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FCC Lauches ‘Reboot’ Web Site to Spur Discussion of Agency Reform and Data

WASHINGTON, January 11, 2010 – The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday launched http://reboot.fcc.gov, a new interactive website attempting to foster public discussion on how to best improve the agency.

The site includes many opportunities for public input on a variety of facets of FCC operations, including greater release of FCC data, the development of new systems such a the “Consolidated Licensing System,” and the redesign of the main agency website, http://FCC.gov.

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WASHINGTON, January 11, 2010 – The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday launched http://reboot.fcc.gov, a new interactive website attempting to foster public discussion on how to best improve the agency.

The site includes many opportunities for public input on a variety of facets of FCC operations, including greater release of FCC data, the development of new systems such a the “Consolidated Licensing System,” and the redesign of the main agency website, http://FCC.gov.

The site is broken down into five sections: systems, rules and procedures, data, engagement and redesign. The home page also offers links to the RebootBlog – this reform efforts blog – plus all current FCC initiatives and upcoming events. Each section also includes the ability for users can comment, post suggestion and then vote on suggestions, Ideascale model.

Following FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s introductory message, the second post on the RebootBlog tackles the issues of redesign. David Kitzmiller, Internet Working Group Chairman, admits that “although web guidelines and cooperation between content providers has proved successful… the usability of the site design has not improved along with it.”

Their main task on redesigning the website is to create a user-centric design: “People expect page elements to be in certain standard places on webpages …content is king and intuitive navigation is the key that unlocks it,” said Kitzmiller.

Kitzmiller said he was tasked with discovering what people come to the website to accomplish and then organizing the content along those lines. Statistics based on research and collected data are used to help determine the FCC’s top tasks and prominence of which they are featured on the website.

Without data, said Kitzmiller, the agency cannot be sure whose needs the site aims to fill.

As for systemic reform, the agency has already launched a new version of its Electronic Comment Filing System 2.0 in October. The new version allows users to file multiple documents to multiple rulemakings in a single submission, has enhanced search features, and allows users to explore data results in more efficient Excel and PDF formats.

Special Counsel for FCC Reform Mary Beth Richards said that through “reboot” feedback, the agency can continue an ongoing conversation towards further enhancements of a potential ECFS 3.0 system.

Richards also is looking for feedback on consolidating the numerous license applications systems, including a Universal Licensing System, Consolidated Database System, and International Bureau Filing System.

The “rules and procedures” section of the site seeks comment and input on increasing the transparency of the current ex parte systems and streamlining FCC internal processes.

FCC General Counsel Austin Schlick said that the FCC places a high priority on reforming rules and practices to improve openness and efficiency. In an effort to maximize the number of proceedings that use the commissions electronic filing system and make proceedings easier and more efficient, Schlick proposed an example of having documents served electronically rather than through the mail, which would save money and time. He continued, “Many state courts have similar e-filing systems. The FCC should be at least as user friendly and accessible to the public as the courts.”

Another fundamental part of the reform process that Reboot seeks to address regards agency data. Chairman Genachowski said that ensuring the openness of data that underpins FCC decisions is a key dynamic in fulfilling a fact based data driven agency. To meet these ends the Commission is launching FCC.gov/data – an online clearinghouse for the public data of the FCC. The FCC.gov/data link currently has information that is searchable by data type and by individual bureau.

Paul de Sa, Chief of the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy, said that he wanted the “character of the project to revolve around standards of machine readable, open file formats as well as syndicated feeds and bulk downloads.” Current discussion sections already include; what data sets would users like to see published on FCC.gov/data, how can the FCC better employ such data, and how can the data released on FCC.gov/data be better formatted in order to be more useful to the public?

Reboot.fcc.gov has launched at a point in time where the FCC has been working extensively to foster new levels of public participation, as well as finalizing the national broadband plan that Congress delegated to it.

The FCC has improved access to live events through their broadband workshop series and FCC Live platform. They have also worked toward digitizing agency material for enhanced searchability and have established a new an active social network presence. Steve VanRoekel, agency managing director, pointed out the over 30,000 comments that were generated in the first month following the launch of the first FCC blog, and their easy to use crowd sourcing platforms.

“These examples are just the beginning of our efforts to bring 21st century communication to the FCC as we begin to explore new avenues of participation through eRulemaking, look to find new ways to increase public engagement offline, and work to make the current systems more accessible to all users” said VanRoekel.

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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