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NTIA Awards 5 More Broadband Mapping Grants; Total to 41 States is $78 Million

WASHINGTON, December 31, 2009 – The Commerce Department agency responsible for the mapping component of the broadband stimulus program announced, on the last day of the year, that it had funded five more states’ broadband data programs.

With the announcement – of funding for broadband data and mapping in Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah and the U.S. Virgin Islands – the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has awarded 41 grants totaling $78 million.

There remain 15 awards still to be made – rounding out the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories that submitted applications and are eligible for grant funding.

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WASHINGTON, December 31, 2009 – The Commerce Department agency responsible for the mapping component of the broadband stimulus program announced, on the last day of the year, that it had funded five more states’ broadband data programs.

With the announcement – of funding for broadband data and mapping in Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah and the U.S. Virgin Islands – the National Telecommunications and Information Administration has awarded 41 grants totaling $78 million.

There remain 15 awards still to be made – rounding out the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories that submitted applications and are eligible for grant funding.

The agency said that it planned to make those awards early in 2010.

NTIA has been relatively parsimonious in its approach to funding broadband data-collection efforts.

Although the “Notice of Funds Availability” released on July 1, 2009, said that the agency would accept applications for funding of up to $3.9 million per state, plus $500,000 for “broadband planning activities,” in practice the NTIA has cut that amount by more than half. The average award has been $1.9 million.

Up to $350 million of the $7.2 billion allocated for broadband-related activities by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was set aside for broadband data-collection activities.

However, if the NTIA awards the remaining grants at the same rate, it would spend about $106 million on broadband mapping – less than a third itemized in the fiscal stimulus bill.

Presumably, some of remaining funds – up to $250 million – designed for broadband data and mapping will go to fund internal NTIA efforts, or efforts of the Federal Communications Commission.

Of these most recent five grants announced Thursday, three went to government agencies; one went to the non-profit organization Connected Nation, in Iowa; and another to the University of New Hampshire.

“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 NTIA Administrator and Assistant Secretary Lawrence Strickling.

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

Additionally, in the NTIA’s statement, the agency said that “the data will be displayed in NTIA’s national broadband map, a tool that will inform policymakers’ efforts and provide consumers with improved information on the broadband Internet services available to them.”

From the NTIA press release:

  • Iowa: NTIA has awarded Connected Nation approximately $1.7 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and nearly $500,000 for broadband planning activities over a five-year period in Iowa, bringing the total grant award to approximately $2.2 million. Connected Nation is the designated entity for the state of Iowa.
  • Montana: NTIA has awarded the Montana Department of Commerce nearly $1.6 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and nearly $500,000 for broadband planning activities over a five-year period in Montana, bringing the total grant award to more than $2 million. The Montana Department of Commerce is the designated entity for the state of Montana.
  • New Hampshire: NTIA has awarded the University of New Hampshire (UNH) approximately $1.2 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and nearly $500,000 for broadband planning activities over a five-year period in New Hampshire, bringing the total grant award to approximately $1.7 million. UNH is the designated entity for the state of New Hampshire.
  • Utah: NTIA has awarded the Utah Public Service Commission (PSC) approximately $1.5 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and nearly $500,000 for broadband planning activities over a four-year period in Utah, bringing the total grant award to approximately $2 million. The Utah PSC is the designated entity for the state of Utah.
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: NTIA has awarded the Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority – Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) approximately $830,000 for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and approximately $460,000 for broadband planning activities over a two-year period in the U.S. Virgin Islands, bringing the total grant award to nearly $1.3 million. The OEO is the designated entity for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Breakfast Media LLC CEO Drew Clark is a nationally respected U.S. telecommunications attorney. An early advocate of better broadband, better lives, he founded the Broadband Census crowdsourcing campaign for better broadband data in 2008. That effort became the Broadband Breakfast media community. As Editor and Publisher, Clark presides over news coverage focused on digital infrastructure investment, broadband’s impact, and Big Tech. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Clark served as head of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a state broadband initiative. Now, in light of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, attorney Clark helps fiber-based and wireless clients secure funding, identify markets, broker infrastructure and operate in the public right of way. He also helps fixed wireless providers obtain spectrum licenses from the Federal Communications Commission. The articles and posts on Broadband Breakfast and affiliated social media, including the BroadbandCensus Twitter feed, are not legal advice or legal services, do not constitute the creation of an attorney-client privilege, and represent the views of their respective authors.

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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