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Will Consumer-Friendly Smart Meters Pave the Way to Smart Grid Adoption?

November 14, 2011 – When the Federal Communications Commission identified six concrete goals in the national broadband plan, the one specific application highlighted by the agency was energy consumption: “To ensure that America leads in the clean energy economy, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.”

This goal – tracking and managing energy consumption – is right at the intersection of two trends that will be explored at the Broadband Breakfast Club on Tuesday, November 15: “The Smart Grid and Broadband.” Click here to register for this event.

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November 14, 2011 – When the Federal Communications Commission identified six concrete goals in the national broadband plan, the one specific application highlighted by the agency was energy consumption: “To ensure that America leads in the clean energy economy, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.”

This goal – tracking and managing energy consumption – is right at the intersection of two trends that will be explored at the Broadband Breakfast Club on Tuesday, November 15: “The Smart Grid and Broadband.” Click here http://broadbandbreakfast.eventbrite.com to register for this event.

Tomorrow’s event will feature a keynote from the office of the Chief Technology Officer and a panel of experts including officials from AT&T, Opower, Schneider Electric and Pepco. The event itself will be moderated by Katie Fehrenbacher, founding editor of Earth2Tech.com and a writer for GigaOm.com.

Katie is one of the country’s top experts on the smart grid. For a cheat sheet on the industry and its key players, visit http://gigaom.com/cleantech/faq-smart-grid/. Also see her article on AT&T’s links with the smart grid player Digi and a separate piece on smart grid standards.

There is no question that the smart grid is going to deliver reams and reams of data. “If 140 million smart meters are installed in the U.S. over the next ten years they could produce a massive 100 petabytes of data,” says Katie. At tomorrow’s panel, experts will be asked what kind of broadband connections are going to be necessary to handle this load of data.

Among the players on the panel include:

  • Jeffrey Dygert, Executive Director, Public Policy, AT&T
  • Arkadi Gerney, Senior Director, Policy, Partnerships and Public Affairs, Opower
  • Paul Hamilton, Vice President of Government Affairs, Schneider Electric
  • Sunil Pancholi, Smart Grid Program Manager, Pepco

Additionally, it’s possible that there will be some debate between utilities and telecommunications providers.

At a previous Broadband Breakfast Club on the impact of high-speed internet on the smart grid in July 2010, officials from Verizon Communications and the Utilities Telecom Council sparred over whether utilities feel the need to use their own telecommunications network – or whether they can partner with telcos and wireless companies – to provide the data that will monitor energy consumption.

The same subject also came up during a September 2009 Broadband Breakfast Club on energy, the environment, and telecommuting.

Tomorrow’s event will be keynoted by Nick Sinai, senior advisor to the Chief Technology Officer in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, who previously served as the Energy and Environment Director of the Federal Communications Commission’s Omnibus Broadband Initiative.

Nick has been integral to exploring how broadband and advanced communications can help the nation achieve its goals of energy independence and energy efficiency, and was instrumental in ensuring that the goal – “every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.”

Finally, it’s worth noting that the November Broadband Breakfast Club builds on our September event, “Making Cities of the Future Smarter Through Broadband,” and our event in October, “Bringing Broadband Infrastructure to Rural Areas: Where is the Progress?

Whether the topic is “smart cities,” or stringing power wires to rural electric co-ops, the smart grid is likely to play a key role in raising the intelligence of the American infrastructure.

The September event featured New City Councilmember Gail Brewer; the October event featured U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager.

The Broadband Breakfast Club is sponsored by Comcast, Google, ICF International, Intel, National Cable and Telecommunications Association, Telecommunications Industry Association, and US Telecom.

Register for Tuesday’s Broadband Breakfast Club.

Drew Clark is the Chairman of the Broadband Breakfast Club, the premier Washington forum advancing the conversation around broadband technology and internet policy. You can find him on and Twitter. He founded BroadbandCensus.com, and he brings experts and practicioners together to advance Better Broadband, Better Lives. He’s doing that now as Executive Director for Broadband Illinois, based in Abraham Lincoln’s Springfield.

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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