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Broadband's Impact

Ad Spending in Georgia Runoff, FAA Announces New Drone Rules, COVID Relief Bill’s Broadband Provisions

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Photo of Sen. David Perdue from Wikipedia

In 2016, political ad spending hit $1.1 billion and it is projected to hit $2.7 billion in 2020, according to Advertising Analytics. The majority of those dollars will be spent on digital video ads placed on a variety of websites including Google, YouTube and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, with the hope of swaying voters who remain undecided.

With eight days to go until the Georgia Senate runoff elections and with early voting underway, Democrats have begun closing in on what was previously a pronounced GOP ad spending advantage in the state.

With just over a week left in the contests, ad spending is up to nearly $540 million overall for the consequential elections that will determine which party has control of the Senate.

Republicans lead Democrats in total Georgia ad spending, including reservations since November 10 and through the runoff, by about $281.7 million to $256.6 million.

Democratic candidates have raised money almost entirely through the strength of grassroots donations. Jon Ossoff has spent over $100 million in ads, while Reverend Raphael Warnock is at nearly $90 million, compared to about $53.7 million spent by Senator Kelly Loeffler and $45.7 million for Senator David Perdue, the Republican candidates.

When it comes to spending by outside groups on behalf of the candidates for Senate, Republicans lead Democrats by nearly 3-to-1 — $180.5 million to $63.1 million.

Outside sponsors wasted little time to influence the two crucial contests after incumbent candidates Perdue and Loeffler failed to hit the 50 percent threshold on Election Day, setting up elections against their Democratic challengers, set to take place January 5.

Major outside GOP donors include American Crossroads, the Republican super PAC founded by Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Peachtree PAC, which, despite the name suggesting homegrown roots, is an arm of the Senate Leadership Fund.

American Crossroads has so far spent over $48 million on digital ads promoting the Republican candidates, while the Senate Leadership Fund has spent over $46.8 million and Peachtree PAC has spent over $42.8 million.

Meanwhile, the strength of the Democratic candidates’ fundraising and resulting ad budgets has diminished the GOP outside spending advantage. Warnock and Ossoff each brought in more than $100 million in a two-month period, setting a blistering fundraising pace in their quest to topple two Republican incumbents in Georgia.

FAA outlines new rules for drones, eases restrictions on flying drones at night

The Federal Aviation Administration issued new guidelines on Monday allowing drones to operate at night and over people. The change in rules will likely expand the use of the machines for commercial deliveries.

The new rules will also require remote identification technology so that the machines are identifiable from the ground. The FAA said this standard will address security concerns and make drones easier to track.

“These final rules carefully address safety, security and privacy concerns while advancing opportunities for innovation and utilization of drone technology,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao in a statement.

The changes, once in effect, will amend current policies that previously forbade drone operations over people and at night, unless the FAA granted a waiver.

Industry representatives have largely welcomed the FAA’s new rules. The Consumer Technology Association commended the FAA for releasing the “long-awaited final rules” in a statement, calling it a major milestones as drones become more integrated into national airspace.

“Properly implemented, these rules will enhance safety and security by allowing authorities to identify drones flying in their jurisdictions, while supporting expanded and beneficial uses of drones across the U.S.,” said Doug Johnson, vice president of technology policy at CTA.

The new rules will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register next month.

Free State Foundation recaps COVID relief bill’s broadband funding provisions

In a recent publication, the Free State Foundation’s Andrew Long recapped the broadband funding provisions included in the COVID-19 relief bill, signed by President Donald Trump on Sunday night. The $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and government funding bill includes nearly $7 billion for broadband-related initiatives.

“Areas of focus include an emergency discount on broadband Internet access service for low-income and economically impacted households, funding to “rip and replace” insecure communications network equipment, broadband deployment grants for Tribal lands and unserved areas, additional money for telehealth, and much-needed funds for updated broadband coverage maps,” writes Long.

Long includes a statement by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai applauding “Congress for including a number of provisions that advance critical national priorities in communications policy” and saluting “Congressional leaders for working together in a bipartisan manner to reach agreement on this consequential legislation that will help protect our national security, close the digital divide, advance telehealth, and promote American leadership in 5G.”

FSF has long called for Congress to fund much needed broadband maps. FSF President Randolph May and Long noted in “Congress Should Fund Needed Broadband Maps This Session,” a recent Perspectives piece from FSF Scholars, that the money required to fund mapping efforts, until now, had not been appropriated.

FSF welcomed the legislation providing the Federal Communications Commission with the full $65 million amount requested by Chairman Pai.

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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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