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At the Broadband Breakfast Club, We’ll Explore ‘What Can Gigabit Do for Me?’

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May 15, 2013 – Gigabit-level connectivity is all the rage. It seems that everyone is asking, What Can Gigabit Do for Me?

More and more companies and communities — from established communications companies to new market entrants — have announced plans for deployment that cross that psychological Gigabit-level threshold.

But its also important to ask: from a consumer perspective, what’s the difference between being able to receive 1,000 Megabits per second (or a Gigabit, on other words), and the ability for a consumer to receive 100, 200 or 300 Megabits per second?

The 100+ Mbps club includes many of the nation’s major cable operators, including Comcast, which has effectively deployed DOCSIS 3.0 across its entire national broadband footprint. This next-generation cable modem technology enables at least 150 Mbps of download speeds. Even that number, at 150 Mbps, is far more than that for which consumers have found the need.

Among established telecommunications companies, Verizon’s Fiber Optic Service is now available at speeds of up to 300 Mbps. Those kinds of speed are now available to more than 13 million consumers in nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, plus parts of Florida, Texas, California and the District of Columbia.

As the National Broadband Map has demonstrated, broadband speeds and availability have been steadily increasing over the past four years. This is due to DOCSIS 3.0, to FiOS, and to a dramatic uptick in the adoption of the wireless LTE technologies.

When it comes to the fastest speeds, wireless plays second-fiddle. And cities across the county that want the maximum bang for their buck in economic development are flocking to Kansas City — the site of Google Fiber’s first Gigabit class build — to see what lessons they can learn.

Following in the footsteps of the Broadband Communities conference last month in Dallas; and the Schools, Health and Library Broadband Coalition in Washington earlier this month; two weeks from now the Fiber to the Home Council will convene in Kansas City around the enticing theme, “From Gigabit Envy to Gigabit Deployed.”

At the next Broadband Breakfast Club in Washington, on Tuesday, May 21, we’ll also consider the theme of the Gigabit Nation. Here’s our twist on the subject matter: How different is Gigabit-level connectivity from 100 or 200 or 300 Mbps-level connectivity?

While cities like Kansas City, Chattanooga and Lafayette, Louisiana, have built Gigabit Networks, are they getting anything more for their troubles? Or will the label “Gigabit” simply be the latest telecommunications fad to pass through?

Perhaps one key answer lies in the realm of applications development. What high-bandwidth applications are necessary to make a Gigabit City work? And how can lessons learned in one city be shared with others?

We’re very excited about the panel of experts that we have assembled for the Broadband Breakfast Club on Tuesday, May 21:

  • Sheldon Grizzle, Founder & Co-Director, GIGTANK in Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Kevin McElearney, Senior Vice President, Network Engineering & Technical Operations, Comcast Cable
  • David Sandel, President, Gigabit Communities and Smart Cities, Sandel & Associates
  • William Wallace, Executive Director, US Ignite
  • Scott J. Wallsten, Vice President for Research & Senior Fellow, Technology Policy Institute

More information and registration is available at http://broadbandbreakfast.eventbrite.com. I’ll be moderating the discussion next Tuesday, and I look forward to seeing you at the Broadband Breakfast Club in Washington!

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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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