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NTIA Releases Names of Stimulus Applicants; Says All 50 States Will Get Broadband Mapping Grants

WASHINGTON, September 11, 2009 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration late Wednesday released the names of all 2,200 applicants for broadband stimulus grants through an interactive and searchable database at the broadbandusa.gov web portal during the first round of the broadband stimulus applications.

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WASHINGTON, September 11, 2009 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration late Wednesday released the names of all 2,200 applicants for broadband stimulus grants through an interactive and searchable database at the broadbandusa.gov web portal during the first round of the broadband stimulus applications.

In testimony to Congress on Thursday, Lawrence Strickling, Assistant Secretary of NTIA, said that the agency was likely to seek to consolidate the planned rounds two and three of the broadband grant process into a single additional round. The broadband stimulus program is being run by the NTIA and the Rural Utilities Service of the the Agriculture Department.

Also, late Wednesday the NTIA released the names of the entities within all 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia that had been awarded broadband data and mapping grants.

Previously, there had been some question about whether all states would indeed submit applications for broadband data.

“We are pleased with the unanimous response, which underscores the value of this program,” Strickling said in a statement, speaking about the broadband data grants.

The data grants totaled $100 million, or significantly less than the $240 million that had been designated for the program by the NTIA. The NTIA also announced that it decided to transform the five-year broadband data grants into two-year grants.

“In consideration of its charge to both create and maintain the national broadband map, and its responsibility to use funds in a fiscally prudent manner, NTIA has decided to initially fund state mapping and data collection efforts for a two-year period as opposed to a five-year period as originally contemplated,” read the press release.

These changes in the data and mapping program also came against the background of a significant course-reversal on August 7 by the NTIA: The agency changed the definition of “confidential” information in the broadband data and mapping Notice of Funds Availability to allow, and possibly require, the identification of carriers providing broadband service to individual Census blocks.

In a Federal Register notice issued August 7, and highlighted in the agency’s August 17 report to Congress, the agency said that “it intends to identify all broadband providers by name on the broadband map rather than leaving such identification to the discretion of the provider. These clarifications will help enable NTIA to build a robust, accurate broadband map for the benefit of consumers and policymakers.”

Previously, information about the carriers that serve a particular Census block has been considered proprietary and confidential.

The agency reiterated its position in favor of disclosing carrier identities in Wednesday’s press release: “The national broadband map will publicly display the geographic areas where broadband service is available; the technology used to provide the service; the speeds of the service; and broadband service availability at public schools, libraries, hospitals, colleges, universities, and public buildings. The national map will also be searchable by address and show the broadband providers offering service in the corresponding census block or street segment.”

Among the awardees for state broadband data and mapping grants, Connected Nation, Inc., won eight grants, the largest amount of awards: in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas.

The Connected Tennessee LLC, the Connected Nation affiliate in Tennessee, also won the award in that state. Somewhat surprisingly, Connected Nation did not win the grant in its home state of Kentucky. That award instead went to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Almost all of the designated entities selected for the broadband data and mapping grants were states, or divisions or agencies of states.

Further details about the broadband data and mapping selection process will be available in Monday’s BroadbandCensus.com Weekly Report.

Previously, the NTIA released the following information about the BTOP grants:

Of the $4.3 billion available in this round, RUS will make $2.3 billion available (in both grants and loans), and the NTIA will make $2 billion available.

Of the applications, more than 940 were filed with NTIA, more than 400 were filed with RUS, and more than 830 applications were filed with both NTIA and the RUS.

Of the NTIA applications, 260 were filed for infrastructure grants that are part of the NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. These grants sought $5.4 billion to provide broadband in unserved and underserved areas. A total of $1.6 billion is available from this pool.

The other NTIA-only applications were for sustainable broadband adoption, or for public computing centers. More than 320 applications requested nearly $2.5 billion for sustainable broadband projects; the amount allocated to this round is $150 million.

More than 360 applications were filed in the public computing center category. These applications requested more than $1.9 billion; the amount allocated to public computer centers in this round is $50 million.

Of the RUS infrastructure grants, more than 400 applications requested $5 billion in grants and loans for broadband infrastructure projects in rural areas. The total available in this round for RUS-funded projects is $2 billion, although the RUS has a $325 million “reserve” fund upon which it can draw.

Finally, of the more than 830 application filed jointly with NTIA and RUS, they requested nearly $12.8 billion in infrastructure funding. These applications would draw upon either the $2.3 billion from RUS, or the $1.6 billion in infrastructure funding available through the NTIA – or through the NTIA’s $200 million “reserve” fund.

About BroadbandCensus.com

BroadbandCensus.com was launched in January 2008, and uses “crowdsourcing” to collect the Broadband SPARC: Speeds, Prices, Availability, Reliability and Competition. The news on BroadbandCensus.com is produced by Broadband Census News LLC, a subsidiary of Broadband Census LLC that was created in July 2009.

A recent split of operations helps to clarify the mission of BroadbandCensus.com. Broadband Census Data LLC offers commercial broadband verification services to cities, states, carriers and broadband users. Created in July 2009, Broadband Census Data LLC produced a joint application in the NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program with Virginia Tech’s eCorridors Program. In August 2009, BroadbandCensus.com released a beta map of Columbia, South Carolina, in partnership with Benedict-Allen Community Development Corporation.

Broadband Census News LLC offers daily and weekly reporting, as well as the Broadband Breakfast Club. The Broadband Breakfast Club has been inviting top experts and policy-makers to share breakfast and perspectives on broadband technology and internet policy since October 2008. Both Broadband Census News LLC and Broadband Census Data LLC are subsidiaries of Broadband Census LLC, and are organized in the Commonwealth of Virginia. About BroadbandCensus.com.

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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.

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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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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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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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