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Public Interest Groups Press for Ambitious Broadband Networks As Part of Plan

WASHINGTON, February 18, 2010 – A coalition of public interest groups on Wednesday called on the Federal Communications Commission to include a set of ambitious benchmarks and policies in the agency’s upcoming national broadband plan.

The agency will discuss aspects of the national broadband plan, now due on March 17, 2010, at the February monthly meeting being held on Wednesday.

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WASHINGTON, February 18, 2010 – A coalition of public interest groups on Wednesday called on the Federal Communications Commission to include a set of ambitious benchmarks and policies in the agency’s upcoming national broadband plan.

The agency will discuss aspects of the national broadband plan, now due on March 17, 2010, at the February monthly meeting being held on Wednesday.

The public interest groups issued their challenge to the FCC on the date the Plan was originally due to Congress, before the FCC sought a month-long delay.

The groups, including Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Free Press, New America Foundation and Public Knowledge, urged the FCC to embrace the following five benchmarks:

  • The FCC should set a goal that U.S. broadband adoption of world-class networks shall equal current rate of telephone adoption, over 90%, by 2020.
  • The FCC should set a goal of substantially improving the level of competition between providers of broadband Internet access to move the country out of a stagnant duopoly by the end of 2012.
  • The FCC should set a goal of establishing real consumer protections for broadband customers within 12-18 months.
  • The FCC should set a goal of implementing new broadband data collection standards and rules for utilizing that data in market analyses by the end of 2010.
  • The FCC should set a goal of establishing rules protecting open markets for speech and commerce on broadband networks as soon as feasible.

The overall tone of the presentation was forward looking, with each panelist speaking on a different aspect of the benchmark goals.

Joel Kelsey from Consumer’s Union focused on the availability of information, and asserted that consumers make better decisions when they have clear information, and that more information would lead to higher broadband adoption rates. He also stated that internet providers can and should be honest with subscribers.

Harold Feld from Public Knowledge stressed that there is no substitute for competition. In order to achieve a more competitive environment, Feld suggested that the FCC establish real benchmarks, engage in spectrum reform, and also reform special access so competitors can afford to bring consumers the service they deserve.

Ben Scott from Free Press zeroed in on the need for an open Internet. He said that the Internet must remain open because an open market is essential for commerce. Scott also stated that openness is more than net neutrality and stressed that interconnection is essential in telecommunications infrastructure and devices, especially since set-top boxes will one day be the gateway to Internet access.

In order for these benchmarks to be achieved, accurate data is essential. Benjamin Lennet from New America Foundation said that without accurate data, agencies cannot make informed decisions. He said that the nation should rely on the wisdom of the crowds and make internet measurement data widely available.

Mark Cooper from Consumer Federation of America repeatedly referred to the universal service fund when explaining the policy goals for the national broadband plan. According to Cooper, the USF measures at the household level. The policy-oriented question should be, therefore, “does this household have broadband service?”

A representative from the office of Rep. Cliff Stearns’s, R-Fla., asked why the focus of broadband policy should be on what networks, instead of on adoption.

The panelists overwhelmingly agreed that digital inclusion and digital evolution are both important policy goals, but there is no need to see conflicts between the goals. In other words, panelists said that better networks and better adoption were not an either/or proposition, but that consumers want both.

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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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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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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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