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Ajit Pai Discusses 5G in Geopolitical Context, TIA on 5G Supply Chain, Benton Institute’s Vision for 2020s

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Screenshot of Ajit Pai on Fox News on November 5, 2019

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai calls for more spectrum and fiber

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said that the US is “poised” to seize 5G opportunities at the Council of Foreign Relations Tuesday, the agency reports. Despite the benefits that 5G will provide, Pai said in his remarks, such as more spectrum and the increased deployment of fiber, network security remains a challenge.

Huawei, he said, threatens the integrity of the communications supply chain. The recent influence that the Chinese government has exerted on tech companies such as Apple and Blizzard, for example, could raise a broader concern about US security and open the door to potential espionage.

That’s why it’s imperative, Pai continued, that the government makes sure the equipment going into 5G networks is from trusted vendors and that existing wireless networks are secured. Moreover, he added, the US needs to remind its allies that decisions impacting 5G security need to be made with the long term in mind.

“America’s current leadership in 5G, and our support of virtualized networks of the future, demonstrate that the choice between 5G development and security is a false one—now and going forward,” Pai said.

Telecommunications Industry Association wights in on ‘supply chain’ issues in 5G

A reliable telecommunications network is critical for both 5G wireless service and national security, Telecommunications Industry Association’s David Stehlin writes. As the benefits of 5G’s applications increase, so will opportunities for malicious actors to attack deployed networks to disrupt critical economic and transportation infrastructure.

Equipment manufactured by foreign adversaries, Stehlin continues, is one of the biggest threats to network integrity, as vendors could be obligated by their governments to aid in espionage or other hostile acts. The Federal Communications Commission as well as Congress and the White House are all actively working to push 5G supply chain security legislation, he said.

But government regulations, Stehlin added, will never be able to reach the level of detail needed to ensure a completely safe supply chain while leaving room for innovation and growth.

That’s why clear-driven industry standards are needed to verify the integrity of the Information and Communications Technology supply chain and challenge companies to continually innovate and improve their supply chain processes, said Stehlin. These standards can provide both government and consumers the assurance that the U.S. vast telecommunications network is reliable and secure.

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society releases ‘A Vision for the 2020s’

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society released last week the report, “Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s”, says Next Century Cities. Written by Benton Senior Fellow Jonathan Sallet, the report offers an account of the policy landscape while conveying a sense of urgency for broadband infrastructure to be a national priority.

The report’s main takeaways focus on the continuation of broadband deployment where adequate connectivity does not exist, and to ensure that the service is affordable and easy to adopt. Competition among providers as well as the role of schools, libraries and other anchor institutions, is key to facilitating ubiquitous broadband access.

Broadband plan in Rains County, Texas

The Rains County, Texas Broadband Committee is partnering with Connected Nation Texas to increase high-speed internet access in the area, Connected Nation reports.

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, said he is committed to closing the staggering gaps of coverage impacting many rural Texans.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to partner with Connected Nation to help expand wireless broadband capabilities for people in Rains County through targeted, localized efforts and community engagement,” he said.

The Broadband Committee will use CN Texas’ Connected Community Engagement Program to collect surveys, analyze the data, and develop structured and community-specific plan for Rains County.

“Once we get input from those living and working in Rains County, our committee can more effectively develop a plan of action,” said Rains County Court Judge Wayne Wolfe, “It will help ensure we have the most accurate, up-to-date information.”

Broadband Roundup

AT&T’s Opens Learning Center in Dallas, Parallel Wireless Expands, AT&T 5G Experiment for National Defense

AT&T’s opens first learning center with free broadband, open RAN company Parallel Wireless expands, AT&T testing 5G for maritime use.

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Jeff McElfresh, CEO of AT&T Communications

September 16, 2021—AT&T said Thursday it is opening its first learning center in Dallas, Texas, which it hopes will help bridge the digital divide by providing free access to the internet, computers and educational resources.

Dallas is the first in more than 20 AT&T Connected Learning Centers across the country that it plans to open in, which will include Los Angeles, Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Miami, and San Francisco, the company said in a press release Thursday.

The telecom has committed to plowing $2 billion over three years to expand its AT&T Connected Learning program, which it announced in April and is an effort to bridge the digital device by promoting broadband affordability, accessibility and adoption.

“The stakes for closing the digital divide are incredibly high, and it is imperative that we remove barriers to opportunity for children and families,” said Jeff McElfresh, chief executive officer of AT&T Communications. “Education plays a vital role in the long-term success of our society, and we are committed to investing in the educational and connectivity needs of underserved communities, while also expanding access to low-cost broadband services.”

Open RAN company Parallel Wireless expands

Open radio access network company Parallel Wireless is expanding its research and development centers and company headquarters in the United States to develop its 4G and 5G software, said a press release Thursday.

“Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) across the globe are quickly adopting Open RAN networks to deliver cost-effective, easily scalable, wireless broadband connectivity,” the release said. “Parallel Wireless is at the forefront of the telecom revolution driving All G – 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G, Open RAN wireless networks into the future.”

The benefits of open RAN, which allows for a broader market of radio equipment versus relying on proprietary products, has been touted by the Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel for its supposed low cost and security benefits. The FCC held an open RAN showcase in July.

Dish Network is testing technologies for its 5G broadband network, which will use open RAN equipment.

AT&T experimenting with 5G for national defense

In a press release on Thursday, AT&T said that it has come to an agreement with the Naval Postgraduate School to explore and develop 5G for maritime use for national defense, homeland security, and certain industries like shipping and oil and gas.

The three-year research agreement will feature AT&T’s 5G networking capabilities that is intended to hone the ubiquitous connectivity inherent in the next-generation network to create a network that would improve logistics and data analytics.

“The collaboration between the Naval Postgraduate School and AT&T will help us explore better, faster means of collecting, disseminating, and analyzing data at the tactical edge, which is vital to maintaining and exploiting battlespace awareness,” Mike Galbraith, the Navy Department’s chief digital and innovation officer, said in the press release. Experiments conducted under the NPS-AT&T CRADA are expected to complement other DON efforts to apply 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enterprise and tactical uses.”

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Broadband Roundup

Connectivity Bill Introduced, OneWeb Halfway to LEO Launches, USTelecom Announces New VP

Democrats intro device subsidy bill, OneWeb half way to launch goal, Trevor Jones is USTelecom VP of gov. affairs.

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Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia

WASHINGTON, September 15, 2021—In a move lauded by broadband equity advocates, Democrat congressmen introduced the “Device Access for Every American Act” to help low-income broadband consumers.

On Tuesday, congressmen Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Virginia, and Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia, introduced the bill as part of similar efforts to improve consumer accessibility.

The legislation would allot $1 billion every year for five years to a program that would give Americans a $400 voucher to purchase a device to access the internet—whether that is a tablet, PC, laptop, etc.—and could get up to $800 over the course of every four-year period that the program is in place.

“Without a computer or tablet, low-income consumers across the country can’t connect despite Congress’ significant investments in deploying affordable broadband across the nation,” Public Knowledge senior policy analyst Jenna Leventoff said.

“However, the unfortunate reality is that most low-income consumers, including many senior citizens, can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars for a computer or tablet. Across the country, more than 11 percent of households don’t have a computer,” she added.

Leventoff pointed to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center that found that 37 percent of schoolchildren in economically disadvantaged households do their coursework from a cellphone and a quarter of them have been unable to do coursework due to a lack of a computer at home.

“This bill will ensure that low-income consumers can connect not only now, but into the future. We applaud Sen. Warnock and Rep. McEachin for their tireless leadership in working to ensure that those most in need are able to get connected,” Leventoff added.

Leventoff noted that she is hopeful that the bill would be added as part of the reconciliation package.

OneWeb’s network of satellites is halfway to completion

On Tuesday, OneWeb launched an additional 34 low-earth orbit satellites, bringing their total to up to 322 out of their projected 648 estimate.

Launch service provider Arianespace was responsible for getting the satellites into orbit. In a press release, Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël touted this as an achievement for the entire sector. “This launch illustrates the recent acceleration in space operation.”

During Satellite 2021’s opening keynote, executive chair of OneWeb Sunil Mittal committed to starting OneWeb’s commercial operations in the northern hemisphere over the next couple of months.

This all follows OneWeb’s 2020 bankruptcy filling and subsequent delays that resulted from the ensuing rescue of the company.

Trevor Jones named VP of Government Affairs for USTelecom

Trevor Jones, former legislative assistant to Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, has been named vice-president of government affairs for USTelecom.

A graduate of Willamette University, Jones has worked with USTelecom since 2019. Jones is an expert in broadband, telecom, and internet policy.

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Broadband Roundup

Dish Using IBM AI for 5G Network, ConnectMaine’s New Grants, Intuit Buys Mailchimp, STL Hires Former Ericsson Exec

Dish is partnering with IBM for 5G, ConnectMaine’s community broadband grants, Intuit to buy Mailchimp, STL hires Paolo Colella.

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Former Ericsson executive Paolo Colella now on STL advisory board

September 14, 2021 – Dish Network has selected IBM’s artificial intelligence technology to automate its 5G network, it said in a Tuesday press release.

The smart network is said to implement the custom software from the makers of Watson that Dish said will help reduce its costs and create new revenue streams for the company.

Dish has been making several moves to expand its wireless offering, under its Boost Mobile moniker. Earlier this month, the company announced that it is buying prepaid and low-cost mobile carrier Gen Mobile. In the summer of last year, it purchased Ting Mobile.

On Wednesday, the Denver-based company asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to use 600 MHz band licenses to test its 5G network in Las Vegas and Denver. Earlier this year, the company said it was accepting sign-ups for its 5G network.

ConnectMaine announced new community broadband grants

Maine has announced Monday new startup grants to build community broadband and has provided guidelines for eligibility on its website.

“Funded projects are intended to get communities ready to pursue future opportunities for broadband expansion, by committing to firm milestones to expand broadband in a way that reflects the community’s vision and goals,” the webpage reads.

The funded activities for broadband expansion should include the local broadband needs and goals, an inventory of existing infrastructure assets, gap analysis for why infrastructure is needed, cost estimates, and a strategy to promote digital inclusion, the webpage said.

Intuit to buy Mailchimp for $12 billion

The maker of tax software Intuit is set to buy email marketing company Mailchimp for $12 billion, the purchasing company said in a Monday press release.

The release said that Mailchimp will help bring Intuit technology scale and global customer reach.

Mailchimp has a global reach of 13 million users, 2.4 million monthly active users, and 800,000 paid customers, the release said.

STL appoints former Ericsson executive to advisory council

More leadership changes are being made at STL, as the company announced Tuesday that it is bringing former Ericsson executive Paolo Colella to its advisory board.

Colella has more than a 25 years of experience in telecommunications, technology and professional services and has held senior executive positions throughout that time. Sweden’s Ericsson is a leading supplier of 5G and mobile wireless equipment to global telecommunications companies.

The company, which focuses on integrating digital networks, earlier this month announced the appointment of Paul Atkinson, who will run the optical networking business.

STL is a sponsor of Broadband Breakfast.

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