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Report Calls State Of Broadband Access For Native Americans ‘Deplorable’

WASHINGTON, November 19, 2009 – The Native American population is one of the most disconnected groups in the country, according to a study released Thursday on broadband penetration.

The Native Public Media and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative suggest that the Federal Communications Commission create a Tribal Broadband Plan within the national broadband plan that it is currently drafting.

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WASHINGTON, November 19, 2009 – The Native American population is one of the most disconnected groups in the country, according to a study released Thursday on broadband penetration.

The Native Public Media and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative suggest that the Federal Communications Commission create a Tribal Broadband Plan within the national broadband plan that it is currently drafting.

“Native Americans are among the last citizens to gain access to the Internet, with access to broadband often unavailable or overly expensive in Native communities,” according to the research.

“Beyond that challenge, there is a fundamental lack of qualitative or quantitative empirical research on Native American Internet use, adoption, and access, stifling the Native voice in broadband and media policy,” the report found.

The research provides recommendations on policies that could help bridge the Native American digital divide. “This report is timely and catapults the needs of Native Americans into the national policy making process as the FCC develops a data focused and comprehensive National Broadband Plan,” said Loris Taylor, executive director of Native Public Media, in a statement.

The researchers found Native Americans who did have access to new technologies to be very tech savvy.

The report was based on a survey conducted over a one year period, from October 2008 to November 2009, of over 120 tribes who lived across 28 states.

The Native Public Media and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative researchers compared their report findings to the recent Pew Internet and American Life Project Spring Tracking Survey from 2008.

The New America survey results show that 90 percent of the Native Americans surveyed used the internet daily while the Pew Survey showed that 54 percent of the overall public used the internet daily.

But it is in connectivity to the Internet that the general public truly towers over the native population, the New America report found.

The majority of the native population on broadband use DSL, while only a small number had access to cable – and almost no access to higher-speed broadband. The general public, by contrast, connects via cable access and via high-speed DSL.

The majority of Native Americans who did have connections were purchasing broadband services from non-major telecom companies. The cost for access was also much higher for Native Americans: 58 percent paid between $21 and $60, while the Pew survey had the majority of American’s paying between $21 and $40.

The Native Public Media and the New America Foundation team was not the first to find that broadband services have not been reaching Native American communities. The Government Accountability Office wrote in 2006 that the penetration rate for broadband access in the Native American communities was less than 10 percent.

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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