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Verizon to Seek Rural Partners as It Rolls Out More Robust Network

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2010 – Verizon plans to blanket the nation with a faster communications network and is looking for help in rural areas. In addition to seeking partners, the firm has reportedly been in talks to share its spectrum.

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WASHINGTON, June 4, 2010 – Verizon plans to blanket the nation in the fast, long term evolution, or LTE, technology and is looking for help in rural areas.

The firm realizes that it will be unable to build out or manage a truly nationwide network and is seeking partners to cover rural America.

In addition to seeking partners, the firm has reportedly been in talks to share its spectrum.  In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cellcom’s  CEO said Verizon has been in talks with many  small rural firms to be a designated LTE entity for a given area. The rural firm would be responsible for providing service and maintaining the necessary infrastructure. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said these deals are still in their infancy and no pricing model has been set.

Currently, Verizon’s 3G service covers 90 percent of the U.S. population but plans to cover 48 states by the end of 2013. Its proposed rollout estimated 25 to 30 markets to be covered by the end of this year with double that amount by the end of 2012. Verizon has the rights to prime 700 megahertz spectrum for all of the lower 48 states and Hawaii.

The LTE network will be backward compatible with the current 3G network which will allow for users in LTE areas to switch between networks to obtain the best possible speeds. While the 3G network has speeds of 3 megabits per second down and  4 mbps up; the LTE network will have speeds between 5 to 12 mbps down and 2 to 5 mbps up. This increased speed also comes with expanded capacity which will transform the way customers make mobile phone calls, rather than using a separate transmission method all calls will be made via the LTE connection and be mobile VoIP. In addition, LTE is one of the 3GPP standards which will  allow handset manufacturers to make a single handset for the global market. Consumers will be able to travel without having to change handsets.

In a joint statement, FCC commissioners  Julius Genachowski and Meredith Baker said: “Bringing the benefits of mobile broadband to rural America is one the commission’s top priorities. The news of Verizon Wireless’s plan to partner with rural providers to accelerate investment in 4G networks is very encouraging. Seamless universal connectivity is essential to economic growth and world-class technology leadership. We look forward to learning more about Verizon Wireless’ initiative, its successful implementation, and other examples of industry-led innovation.”

The national broadband plan advocates that the government assist the wireless industry in the expansion of LTE as it will be able to provide high-speed access to much of the nation faster than the expansion of high-speed wireless solutions.

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for BroadbandBreakfast.com since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act

FCC

Federal Communications Commission Implements Rules for Affordable Connectivity Program

The agency implemented new rules on the Affordable Connectivity Program, which makes a new subsidy permanent.

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Photo of Jessica Rosenworcel by Rob Kunzig of Morning Consult

WASHINGTON, January 24, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules Friday for its Affordable Connectivity Program that changes and, in some cases narrows, the eligibility requirements for the subsidy to allow for more households to be connected.

An extension of the former Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which offered discounts to broadband service providers to subsidize connectivity and devices, the new program will make it easier for providers to get in the program by automatically making eligible providers in good standing.

Additionally, the FCC maintains that the monthly discount on broadband service is limited to one internet discount per household rather than allowing the benefit for separate members of a household. “Adopting a one-per-household limitation best ensures that Program funding is available to the largest possible number of eligible households,” the agency said in its report.

To accommodate the volume of eligible households enrolling in the ACP, the FCC allowed providers until March 22 – 60 days after its Friday order is published in the Federal Register– to make necessary changes to ensure that the ACP can be applied to providers’ currently sold plans.

“So much of our day to day—work, education, healthcare and more—has migrated online. As a result, it’s more apparent than ever before that broadband is no longer nice-to-have, it’s need-to-have, for everyone, everywhere,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “But there are far too many households across the country that are wrestling with how to pay for gas and groceries and also keep up with the broadband bill. This program, like its predecessor, can make a meaningful difference.”

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act transformed the EBB to the longer-term Affordable Connectivity Program by allocating an additional $14.2 billion to it.

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FCC

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel Shares Proposal to Promote Broadband Competition In Apartment Buildings

If adopted, the FCC’s regulations would increase broadband options for tenants.

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FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

WASHINGTON, January 21, 2022––Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel shared a draft regulation that aims to would promote competition and greater broadband choice for tenants in apartment buildings.

If adopted, the regulations would prevent practices that keep tenants from choosing their own broadband provider.

“With more than one-third of the U.S. population living in apartments, mobile home parks, condominiums, and public housing, it’s time to crack down on practices that lock out broadband competition and consumer choice,” said Rosenworcel.

The proposal would prohibit broadband providers from entering into revenue-sharing agreements with apartment building owners. If approved by her fellow commissioners and hence adopted as official agency rules, the regulation would also require providers to disclose any existing marketing arrangements they have with building owners to tenants.

“Consumers deserve access to a choice of providers in their buildings. I look forward to having my colleagues join me in lifting the obstacles to competitive choice for broadband for the millions of tenants across the nation,” Rosenworcel said.

Her proposal builds on a September 2021 notice that invited a new round of comments during an examination of broadband access In apartment and office buildings. The FCC said the proceedings revealed “a pattern of new practices that inhibit competition, contrary to the Commission’s goals, and limit opportunities for competitive providers to offer service for apartment, condo and office building unit tenants.”

More than one third of the U.S. population lives in condominiums or apartment buildings.

Exclusive agreements between broadband providers and buildings owners limit options for tenants, who are precluded from access to new carriers. “Across the country throughout the pandemic, the need for more and better broadband access has never been clearer,” Rosenworcel added.

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FCC

FCC Announces Largest Approval Yet for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund: $1 Billion

The agency said Thursday it has approved $1 billion to 69 providers in 32 states.

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Photo illustration from the Pelican Institute

WASHINGTON, December 16, 2021 – The Federal Communications Commission announced its largest approval yet from the $9.2-billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, greenlighting on Thursday $1 billion from a reverse auction process that ended with award announcements in December but that the new-look agency has been scrutinizing in recent months.

The agency said in a press release that this fifth round of approvals includes 69 providers who are expected to serve 518,000 locations in 32 states over 10 years. Its previous round approved $700 million worth of applications to cover 26 states. Previous rounds approved $554 million for broadband in 19 states, $311 million in 36 states, and $163 million in 21 states.

The agency still has some way to approve the entirety of the fund, as it’s asked providers that were previously awarded RDOF money in December to revisit their applications to see if the areas they have bid for are not already served. So far, a growing list have defaulted on their respective areas, some saying it was newer FCC maps that showed them what they didn’t previously know. The agency said Thursday that about 5,000 census blocks have been cleared as a result of that process.

The FCC also said Thursday it saved $350 million from winning bidders that have either failed to get state certification or didn’t follow through on their applications. In one winning bidder’s case, the FCC said Thursday Hotwire violated the application rules by changing its ownership structure.

“This latest round of funding will open up even more opportunities to connect hundreds of thousands of Americans to high-speed, reliable broadband service,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.  “Today’s actions reflect the hard work we’ve put in over the past year to ensure that applicants meet their obligations and follow our rules.  With thoughtful oversight, this program can direct funding to areas that need broadband and to providers who are qualified to do the job.”

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