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NTIA Gives Millions To Connected Nation, Announces 15 Broadband Mapping Grants

WASHINGTON, December 22, 2009 – Connected Nation, which bills itself as a national non-profit organization that seeks to expand access to broadband internet, hit the jackpot Tuesday when the government announced it will be receiving more than nine million in funding for broadband mapping work.

“Congress rightly recognized that increasing broadband access and adoption in communities being left behind in the 21st Century economy depends on better data collection and broadband planning,” said Lawrence Strickling, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, and head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, in a statement.

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WASHINGTON, December 22, 2009 – Connected Nation, which bills itself as a national non-profit organization that seeks to expand access to broadband internet, hit the jackpot Tuesday when the government announced it will be receiving more than nine million in funding for broadband mapping work.

“Congress rightly recognized that increasing broadband access and adoption in communities being left behind in the 21st Century economy depends on better data collection and broadband planning,” said Lawrence Strickling, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, and head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, in a statement.

“Our goal is to carry out this initiative on schedule and at the lowest cost necessary to do the job right,” he said. “We’ve now awarded more than half the grants and will continue to work with remaining applicants so they can bring the benefits of broadband to more of their citizens,” he said.

At least five of the 15 grants NTIA announced Tuesday will be going to Connected Nation.

The rest of the awards have been given to state entities. “The states of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, South Carolina and Tennessee are providing direction and supervision to the planning activities that will be undertaken by their designated entity, which is a non-state government entity, to ensure that planning funds are used to address the specific needs of the state,” NTIA explained in a release.

Connected Nation is receiving approximately $1.8 million for work in Michigan, $1.7 million in Minnesota, $1.4 million in Nevada, $1.7 million in South Carolina, and $1.8 million in Tennessee.

On its Web site Connected Nation’s board of directors list includes USTelecom, CTIA -The Wireless Association, Comcast, Verizon, Telecommunications Industry Association, and Intel. The group’s national advisory council includes Microsoft, AT&T, Cisco, National Cable Telecommunications Association, The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, and Internet Innovation Alliance.

Connected Nation states it is “committed to meeting our mission through working with any and all providers of broadband service. We have an open door as to how to develop that relationship – with the extent and depth of that relationship often being defined by the provider themselves. Broadband providers actively contribute to the Connected Nation Board of Directors state-level steering committee, and local community leadership team providing representation from cable and DSL providers.”

The funding to Connected Nation were made possible from monies Congress allocated in February to increase broadband access and adoption.

NTIA said it received applications representing all 50 states, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia to participate in the program. “Twenty-one grants have previously been announced under this program and the agency expects to continue announcing awards over the coming weeks,” according to the NTIA release. Broadband data, which will be gathered from between 2009 and 2011, will be displayed as part of a government national broadband map.

In addition to Connected Nation, the following grant recipients were announced Tuesday: Arizona Government Information Technology Agency, Florida Department of Management Services, Georgia Technology Authority, North Dakota Information Technology Department, Ohio Office of Information Technology, Oregon Public Utilities Commission, Puerto Rico Office of the Chief Information Officer, Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, and South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunications.

NTIA said it “carefully evaluates each application to determine whether the applicant directly represents the interests of the state.” Awardees are required to contribute at least 20 percent in non-federal matching funds toward project costs.

Winter covered technology policy issues for five-and-a-half years as a reporter for the National Journal Group. She has worked for USA Today, the Washington Times, the Magazine Group, the State Department’s International Visitor’s Program, and the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. She also taught English at a university in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

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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