On Thursday, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urging the agency to utilize public input to fix broadband coverage maps.
“The FCC’s maps are still woefully inaccurate, and they are hurting the economy and the people of West Virginia,” said Manchin, adding that the lack of broadband access has been especially harmful to the tourism industry.
The letter included the results of speed tests taken in the city of Cabins, W.V. averaging 0.15 Megabits per second (Mbps) download speed and 0.11 Mbps upload speed.
“These numbers are well below your agency’s definition of broadband and the advertised speed they were given by their provider,” said Manchin, asking the agency to “use this data to validate the information West Virginia’s broadband providers have submitted to the FCC and ensure that they are eligible for any and all relevant broadband grants and other resources.”
Federal Trade Commission finalizes Google-YouTube Children privacy settlement
The Federal Trade Commission has finalized a settlement with Google after the tech giant’s breach of federal data privacy laws for children. The multimillion-dollar settlement, which was supported by the agency’s three Republicans and opposed by its two Democrats, found that YouTube illegally targets children while claiming that its services are not meant for users under the age of 13.
The settlement follows the FTC’s announcement on Wednesday that the agency is inviting public comment on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act in an attempt to update the regulation.
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., was the original author of COPPA in 1998, and has frequently encouraged the agency to update the law for the digital age. “If the Commission is truly serious about protecting young people online, it will enforce existing protections, hold violators accountable no matter how powerful they are, and act as a forceful check against the ever-increasing appetite for children’s data,” he said.
Markey recently introduced the “COPPA 2.0” bill with Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., which would expand protections and enforcement.
Politico details alleged dysfunction at the U.S. Department of Commerce
The Commerce Department under Secretary Wilbur Ross has become increasingly dysfunctional, according to Politico. Ross is reportedly rarely in the building, fails to hold routine meetings, and is avoiding testifying to Congress.
“With our ongoing trade wars and the census looming, Commerce needs functional leadership in order to be effective, and right now they just don’t have it,” said Theo LeCompte, a former department official.
Commerce Press Secretary Kevin Manning fought back against the allegations, calling Ross “a tireless worker who is the sole decision-maker at the department” and adding that he “routinely works 12-hour days and travels often, with visits to seven countries and eight states in the last three months to advance the president’s agenda.
(Photo of Secretary Wilbur Ross by Gage Skidmore, used with permission.)
FCC Challenge Process Important for Getting Accurate Maps, Says Technology Policy Institute
Better and more up-to-date information can come from harmonizing existing data sets, updated whenever a given map has new information.
WASHINGTON, September 19, 2022 – Errors in the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband maps are inevitable, but they can be iteratively mitigated through an ongoing challenge process, said Scott Wallsten, president and senior fellow for the Technology Policy Institute, at the Fiber Broadband Association’s Fiber for Breakfast livestream Wednesday.
The FCC made the preliminary version “fabric” map to state broadband entities and others earlier this year, and the agency will accept challenges thereto on a rolling basis that started on September 12.
The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program’s $42.5 billion will be distributed among the states based on the fabric’s data.
Wallsten’s joined Fiber for Breakfast to discuss a recently-published column, which identified three obstacles to the creation of accurate broadband maps in accordance with Congress’s statutory directions.
First, Wallsten argues, mapping efforts are out of date almost immediately because broadband infrastructure is constantly being built.
Second, he says that the immense amount of data needed for building-by-building broadband mapping ensures that errors will be committed.
Third, Wallsten writes, “Because money follows the maps, they are inherently political.” Wallsten said states have an incentive to overreport underserved areas to obtain more funding. FBA President and CEO Gary Bolton rejoined that such overreporting will likely be balanced by challenges from internet service providers, who have an incentive to overreport served areas to protect their existing service areas.
Wallsten says a collaborative, iterative process – like the FCC’s challenge process – is key: “Better and more up-to-date information can come from harmonizing existing data sets about internet access, updated whenever a given map has new information.”
This isn’t Wallsten’s first criticism of Washington’s mapping strategy. At TPI’s Aspen Conference last year, he told Broadband Breakfast that mapping errors led to many avoidable defaults on Rural Digital Opportunity Fund grants.
Utah’s Broadband Maps Are Ready for Federal Funding, Broadband Director Says
‘The efforts that have been done in the past have been a great foundation.’
SALT LAKE CITY, July 13, 2022 – Utah’s work on its own broadband availability maps means it is prepared for billions in federal funds coming from the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, said the state’s broadband director at a Broadband Breakfast Live Online event Wednesday.
“The efforts that have been done in the past have been a great foundation,” said Rebecca Dilg, director of the Utah Broadband Center, the state’s broadband office.
Utah’s decade-old broadband availability maps are updated every six months and Dilg said they provide a foundation for upcoming money from the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, the $42.5-billion initiative from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Utah counties work with the state broadband office to continually update a layer on the map that shows individual addresses, added Kelleigh Cole, director of strategic initiatives at the Utah Education Network, a state research network. This layer allows the broadband office to see whether broadband access extends to specific addresses.
Mapping data, said Dilg, prepares the state broadband office to address “doughnut holes” where urban centers receive high-speed coverage, but surrounding areas do not. The BEAD program requires that unserved residents are served first, but Utah’s broadband office is optimistic that the funds will reach into underserved areas, including cities where antiquated technology, like digital subscriber lines, are primarily used.
The Federal Communications Commission assured that its nationwide broadband coverage maps will be available by the fall. The Broadband Data Collection portal on the FCC website is currently open for internet providers and governments to submit coverage data.
Utah is home to the second largest city in the country fully connected to fiber, West Valley City, which is also the largest U.S. city connected via an open access network.
FCC Opens Broadband Data Collection Program
The data will go toward improved maps, which the FCC chair said will be available by the fall.
WASHINGTON, June 30, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday officially opened its new system to collect broadband service information from over 2500 broadband providers.
The Broadband Data Collection “marks the beginning of [the FCC’s] window to collect location-by-location data from providers that we will use to build the map,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a press release.
Broadband providers will be required to provide availability claims and supporting data. Supporting data will include sections such as “propagation modeling information” and “link budget information.” The deadline to submit is September 1.
Rosenworcel said the agency has established consistent parameters that require broadband providers to submit data using geocoded locations that will “allow [the FCC] to create a highly precise picture of fixed broadband deployment, unlike previous data collections, which focused on census blocks, giving us inaccurate, incomplete maps.”
With this information, the FCC will build a common dataset of locations in the United States where fixed broadband service can be installed, called the “fabric.” Rosenworcel said that this fabric will serve as a “foundation upon which all fixed broadband availability data will be reported and overlaid in our new broadband availability maps.”
Following the completion of the maps, government entities and internet service providers will be given a challenge window where availability claims may be challenged based on submitted data.
Rosenworcel previously said that the improved broadband maps will be available by the fall.
States expect to be busy fact-checking these claims as they are released, said panelists at Broadband Breakfast Live Online Event Wednesday. States will be involved in individual challenging processes and will be expected to provide information on availability through individual speed testing.
States want to get these maps right because they serve as a broadband investment decision making tool, said Bill Price, vice president of government solutions for LightBox, a data platform that is helping states build broadband maps. That means many states are committed to obtaining accurate local coverage data to utilize federal and state funding.
Wednesday, June 29, 2022, 12 Noon ET –Broadband Mapping and Data
Now that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Notice of Funding Opportunity has been released, attention turns to a core activity that must take place before broadband infrastructure funds are distributed: The Federal Communications Commission’s updated broadband maps. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, as implemented by the NTIA’s Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, these address-level maps from the FCC will determine the allocation of funds among states and serve as a key source of truth. Our panelists will also consider the role of state-level maps, the NTIA challenge process and other topics. Join Broadband Breakfast as we return to one of the subjects that we know best: Broadband data and mapping.
- Bill Price, Vice President, Government Solutions, LightBox
- Dustin Loup, Program Manager, Marconi Society’s National Broadband Mapping Coalition
- Ryan Guthrie, Vice President of Solutions Engineering at ATS
- Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast
- Broadband Breakfast on April 20, 2022 — Broadband Mapping and Data: In-Home Connections
- Broadband Breakfast on February 2, 2022 — Groundhog Day Special on Broadband Mapping
- Broadband Breakfast on December 22, 2021 — When Will the Broadband Maps Get Fixed?
- Ask Me Anything! with Lai Yi Ohlsen and Dustin Loup on June 17, 2022
Bill Price, Vice President of Government Solutions, is responsible for LightBox broadband data and mapping solutions for government. Bill has more than 40 years in telecommunications and technology services development and operations. His track record includes delivering the Georgia statewide location level broadband map, the first fiber metropolitan area network in the U.S., and launching BellSouth’s internet service. LightBox combines proven, leading GIS and big data technology to transform how decisions are made in broadband infrastructure planning and investment.
Dustin Loup is an expert on internet governance and policy and program manager for the Marconi Society’s National Broadband Mapping Coalition. Much of his work centers on improving digital inclusion and establishing transparent, open-source, and openly verifiable mapping methodologies and standards.
Ryan Guthrie is VP of Solutions Engineering at Advanced Technologies & Services. He started with ATS in 2006 and has been involved in all aspects of the business from sales and marketing through solution design and implementation. Ryan also manages regulatory solutions for ATS and has been deeply involved with the federally funded broadband projects by assisting ISPs with their performance measures testing compliance.
Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he served as head of a State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.
As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.
- Starlink Should Prevail in RDOF Challenge, Says Tech Think Tank
- ECF Awards of $96 Million, Minority Communities, Charter and Digital Education
- Wireless Internet Service Providers to Connect More Fiber Points as Bandwidth Consumption Increases
- Garland McCoy: How Your State Can Defend Its Broadband Maps for Maximum Funds
- High Demand for Middle Mile Grants, Local Concerns in FCC Process, Musk Agrees to Buy Twitter Again
- Paul Atkinson: Why Fiber Trumps Satellite When Bridging the Digital Divide
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Broadband Roundup4 weeks ago
AT&T Sues T-Mobile Over Ad, Nokia Partners with Ready, LightPath Expanding
#broadbandlive4 days ago
Broadband Breakfast on October 5, 2022 – How to Reform the Universal Service Fund
Broadband Mapping & Data3 weeks ago
Broadband Mapping Masterclass on September 27, 2022
Broadband Mapping & Data4 weeks ago
FCC’s Fabric Challenge Process Important Part of Getting Map Right, Agency Says
WISP3 weeks ago
Wisper Internet CEO Takes Issue With Federal Government Preference for Fiber
Big Tech4 weeks ago
A White House Event, Biden Administration Seeks Regulation of Big Tech
Funding4 weeks ago
NTIA Middle Mile Director Stresses Need for Infrastructure to Withstand Climate Events
Fiber1 week ago
Public–Private Partnership Model ‘Most Effective Way’ to Address Digital Divide: AT&T Rep