WASHINGTON, March 26, 2020— Representatives of states and municipalities discussed strategies to increase broadband availability and affordability in their regions on a Tuesday webinar hosted by the Schools Health and Library Broadband Coalition and moderated by Pew Charitable Trusts.
Anna Read, officer of the Broadband Research Initiative at Pew, related the key findings of a new report identifying promising practices in state broadband programs.
The report homes in on five promising practices identified within the nine most successful state broadband programs: Funding, stakeholder outreach, good policy framework, planning, and self-evaluation. The report also outlined three universal truths of broadband found in all nine of Pew’s preeminent “pilot states”: executive and legislative leadership, user-centered design, and trusted partners.
Representatives from two of these pilot states, Tennessee and Colorado, related their experience in successfully building out broadband.
Crystal Ivey, broadband director of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, discussed the positive changes brought by the passage of the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act in 2017.
The Act targeted the digital divide in three areas: funding, education and deregulation. Of these three, Ivey stressed education as being the area that has received the most focus. According to her, “less than 50 percent of Tennesseans who already have access to broadband subscribe to a service.”
The TBAA, through 133 grants totaling $440,000, have invested heavily in students’ digital literacy. These classes have taught students how to edit photos, code, and engage in stem among other skills.
Tessa Furguson of the Colorado Broadband Office spoke on Colorado’s progress in bringing broadband to its people. Rural household access to broadband increased from 77 percent to 87 percent and now 100 percent of school districts meet the Federal Communication Commission’s bandwidth per student goal.
Funding has also exploded in Colorado, with the state reporting receiving $23 million in middle mile grants and $27 million granted to 38 projects that benefited 20,000 Coloradoans.
Eileen Harris, director of development at Human-I-T, related how her company has helped weld the digital divide in Los Angeles. Several programs tackle the issue in several dimensions: ConnectHome L.A. has connected residents of public housing, the L.A. College Promise Program has outfitted 4,200 low-income students with a laptop and internet access, and recycling E-waste in the city of Los Angeles through Our Cycle L.A.
Editor’s Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that Teresa Ferguson from the Colorado Broadband Office spoke, not Anthony Neal-Graves.
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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