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Broadband's Impact

Internet Society of New York Event Surveys Broadband Landscape at Home and Abroad

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NEW YORK, November 12, 2014 – The Internet Society of New York (ISOC-NY) and the Federal Communications Bar Association gathered at Brooklyn Law School’s Forchelli Center on a beautiful November day here. The views of Brooklyn from the 22nd floor, across to Staten Island and New Jersey, were breathtaking. The action was indoors in a marathon event covering all aspects of positively disruptive technology. ISOC member Joly MacFie posted a streaming video is available here.

Rural America

Speaking first was James Dutcher, CIO of SUNY Cobleskill, located in the Adirondack Mountains west of Schenectady. Broadband competition is coming slowly to rural areas, and the agricultural and medical school just got a better deal on bandwidth because of “just the possibility of competition. The price dropped from $70,000 per year to $60,000 and the bandwidth rose from 200 Megabit per second (Mbps) to 1 Gigabit per second.

Dutcher pled with attendees to not think of broadband in rural areas as only connecting farms to the internet. He said the school just purchased 15 Google Glass devices for its medical and other programs and that Google provided an additional 15 devices for free. “We’re doing telemedicine in upstate New York,” Dutcher said.

Equality, Fairness, and Freedom

Tim Karr of the Free Press warned that censorship happens to citizen journalist protesters and credentialed journalists alike in New York, as well as in Kiev, Cairo, and Gezi Park in Turkey. He said that the issues of press freedom and freedom from censorship on the internet are becoming two aspects of one issue (as its of defining importance for Free Press.

Karr said his group also supports the USA Freedom Act, which would require an alliance of libertarian Republicans and anti-surveillance Democrats to pass, plus making additional radio frequency spectrum available on an unlicensed basis.

Karr said that households with $100,000 or more in annual income have high-quality broadband while 20 million Americans cannot get it at any price. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, a 500 Mbps connection costs residents $25 per month, he said.

I asked whether any of Free Press’ policies had a chance in the new Congress. “Obama called for net neutrality today,” Karr replied. “We’ve been working on this for 10 years. We’re releasing a survey tomorrow, and a rewrite of the Telecom Act is on the table. It makes me giddy.”

He said, however, that local governments will play a critical role. They need to review and police local franchise agreements. He recommended Susan Crawford’s new book on that score.

Global Equality

Dave Burstein, a veteran telecom reporter and principal at Fast Net News said that the United States can do more for Africa. He said that Africa will soon have more internet subscribers than the U.S. thanks to smartphones, but that pricing in Africa is horrific.

The price of internet in Africa right now: $170 per megabit in Lagos. If SUNY Cobleskill faced that price, it would be paying $170,000 per year instead of $60,000. It would be easy for the U.S. to lower African prices, Burstein said. Tariffs on undersea cables to Africa are higher than similar cables to Europe and Asia that experience greater competition. While 10 percent of the continent is without power, but cell phone companies are learning how to build towers outside the electric grid.

Meanwhile, in the USA, Burstein warned that technology that could deliver 10 to 100 times the bandwidth currently available to cell phones may never be deployed. The problem is politics, not technology – and he blamed incumbent communications companies and their lobbyists for creating what he described as fictions regarding a spectrum shortage.

Internet service providers in the U.S. are not promoting multi-SSID routers in the home. In Paris, these dual-network wireless routers have created a city-wide Wi-Fi cloud.

Breaking out of the Pipe Jail

Bob Frankston, co-creator of the first spreadsheet software, VisiCalc, said that networks should be built from the bottom up, not the top down. He said that a wire running internet into your home “is like a loan that you’re never allowed to pay off.” There’s a fixed cost to building it, but you’re paying a high monthly price for it for the rest of your life.

He said it’s not just a bad deal: the builder has every incentive to limit your freedom and promote scarcity in order to protect its pricing. Telecom is a loan from someone who uses your payment to limit your freedom. “Telecommunications companies are in the business of preventing people from communicating in order to charge money. But Skype shows that the telecommunications companies cannot prevent the internet from providing free communications.”

He said that internet applications are built to use any and all facilities, whereas telecommunications companies want to ensure that their users need them. “Net neutrality is necessary only if we accept that someone controls the pipes.”

Frankston doesn’t want the networks to be built by municipalities because they would charge for it and the act of billing places the customer and network owner in an adversarial position. “I fear a new boss who will act just like the old boss. As long as we finance infrastructure as a profit center, infrastructure is an economic problem not a technology problem.”

A network owner deriving pricing power from scarcity will always fight innovation, he said.

Editor’s Note: Alexander Goldman is a recent graduate of Brooklyn Law School, and recently passed the New York Bar Examination. He worked at ISP-Planet and ISPCON, was Chief Analyst for CTI’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants, and had internships at the Federal Communications Commission and the Internet Division of the NY State Attorney General. At Brooklyn Law School, he was a Trade Secrets Fellow and won CALI awards in Contracts and Antitrust.

Broadband's Impact

Reason 4 to Attend Broadband Mapping Masterclass: Measuring Actual Speeds

The 4th of 5 reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass with Drew Clark on 9/27 at 12 Noon ET

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WASHINGTON, September 26, 2022 – The fourth reason to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass with Drew Clark on September 27, 2022, is to understand the role that speed tests are playing in the discussion about actual speeds versus available speeds – and its importance for federal and state efforts to distribute broadband infrastructure funds.

Broadband Breakfast is hosting the 2-hour Broadband Mapping Masterclass to help Internet Service Providers, mapping and GIS consultants, and people in everyday communities concerned about broadband mapping.

This 2-hour Masterclass, available for only $99, will help you navigate the treacherous waters around broadband mapping. The live Broadband Mapping Masterclass is being recorded, and those who make a one-time $99 payment will obtain a guaranteed place during the live session.

ENROLL TODAY for our Zoom Webinar through PayPal.

Registrants will also receive unlimited on-demand access to the Masterclass recording. And they will receive Broadband Breakfast’s premium research report on broadband mapping.

Learn More about Why You Should Participate in the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

We’re presenting five additional reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass.

Additional reason number 4 to attend the Masterclass

The last time that the federal government initiated a significant effort to fund broadband, in 2009, the United States lacked a basic map of what we at Broadband Breakfast have for years called the Broadband SPARC: Measuring Speeds, Prices, Availability, Reliability and Competition by high-speed internet access providers.

The National Broadband Map was a first effort to measure availability and competition by displaying the individual providers that offered broadband on a Census block level. But it lacked any measure of broadband speeds, prices or the reliability of such information.

Over the past 13 years, we now have a great variety of robust sources of speed test data – as well as significant datasets with information about pricing and reliability of broadband. The Broadband Mapping Masterclass will explore ways in which actual speed data has and can be used to crosscheck the quality of broadband availability data released by the Federal Communications Commission.

By attending the Broadband Mapping Masterclass, you’ll learn what you need to know in order assess the quality of broadband data as made availability by federal and state agencies, and private companies and organizations.

ENROLL TODAY  to find out what happens next.

Learn More about Why You Should Participate in the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

Read more about the reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

ENROLL TODAY

 

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Broadband's Impact

Dianne Crocker: Recession Fears Have Real Estate Market Forecasters Hitting the Reset Button

Growing fears of recession trigger pullback on previous rosy forecasts.

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The author of this Expert Opinion is Dianne Crocker, Principal Analyst for LightBox

The lyrics to “Same As It Ever Was” by the Talking Heads certainly don’t apply to how 2022 is playing out in the commercial real estate market. Two quarters of negative economic growth has put a damper on market sentiment and triggered fears that the U.S. economy is heading for a recession. By midyear, market analysts were taking a good, hard look at their rosy forecasts from the start of the New Year and redrawing the lines.

Once upon a time…

At the start of 2022, forecasters were bullishly predicting that commercial real estate investment and lending levels would be nearly as good as 2021. This was significant, considering that 2021 set new records for deal-making and lending volume as the debt and equity capital amassed during the pandemic while looking for a home in U.S. commercial real estate.

What a difference a few quarters have made. Virtually, all the predictions that started the New Year were obsolete by mid-summer. The abrupt shift in market conditions is palpable and surprised just about everyone. Now, markets are reaching an inflection point that is in sharp contrast with the strong rebound of last year.

The two I’s: Inflation and interest rates

At the core of the recent upset in market sentiment is the persistence of high inflation, which seems to be ignoring all attempts by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates and bring prices down. Higher inflation is having a ripple effect throughout the economy, pushing up the costs of construction materials, energy, and consumer goods. Among the notable economic indicators showing stress at mid-year was the GDP, which fell for the second consecutive quarter, and the Consumer Price Index, which jumped 9.1% year-over-year in June – the highest increase in about four decades.

In July, the CPI fell to 8.5%, an encouraging sign that inflation was beginning to stabilize. By the latest August report from LightBox, however, hopes were dashed when the CPI showed little improvement, holding firm at a still high of 8.3%.

The market is responding to a higher cost of capital as lenders tap the brakes. As the cost of capital rises with each interest rate hike and concerns of a recession intensify, many large U.S. financial institutions are pulling back on their loan originations for the rest of 2022 and into 2023. This change in tenor is a significant shift, given that 2021 was a record-breaking year for commercial real estate lending. Many lenders have already shifted to a more defensive underwriting position as they look to mitigate risks.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, which had previously predicted that lending levels in 2022 would break the $1 trillion mark for the first time revised their forecast downward in mid-July. By year-end, the MBA now expects volume to be a significant 18% below 2021 levels—and one-third lower than the bullish forecast made in February. Now, investment activity is cooling as higher borrowing costs drive some buyers from the market.

In the investment world, transactions were down by 29% at midyear due to a thinning buyer pool as higher rates impact access to debt capital. Market volatility is causing investors, lenders, and owners to rethink strategies, reconsider assumptions, and prepare for possible disruption.

Looking ahead to year-end and 2023

The rapid and diverse shifts in the market make for an uncertain forecast and certainly a more cautious investment environment. The battle between inflation and interest rates will continue over the near term. As LightBox’s investor, lender, valuation, and environmental due diligence clients move toward the 4th quarter—typically the busiest quarter of the year–unprecedented volatility is driving them to recalibrate and reforecast given recent market developments.

Continued softness in transaction volume is likely to continue as rates and valuations establish a new equilibrium. If property prices begin to level out, there will be more pressure on buyers to consider how to improve a property to get their return on investment. The next chapter of the commercial real estate market will be defined by how long inflation sticks around, how high interest rates go, and whether the economy slips into a recession (and how deeply). The greatest areas of opportunity will be found in asset classes like office and retail that are evolving away from traditional uses and morphing to meet the needs of today’s market. Until barometers stabilize, it’s important to rethink assumptions, watch developments, and recalibrate as necessary.

Dianne Crocker is the Principal Analyst for LightBox, delivering strategic analytics, best practices in risk management, market intelligence reports, educational seminars, and customized research for stakeholders in commercial real estate deals. She is a highly respected expert on commercial real estate market trends. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to commentary@breakfast.media. The views reflected in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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Broadband's Impact

Reason 3 to Attend Broadband Mapping Masterclass: State Maps vs. Federal Maps

The 3rd of 5 reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass with Drew Clark on 9/27 at 12 Noon ET

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WASHINGTON, September 23, 2022 – The third reason to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass with Drew Clark on September 27, 2022, is to get a handle on what state broadband officers have and are doing with broadband maps.

While much of the action has been at the Federal Communications Commission, after state allocations have been made, funding decisions will ultimately come from state broadband officers.

Broadband Breakfast is hosting the 2-hour Broadband Mapping Masterclass to help Internet Service Providers, mapping and GIS consultants, and people in everyday communities concerned about broadband mapping.

This 2-hour Masterclass, available for only $99, will help you navigate the treacherous waters around broadband mapping. The live Broadband Mapping Masterclass is being recorded, and those who make a one-time $99 payment will obtain a guaranteed place during the live session.

ENROLL TODAY for our Zoom Webinar through PayPal.

Registrants will also receive unlimited on-demand access to the Masterclass recording. And they will receive Broadband Breakfast’s premium research report on broadband mapping.

Learn More about Why You Should Participate in the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

We’re presenting five additional reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass.

Additional reason number 3 to attend the Masterclass

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allocates $42.5 billion for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program. Every state will receive at least $100 million in funding, but the remaining more-than $37 billion will be allocated among states based upon a formula that is primarily determined by their percentage of the unserved population. (According to IIJA, a location is “unserved” if it lacks access to broadband at 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload. An area is “underserved” if it lacks 100 Mbps * 20 Mbps broadband.)

That’s where the FCC’s updated broadband map come in: Once challenges to the map are concluded, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration will allocate that $37 billion pool according to the “denominator” that the NTIA reads out from the FCC map.

But state and their broadband offices have a trump card: They can and are developing their own maps to check, verify and challenge the FCC map. Furthermore, they are under no obligation to award funds according to the actual places that the FCC says are unserved or underserved.

In the Broadband Mapping Masterclass, you’ll learn what you need to know in order to tap into these efforts by state broadband offices.

ENROLL TODAY  to find out what happens next.

Learn More about Why You Should Participate in the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

Read more about the reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

ENROLL TODAY

 

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