WASHINGTON, July 1, 2014 – Republicans are concerned about the regulation of internet service providers as utilities under Title II of the Communications Act, but Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler said that he isn’t ruling out the section as a legal basis for agency authority. In a letter responding to concerns from House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, about net neutrality, he said, “Section 706 gives the commission the tools to adopt and implement robust and enforceable Open Internet rules.”
That said, “both Section 706 and Title II are viable solutions to the authority issue,” Wheeler wrote. Should the agency seek to reclassify internet services, it would look to see which common-carrier provisions from which broadband services should be exempt. Further inquiry and public discussion about the matter is necessary before a final decision is made, he said.
The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau has set forth a specific methodology for benchmarking various fixed broadband services. It came in a measure regarding the Universal Service Fund and intercarrier compensation, comparing the rate and support for voice and broadband services in supported areas at reasonable rates compared to similar services in urban areas.
“The methodology proposes here would result in a broadband benchmark that ranges from $68.48 to $71.84 for services meeting the current broadband performance standard of 4 Mbps [Megabits per second] downstream/1 Mbps upstream, with the specific benchmark depending on the associated usage allowance.”
The agency’s staff report was posted at http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/urban-rate-survey-data, detailing fixed broadband service data collected in the 2013 urban rate survey. Three potential methods for determining the average urban rate using the data collected in the survey were outlined:
The first approach calculates the average using a sub-sample of observations based solely on download speed, without regard to usage or upstream speeds.
The second approach calculates the average by identifying the subset of observations that meet or exceed a minimum service level, and then for each provider that is captured in that sub-sample, computing the average based on the lowest rate offered by that provider that meets or exceeds the specified service level.
The third approach uses a simple weighted linear regression model that takes into account the impact of three dimensions of service on rates: upload speed, download speed, and usage allowance, if any.
The Wireline Competition Bureau also announced the commencement of the Connect America Phase II challenge process for price cap territories. It encouraged local governments and stakeholders to participate in the challenge. A list of census blocks deemed initially eligible for Phase II support was released.
The FCC said: “This list consists of census blocks that are: (1) shown as unserved by an unsubsidized competitor; (2) “high cost” according to the adopted Connect America Cost Model, which means that the census block has a calculated average cost per location above $52.50 and below $207.81; and (3) located in price cap territories.”
Parties have until August 14, 2014, to file a challenge before the FCC to the “inclusion or exclusion of particular census blocks on the list,” although challenges may only be based on the first criterion. The FCC will then “make its final determination as to whether the challenged census blocks will be treated as served or unserved by an unsubsidized.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Small ISP Organizations Push FCC for Flexibility on Broadband Label Compliance
Advocates say strict compliance requirements may economically harm small providers.
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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