BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Rep. Anna Eshoo on Thursday introduced three separate measures designed to expedite broadband access. The Conduit Deployment Act and the CLIMB Once Act are common-sense measures that enjoy strong support from many players in the industry, at least at a general level. The Community Broadband Act is also a common-sense measure to remove roadblocks, although incumbents frequently oppose public sector involvement in broadband projects.
In addition to these three measures, Eshoo has also sponsored Accelerating Wireless Broadband Development by Empowering Local Communities Act of 2019, H.R. 530, which would overturn Federal Communications Commission regulations limiting the ability of local governments to regulate the deployment of 5G wireless infrastructure. The legislation has the support of more than 125 local governments and 130 public utilities in 47 states.
Eshoo Reintroduces Three Bills to Expand Broadband Access, from Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif.:
Today, Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo reintroduced three bills during Infrastructure Week to expand access to broadband.
“Broadband access is an integral part of today’s modern infrastructure and it is as essential to our economy as the roads and bridges that connect us,” Eshoo said. “These three bills will cut down on the time and cost of deploying new broadband infrastructure and empower communities to advance broadband deployment and expansion.”
The three bills reintroduced by Rep. Eshoo are:
- The Broadband Conduit Deployment Act, commonly ‘dig once,’ is bicameral, bipartisan legislation that mandates the inclusion of conduit—plastic pipes which house fiberoptic cables—during road construction receiving federal funding.
- The Community Broadband Act is bicameral legislation that removes roadblocks for public-private partnerships and locally-owned broadband systems.
- The Clearing Local Impediments Makes Broadband Open to New Competition and Enhancements (CLIMB ONCE) Act helps local communities streamline the pole attachment process to make the deployment of broadband faster, cheaper, and more competitive.
Rep. Eshoo is a longtime advocate for broadband access for all Americans. Her legislative efforts provide commonsense solutions to expand access to high-quality broadband and empower local communities to deploy cost-effective solutions that work best for their own communities.
(Photo of Rep. Anna Eshoo, speaking at the Broadband Breakfast Club on January 15, 2013.)
Sunne McPeak: Achieving True Digital Equity Requires Strong Leadership and Sincere Collaboration
Collaboration between community leaders will be essential in ensuring success of the Biden infrastructure bill in California.
This week, President Joe Biden signed the infrastructure bill, which includes $65 billion for expanding broadband deployment and access for all Americans.
The national plan is described as the most significant infrastructure upgrade in the three decades since the Cold War. “This is an opportunity to create an Eisenhower national highway system for the information age,” says a former White House National Security Council senior director.
For California – the nation’s largest state – it means a minimum $100 million for broadband infrastructure that is designed to expand high-speed internet access for at least 545,000 residents, particularly in unserved and underserved communities, according to the White House. The federal funding will support California’s $6 billion broadband infrastructure plan.
Closing the digital divide and achieving true digital equity requires strong leadership and sincere collaboration among public agencies, internet service providers and civic leaders to seize this unique opportunity to achieve strategic priorities in education, telehealth, transportation and economic development. The 2021 USC-CETF Statewide Survey on Broadband Adoption highlighted that a significant number of Californians will be left behind because they are unable to access the internet and other digital functionality needed for vital activities.
Now, the question is how to ensure the public’s funds will be used as effectively and efficiently as possible. California must implement a thoughtful, aggressive strategy that will maximize immediate impact and optimize return on investment. Separately, for several years, CETF has been calling for broadband deployment as a green strategy for sustainability; that urgency only grows in the wake of the COP26 climate meetings. As leaders begin to make historic investments, they should embrace these key principles for action:
- Prioritize and drive infrastructure construction to the hardest-to-reach residents — rural unserved areas, tribal lands, and poor urban neighborhoods — and then connect all locations, especially anchor institutions (schools, libraries and health care facilities), along the path of deployment.
- Require open-access fiber middle-mile infrastructure with end-user internet speeds sufficient to support distance learning and telehealth.
- Strive to achieve ubiquitous deployment in each region to avoid cherry picking for more lucrative areas.
- Encourage coordination among local governments and regional agencies to streamline permitting and achieve economies of scale.
- Develop an open competitive process to achieve the most cost-effective investment of new dollars by optimizing use of existing infrastructure that ratepayers and taxpayers already have built.
To learn more, please contact Sunne Wright McPeak at email@example.com
Sunne Wright McPeak is President and CEO of California Emerging Technology Fund, a statewide non-profit foundation with 15 years of experience addressing broadband issues to close the Digital Divide in California. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.
Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to firstname.lastname@example.org. The views reflected in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.
Bigger Investment Needed for Next Generation 9-1-1 Services, Experts Say
Former head of NTIA said it could cost $12 billion.
WASHINGTON, November 15, 2021–– Experts at a Federal Communications Bar Association event earlier this month said the current funding allocation for next-generation 911 services is inadequate.
Currently, under the Joe Biden administration’s Build Back Better Act, the new 911 services – which will allow people to share videos, images and texts with 911 call centers – is allocated $500 million.
“It’s not enough to fully fund 911,” David Redl, CEO of consulting group Salt Point Strategies, said on the FCBA’s “What Comes Next in 911” panel on November 4. Redl was formerly the head of the Commerce Department’s telecom agency National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Redl said the number could be “about 12 billion.” For Redl, the challenge is to address the funding gap for NG911 “when there’s skepticism in Washington and the [Federal Communications Commission and] when states have different ideas about the best way to allocate funding and best technology to use.”
Dan Henry, director of government affairs at the National Emergency Number Association, agreed.
While Henry said he’s excited about the national-level interoperability tools for call centers that will allow the ability to transfer emergency calls across states with the call’s incident file intact, the failure to get sufficient funding for NG911 puts health and safety at risk. “We’re not near what we need to get [NG911] across the finish line,” he said.
The technology to deploy NG911 is ready, added Chandy Ghosh, chief operating officer and general manager of emergency services at communications company Inteliquent. “It’s not a tech issue,” she said. Wireless clients have been testing NG911 with successful results.
Stakeholders need to communicate with government
Chris Moore, principal at consulting firm Brooks Bawden Moore, said a federal investment is required to deploy NG911. He suggested that industry stakeholders should convene to tell government what they need.
“For now we’ll get what we get, we’re going to continue to push for more funding, but it’s not going to be this round,” he said.
On October 26, the National Association of State 911 Administrators Association asked the FCC to initiate a rulemaking to assist with the implementation of NG911 by clarifying the agency’s authority to regulate the delivery of 911 services through internet protocol-based emergency networks and shift cost-bearing to service providers.
Another $700 Million for 26 States Through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund
Over 400,000 locations across the U.S. will get broadband in this funding wave.
WASHINGTON, November 12, 2021 – The Federal Communications Commission announced Wednesday that it will authorize $709,060,159 for 26 states through its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.
These are disbursements of the $9.2 billion that were announced in round one of the RDOF reverse auction that took place in the fall of 2020.
The rural fund supports new broadband deployment efforts for 50 broadband providers in 400,000 locations across the U.S. Much of the funding will go to nonprofit rural electric cooperatives to deploy broadband in their service areas.
But others awarded funding under the auction have already defaulted on coverage that they said they would provide as part of their winning bids.
The 26 states ready to receive Wednesday’s funding include Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said that the announcement “highlights the agency’s commitment to supporting even more opportunities to connect hundreds of thousands of Americans to high-speed, reliable broadband service while doing our due diligence to ensure the applicants can deliver to these unserved communities as promised.”
The Commission’s announcement comes after the FCC launched the second round of its COVID-19 Telehealth Program on Tuesday, granting $42.5 million for health care providers. This telehealth program and exceeds the FCC’s $150 million goal by reaching $166.13 million for telehealth funding.
These funding programs provide reimbursements for telecommunication and information services and connected devices the providers have purchased to continue their telehealth services. The Commission also announced $421 million on Monday to keep over 10 million students connected across the U.S. as part of the Emergency Connectivity Fund.
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- Broadband Breakfast on December 15, 2021 — Public-Private Partnerships and Broadband Deployment
- Broadband Breakfast on December 8, 2021 — Implementation of the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act
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