribal and federal partners in building ‘future-proof’ broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas so that we finally reach 100 percent high-speed broadband coverage across the country.”
“Our whole-of-government effort to expand broadband adoption must be coordinated and efficient if we are going to achieve our mission,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and head of the NTIA, the agency responsible for administering the vast bulk of the broadband funding.
“This MOU will allow us to build the tools we need for even better data-sharing and transparency in the future,” he said.
“Treasury is proud to work with our federal agency partners to achieve President Biden’s goal of closing the nation’s digital divide,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen. “Access to affordable, high-speed internet is critical to the continued strength of our economy and a necessity for every American household, school, and business.”
As part of the signed agreement, each federal agency partner will share information about projects that have received or will receive funding from the previously mentioned federal funding sources. More information on what the interagency Memorandum of Understanding entails can be found on the FCC’s website. The agreement is effective at the date of its signing, May 11, 2022.
FCC and NTIA Chiefs Name Jessica Quinley, Douglas Brake and Timothy May to Advisory Committees
NTIA representatives to join FCC technology and security committees, FCC rep on spectrum committee
WASHINGTON, March 18, 2022—Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Alan Davidson on Friday named staff representatives to participate on each other’s advisory committees. The effort is a component of the Spectrum Coordination Initiative of the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Commerce Department.
As part of the initiative, the agencies are working with each other and the private sector.
“To succeed as spectrum partners, the FCC and NTIA must hear from and listen to each other in both formal and informal ways,” said Rosenworcel.
“A common understanding of spectrum engineering and market conditions is essential for the success of our efforts at the FCC and NTIA to manage the country’s spectrum resources,” said Davidson.
Rosenworcel named Jessica Quinley of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau to participate as an observer in NTIA’s Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee. Quinley currently serves as an Acting Legal Advisor in the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. She was an attorney at NTIA for more than four years.
Davidson named Douglas Brake, a Spectrum Policy Specialist, and Timothy May, a Senior Advisor, to participate in the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council and its Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council, respectively.
Brake, a Spectrum Policy Specialist with NTIA, previously directed the broadband and spectrum policy work at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. May currently serves as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Assistant Secretary where he has worked for four years. Before joining NTIA, he was a Policy Analyst in the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.
- Supreme Court to Hear Section 230 Case, Small Business Broadband Bill, TikTok Deal Pressure
- Broadband Breakfast on October 5, 2022 – How to Reform the Universal Service Fund
- Tech Against Texas Social Media, Alabama Middle Mile Grant, IP3 Awards Bestowed
- State Broadband Maps Show Significantly Fewer Served Locations than Does FCC’s Map
- As LEO Industry Grows, FCC Adopts Rule to Limit Space Debris
- Shielding Broadband Grants from Taxes, American at ITU, Google Fiber Multi-Gig Speeds
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Broadband Roundup4 weeks ago
AT&T Sues T-Mobile Over Ad, Nokia Partners with Ready, LightPath Expanding
#broadbandlive8 hours ago
Broadband Breakfast on October 5, 2022 – How to Reform the Universal Service Fund
Broadband Mapping & Data2 weeks ago
Broadband Mapping Masterclass on September 27, 2022
Broadband Mapping & Data4 weeks ago
FCC’s Fabric Challenge Process Important Part of Getting Map Right, Agency Says
WISP3 weeks ago
Wisper Internet CEO Takes Issue With Federal Government Preference for Fiber
Big Tech3 weeks ago
A White House Event, Biden Administration Seeks Regulation of Big Tech
Funding4 weeks ago
NTIA Middle Mile Director Stresses Need for Infrastructure to Withstand Climate Events
Fiber4 weeks ago
In ‘Office Hours’ Sessions, NTIA Addresses Questions of Middle Mile Grant Applicants