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Broadband Mapping & Data

In One of Last Acts as FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai Tries to Fix Broadband Maps

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Photo of Ajit Pai at the FCC Chairman's Dinner in December 2019 by Drew Clark

January 20, 2021 – In one of his last official acts before departing the Federal Communications Commission and stepping down as its chairman on Wednesday, Ajit Pai on Tuesday secured a unanimous vote from the agency for new rules implementing the Digital Opportunity Data Collection.

The new rules, which will apparently finalize the new broadband mapping rules for the agency, are meant to improve data collection and broadband deployment information for the FCC’s work to close the digital divide.

In a press release, the agency said it was seeking to clarify rules governing fixed and mobile broadband internet access service providers in reporting their availability and coverage data.

Additionally, speed and latency information for fixed technologies are also required to be reported and whether broadband services are offered to residential or business customers. “The Commission’s top priority is to make sure that every American has high-speed Internet access . . . we need to know exactly where broadband is and isn’t available,” Pai said in a statement.

The FCC order allows providers to address issues with fixed and mobile data map coverage. Mobile providers will need to submit a heat map showing signal levels from each active cell site for each fixed wireless, 5G or LTE propagation map.

Mapping broadband in the U.S. has been a significant challenge. Many people are unaware of broadband in general, and national funding towards mapping and understanding it lags behind other demanding budget allocations. The FCC also moved to exclude schools, libraries, and healthcare providers from the new data collection rules, blocking information about community anchor institution connectivity.

This upset the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition, which said, “while the SHLB Coalition firmly supports the need to improve our nation’s flawed broadband maps, we are disheartened by the FCC’s decision to exclude schools, healthcare providers, and other anchor institutions from this mapping effort,” said the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition.

“The Commission has lost sight of the bigger picture imperative to map the full scope of broadband availability across the U.S.”

Additionally, American broadband mapping resources are scattered and disorganized. The National Broadband Plan of 2010 called for all anchor institutions to have gigabit broadband capacity by the year 2020.

And the National Broadband Map once offered everyday consumers and internet users to see fiber, cable, DSL, and wireless service provider areas but has become stale data as federal funding for it ended in 2015.

Awaiting federal actions, states have taken broadband mapping into own hands

Despite challenges with federal funding and attention to broadband issues, states like California have taken the matter into their own hands.

For example, in 2010, California lawmakers established the California Broadband Council. It was created to help state agencies improve broadband access to residents. The California Emerging Technology Fund, a quasi-governmental nonprofit founded in 2005, is an active member of the council. The fund initially received $60 million that funded grants to improve digital literacy, educate local leaders, and support technology adoption in communities across the state.

In August 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order No. 73-20, tasking state agencies to communicate with private sector companies to understand and predict current and future demand for broadband. The pressure to follow through on it comes from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

The order demonstrates California’s desire to “better allocate resources and manage policies and programs” supporting broadband development. It also directed the CBC to create a new State Broadband Action Plan that must be reviewed annually.

The California order also set a minimum broadband speed goal of 100 Megabits per second (bps download speed for state agencies within Newsom’s control, with a purpose to guide infrastructure investments that would benefit residents.

That same month, the California Department of Education announced a special discounted service by T-Mobile and “special pricing” from Apple on its iPad + cellular devices, made available on top of its education volume pricing.

Broadband Mapping

Broadband Breakfast Panelists Pitch Solutions for Finer Broadband Mapping Data

Experts argue for significant changes in order for broadband mapping efforts to be successful.

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Screenshot from Broadband Breakfast event on July 7th.

January 20, 2021 – In one of his last official acts before departing the Federal Communications Commission and stepping down as its chairman on Wednesday, Ajit Pai on Tuesday secured a unanimous vote from the agency for new rules implementing the Digital Opportunity Data Collection.

The new rules, which will apparently finalize the new broadband mapping rules for the agency, are meant to improve data collection and broadband deployment information for the FCC’s work to close the digital divide.

In a press release, the agency said it was seeking to clarify rules governing fixed and mobile broadband internet access service providers in reporting their availability and coverage data.

Additionally, speed and latency information for fixed technologies are also required to be reported and whether broadband services are offered to residential or business customers. “The Commission’s top priority is to make sure that every American has high-speed Internet access . . . we need to know exactly where broadband is and isn’t available,” Pai said in a statement.

The FCC order allows providers to address issues with fixed and mobile data map coverage. Mobile providers will need to submit a heat map showing signal levels from each active cell site for each fixed wireless, 5G or LTE propagation map.

Mapping broadband in the U.S. has been a significant challenge. Many people are unaware of broadband in general, and national funding towards mapping and understanding it lags behind other demanding budget allocations. The FCC also moved to exclude schools, libraries, and healthcare providers from the new data collection rules, blocking information about community anchor institution connectivity.

This upset the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition, which said, “while the SHLB Coalition firmly supports the need to improve our nation’s flawed broadband maps, we are disheartened by the FCC’s decision to exclude schools, healthcare providers, and other anchor institutions from this mapping effort,” said the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition.

“The Commission has lost sight of the bigger picture imperative to map the full scope of broadband availability across the U.S.”

Additionally, American broadband mapping resources are scattered and disorganized. The National Broadband Plan of 2010 called for all anchor institutions to have gigabit broadband capacity by the year 2020.

And the National Broadband Map once offered everyday consumers and internet users to see fiber, cable, DSL, and wireless service provider areas but has become stale data as federal funding for it ended in 2015.

Awaiting federal actions, states have taken broadband mapping into own hands

Despite challenges with federal funding and attention to broadband issues, states like California have taken the matter into their own hands.

For example, in 2010, California lawmakers established the California Broadband Council. It was created to help state agencies improve broadband access to residents. The California Emerging Technology Fund, a quasi-governmental nonprofit founded in 2005, is an active member of the council. The fund initially received $60 million that funded grants to improve digital literacy, educate local leaders, and support technology adoption in communities across the state.

In August 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order No. 73-20, tasking state agencies to communicate with private sector companies to understand and predict current and future demand for broadband. The pressure to follow through on it comes from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

The order demonstrates California’s desire to “better allocate resources and manage policies and programs” supporting broadband development. It also directed the CBC to create a new State Broadband Action Plan that must be reviewed annually.

The California order also set a minimum broadband speed goal of 100 Megabits per second (bps download speed for state agencies within Newsom’s control, with a purpose to guide infrastructure investments that would benefit residents.

That same month, the California Department of Education announced a special discounted service by T-Mobile and “special pricing” from Apple on its iPad + cellular devices, made available on top of its education volume pricing.

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Broadband Mapping & Data

Broadband Breakfast Interview with John Busby of BroadbandNow About FCC Data Errors

Though the FCC has claimed that broadband figures are improving, BroadbandNow’s data paints a less favorable picture.

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Screenshot from interview with John Busby

January 20, 2021 – In one of his last official acts before departing the Federal Communications Commission and stepping down as its chairman on Wednesday, Ajit Pai on Tuesday secured a unanimous vote from the agency for new rules implementing the Digital Opportunity Data Collection.

The new rules, which will apparently finalize the new broadband mapping rules for the agency, are meant to improve data collection and broadband deployment information for the FCC’s work to close the digital divide.

In a press release, the agency said it was seeking to clarify rules governing fixed and mobile broadband internet access service providers in reporting their availability and coverage data.

Additionally, speed and latency information for fixed technologies are also required to be reported and whether broadband services are offered to residential or business customers. “The Commission’s top priority is to make sure that every American has high-speed Internet access . . . we need to know exactly where broadband is and isn’t available,” Pai said in a statement.

The FCC order allows providers to address issues with fixed and mobile data map coverage. Mobile providers will need to submit a heat map showing signal levels from each active cell site for each fixed wireless, 5G or LTE propagation map.

Mapping broadband in the U.S. has been a significant challenge. Many people are unaware of broadband in general, and national funding towards mapping and understanding it lags behind other demanding budget allocations. The FCC also moved to exclude schools, libraries, and healthcare providers from the new data collection rules, blocking information about community anchor institution connectivity.

This upset the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition, which said, “while the SHLB Coalition firmly supports the need to improve our nation’s flawed broadband maps, we are disheartened by the FCC’s decision to exclude schools, healthcare providers, and other anchor institutions from this mapping effort,” said the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition.

“The Commission has lost sight of the bigger picture imperative to map the full scope of broadband availability across the U.S.”

Additionally, American broadband mapping resources are scattered and disorganized. The National Broadband Plan of 2010 called for all anchor institutions to have gigabit broadband capacity by the year 2020.

And the National Broadband Map once offered everyday consumers and internet users to see fiber, cable, DSL, and wireless service provider areas but has become stale data as federal funding for it ended in 2015.

Awaiting federal actions, states have taken broadband mapping into own hands

Despite challenges with federal funding and attention to broadband issues, states like California have taken the matter into their own hands.

For example, in 2010, California lawmakers established the California Broadband Council. It was created to help state agencies improve broadband access to residents. The California Emerging Technology Fund, a quasi-governmental nonprofit founded in 2005, is an active member of the council. The fund initially received $60 million that funded grants to improve digital literacy, educate local leaders, and support technology adoption in communities across the state.

In August 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order No. 73-20, tasking state agencies to communicate with private sector companies to understand and predict current and future demand for broadband. The pressure to follow through on it comes from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

The order demonstrates California’s desire to “better allocate resources and manage policies and programs” supporting broadband development. It also directed the CBC to create a new State Broadband Action Plan that must be reviewed annually.

The California order also set a minimum broadband speed goal of 100 Megabits per second (bps download speed for state agencies within Newsom’s control, with a purpose to guide infrastructure investments that would benefit residents.

That same month, the California Department of Education announced a special discounted service by T-Mobile and “special pricing” from Apple on its iPad + cellular devices, made available on top of its education volume pricing.

Continue Reading

Broadband Mapping

Washington State’s Russ Elliot Touts Mapping to the Doorstep as Key to Success

Washington State’s head of broadband says mapping to the premises paying dividends in the state.

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on

Photo of Russ Elliot

January 20, 2021 – In one of his last official acts before departing the Federal Communications Commission and stepping down as its chairman on Wednesday, Ajit Pai on Tuesday secured a unanimous vote from the agency for new rules implementing the Digital Opportunity Data Collection.

The new rules, which will apparently finalize the new broadband mapping rules for the agency, are meant to improve data collection and broadband deployment information for the FCC’s work to close the digital divide.

In a press release, the agency said it was seeking to clarify rules governing fixed and mobile broadband internet access service providers in reporting their availability and coverage data.

Additionally, speed and latency information for fixed technologies are also required to be reported and whether broadband services are offered to residential or business customers. “The Commission’s top priority is to make sure that every American has high-speed Internet access . . . we need to know exactly where broadband is and isn’t available,” Pai said in a statement.

The FCC order allows providers to address issues with fixed and mobile data map coverage. Mobile providers will need to submit a heat map showing signal levels from each active cell site for each fixed wireless, 5G or LTE propagation map.

Mapping broadband in the U.S. has been a significant challenge. Many people are unaware of broadband in general, and national funding towards mapping and understanding it lags behind other demanding budget allocations. The FCC also moved to exclude schools, libraries, and healthcare providers from the new data collection rules, blocking information about community anchor institution connectivity.

This upset the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition, which said, “while the SHLB Coalition firmly supports the need to improve our nation’s flawed broadband maps, we are disheartened by the FCC’s decision to exclude schools, healthcare providers, and other anchor institutions from this mapping effort,” said the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition.

“The Commission has lost sight of the bigger picture imperative to map the full scope of broadband availability across the U.S.”

Additionally, American broadband mapping resources are scattered and disorganized. The National Broadband Plan of 2010 called for all anchor institutions to have gigabit broadband capacity by the year 2020.

And the National Broadband Map once offered everyday consumers and internet users to see fiber, cable, DSL, and wireless service provider areas but has become stale data as federal funding for it ended in 2015.

Awaiting federal actions, states have taken broadband mapping into own hands

Despite challenges with federal funding and attention to broadband issues, states like California have taken the matter into their own hands.

For example, in 2010, California lawmakers established the California Broadband Council. It was created to help state agencies improve broadband access to residents. The California Emerging Technology Fund, a quasi-governmental nonprofit founded in 2005, is an active member of the council. The fund initially received $60 million that funded grants to improve digital literacy, educate local leaders, and support technology adoption in communities across the state.

In August 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order No. 73-20, tasking state agencies to communicate with private sector companies to understand and predict current and future demand for broadband. The pressure to follow through on it comes from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

The order demonstrates California’s desire to “better allocate resources and manage policies and programs” supporting broadband development. It also directed the CBC to create a new State Broadband Action Plan that must be reviewed annually.

The California order also set a minimum broadband speed goal of 100 Megabits per second (bps download speed for state agencies within Newsom’s control, with a purpose to guide infrastructure investments that would benefit residents.

That same month, the California Department of Education announced a special discounted service by T-Mobile and “special pricing” from Apple on its iPad + cellular devices, made available on top of its education volume pricing.

Continue Reading

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