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U.S. Broadband Coalition Releases Report on Broadband Strategy, Bringing 160 Organizations Together

WASHINGTON, September 24, 2009 – A national broadband strategy must take steps to stimulate adoption and use of technology at a variety of levels, said a report by the U.S. Broadband Coalition, which presented the report at the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday.

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WASHINGTON, September 24, 2009 – A national broadband strategy must take steps to stimulate adoption and use of technology at a variety of levels, said a report by the U.S. Broadband Coalition, which presented the report at the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday.

The coalition, a non-profit organization made up of more than 160 organizations that provide or depend on broadband services, came together to push for a national broadband plan in mid-2008.

The release of the group’s report is the culmination of 18 months of work that predates the passage of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act when the coalition issued a “call to action” to organize and create a national broadband strategy.

FCC broadband czar Blair Levin welcomed the group’s comprehensive report. Facts needed for the commission to construct a national broadband plan are “not in the record…and not at the FCC,” he said.

If the government is to invest in broadband, there must be a “level of clarity…a level of certainty…about those facts,” Levin cautioned. And when it comes to data and facts, the FCC needs help gathering facts to fulfill its charge from Congress, he said: “I have to tell you, we don’t have that.”

Keeping the group focused was like “herding cats,” said coalition president Jim Baller. Many members didn’t believe a national strategy was needed, he said. “We weren’t clear about what the arguments were,” he said, and parties were often “shouting past each other.”

But the group managed to stick together by following one rule, he said: “Check your sound bites at the door.”

When cooler heads prevailed, Baller said they found they could agree that a strategy of some kind was needed. “We had a basis for pulling ourselves together,” he said. And the passage of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act “gave our work added relevance,” he said.

Bridging the “digital divide” is a major barrier to universal broadband within the U.S., the report said. Among the issues affecting adoption include a lack of relevance to many communities, difficulty accessing training and technology literacy programs, and a dearth of affordable options for access to computers.

Further, people with disabilities “often experience barriers of physical accessibility” to high speed internet as well as computing technology in general. While not endorsing any specific proposals, the coalition recommends the national broadband plan include research into increasing accessibility for Americans with disabilities.

Standards for basic computer knowledge must be raised among all groups in order to increase adoption. “Accelerating Internet learning requires innovation and improvement in usability, including the development of more natural and robust interfaces and making networks easier to set up and maintain,” the report said. “Raising the bar on skills and increasing ease of use benefits everyone.”

In addition to increasing adoption of broadband, service availability must also be addressed by federal collaboration with state and local governments, the report said. The coalition identified two major barriers to broadband deployment: high costs and technological barriers. But these can be overcome by a number of policy prescriptions, the report said, including grants, loans, loan guarantees, tax incentives, and tax credit bonds. But the coalition would not endorse, nor would it decline to endorse plans to harness the Universal Service Fund to such an end.

With more than fifty policy options included, the report represents a “tall order,” said Benton Foundation president Charles Benton. But there is no more important debate than the national broadband strategy when it comes to the economic future of the country, he said. Benton called for transparency and cooperation in collecting needed data for a national plan as well as implementing it: “Policy should be driven by consumer needs as well as industry,” he said.

The process of creating the report allowed a diverse range of views to be aired, said Verizon Communications vice president Link Hoewing. “Learning about the views of such a wide array of people was important,” he said. But a further challenge to the group remains in its forthcoming report on broadband adoption and use, which will be released in November. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

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Editor’s Note: Broadband Census Data LLC participated in the U.S. Broadband Coalition, and Executive Director Drew Clark is Co-Chair of the Coalition’s Metrics Working Group.

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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.

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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