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WISPA Responds To Claims Wireless Providers Have Not Demonstrated Gigabit Capabilities

Benjamin Kahn

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Photocollage of Larry Thompson of VantagePoint and Fred Goldstein of WISPA by Broadband Breakfast

March 3, 2021—Vantage Point Solutions is questioning whether wireless providers can deliver on their contractual obligations following the announcement of $9 billion in federal award for the first phase of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

The concerns, outlined by CEO Larry Thompson in a white paper, relate to the winners’ ability to meet the build requirements.

Since the winners were announced in December, some have claimed that the reverse auction process – which rewards those who can build with the least amount of federal money — has allowed unqualified bidders to win projects they can’t complete in the first place.

The allegation has spawned an array of contretemps in the broadband community. In response, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association has publicly lobbied  the FCC on behalf of WISPA members.

Fred Goldstein, who serves as a technical consultant to WISPA and penned the technical statement that was attached to the document, argued that many of Thompson’s technical assertions were inaccurate.

Hear both sides of the debate at “Broadband Breakfast Live Online on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 — Design, Product and Execution: 3 Essential Steps for Every RDOF Award Winner.” You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

As part of the RDOF process, the FCC divided prospective bidders into performance tiers, ranging from the “minimum” tier of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload speed, up to the “gigabit” tier delivering speeds at 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) download and 500 Mbps upload. The 1000 Mbps download speeds of the gigabit tier should theoretically be 40 times faster than the 25/3 minimum tier.

Vantage Point says wireless providers cannot maintain claimed speeds

Thompson’s primary contention is that consumers should be able to simultaneously utilize 1 Gbps download and 500 Mbps upload—a feat he asserts many wireless providers have not demonstrated can be reliably achieved. This is due to the ever-increasing number of connected devices consumers use on a daily basis.

“You’re not going to be able to sit and coordinate which [devices] are downloading and which ones are uploading at any given time—those things happen simultaneously,” Thompson stated. “I believe the FCC’s intention was that when they say that we have a broadband pipe of one [Gbps] down and 500 [Mbps] up—that means you should be able to do those simultaneously.”

Thompson insisted that he is not shifting the goal posts. As he understood the FCC’s requirements, simultaneous 1 Gbps/500 Mbps was always the goal. “It seems to me to be common sense,” Thompson said.

If he were ordering symmetrical service from a broadband provider, the expectation would not be that he would have to wait for a download to complete before he could begin uploading.

Another new group also complaining about wireless entrants

A new organization known as Ensuring RDOF Integrity Coalition, or ERIC, has now appeared and claims to share Vantage Point’s concerns.

Out the top 10 RDOF contract recipients, four are believed to have plans to use fixed wireless technology to deliver their services to consumers; LTD Broadband, Nextlink, Resound Networks, and Starry represent the first, sixth, eighth, and ninth largest recipients, respectively.

Additionally, SpaceX was the fourth largest recipient, and plans to deliver its services via a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites. Even though the technology is in its infancy, SpaceX received more than $885 million out of the total $9.2 billion allocated for RDOF.

As reported by Telecompetitor, ERIC would see that “interested stakeholders” have an opportunity to go over sensitive and proprietary data collected regarding RDOF recipients and the status of the services they provide.

WISPA claims fiber zealots are ‘sowing fear, uncertainty, and doubt’

In an interview with Broadband Breakfast, Fred Goldstein dismissed the concerns raised by Vantage Point and others. He said they were sowing fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

“They did this by making some incorrect technical assumptions and incorrect assumptions about the way people use the internet traffic levels and a lot of other details,” he added. “They basically put together something that if you really don’t know all that much, it sounds credible.”

Goldstein said wireless providers must live up to their promised broadband speeds. “If they’re offering gigabit service,” he said, “they are committed to it and there are penalties and clawbacks if they do not deliver.”

Goldstein said wireless providers were required to thoroughly explain exactly how they intended to deliver the speeds advertised. If Vantage Point has an issue with the explanations of the FCC or any particular wireless provider, they should have raised these concerns prior to the conclusion of the first phase.

WISPA says gigabit speeds may be overvalued

While Goldstein disagreed with many of the technical evaluations made by Vantage Point, his primary issue rests in the interpretation of RDOF guidelines.

For example, where Thompson believed that 1 Gbps/500 Mbps speeds must be achievable simultaneously, Goldstein states that while gigabit download speeds are the goal, it is not necessary for every consumer to be able to access gigabit speeds all the time.

“In reality, the average subscriber is running about 3 Mbps,” Goldstein said. He explained that there are diminishing returns once a consumer starts to reach speeds above 25 megabits per second. “It’s nice to have 100 megabits—it’s nicer to have 500 megabits or a gigabit—but it’s very rare you actually get to use it.”

“So nice, but I think people overemphasize the value of the gigabit, even as we are prepared to deliver it,” Goldstein stated. “We know how much we need—we can burst it at a gigabit, but the average is the average—it applies to their fiber, and it applies to our wireless—and everybody does it that way when you buy the backbone.”

But Thompson said that while WISPA is very focused on the backbone component of the service, Vantage Point is more concerned with the user experience and the wireless service on the customers’ end.

As a child of American parents working abroad, Reporter Ben Kahn was raised as a third culture kid, growing up in five different countries, including the U.S.. He is a recent graduate of the University of Baltimore, where he majored in Policy, Politics, and International Affairs. He enjoys learning about foreign languages and cultures and can now speak poorly in more than one language.

Expert Opinion

Carri Bennet: Biden’s Broadband Plan is Key to Spurring Rural Economic Development, Jobs and Manufacturing

The American Jobs Plan, President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, includes $100 billion to ensure broadband availability to every single American at affordable rates. This means building more broadband in rural areas.

Broadband Breakfast Staff

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The author of this Expert Opinion is Carri Bennet of the law firm of Womble Bond Dickinson

March 3, 2021—Vantage Point Solutions is questioning whether wireless providers can deliver on their contractual obligations following the announcement of $9 billion in federal award for the first phase of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

The concerns, outlined by CEO Larry Thompson in a white paper, relate to the winners’ ability to meet the build requirements.

Since the winners were announced in December, some have claimed that the reverse auction process – which rewards those who can build with the least amount of federal money — has allowed unqualified bidders to win projects they can’t complete in the first place.

The allegation has spawned an array of contretemps in the broadband community. In response, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association has publicly lobbied  the FCC on behalf of WISPA members.

Fred Goldstein, who serves as a technical consultant to WISPA and penned the technical statement that was attached to the document, argued that many of Thompson’s technical assertions were inaccurate.

Hear both sides of the debate at “Broadband Breakfast Live Online on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 — Design, Product and Execution: 3 Essential Steps for Every RDOF Award Winner.” You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

As part of the RDOF process, the FCC divided prospective bidders into performance tiers, ranging from the “minimum” tier of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload speed, up to the “gigabit” tier delivering speeds at 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) download and 500 Mbps upload. The 1000 Mbps download speeds of the gigabit tier should theoretically be 40 times faster than the 25/3 minimum tier.

Vantage Point says wireless providers cannot maintain claimed speeds

Thompson’s primary contention is that consumers should be able to simultaneously utilize 1 Gbps download and 500 Mbps upload—a feat he asserts many wireless providers have not demonstrated can be reliably achieved. This is due to the ever-increasing number of connected devices consumers use on a daily basis.

“You’re not going to be able to sit and coordinate which [devices] are downloading and which ones are uploading at any given time—those things happen simultaneously,” Thompson stated. “I believe the FCC’s intention was that when they say that we have a broadband pipe of one [Gbps] down and 500 [Mbps] up—that means you should be able to do those simultaneously.”

Thompson insisted that he is not shifting the goal posts. As he understood the FCC’s requirements, simultaneous 1 Gbps/500 Mbps was always the goal. “It seems to me to be common sense,” Thompson said.

If he were ordering symmetrical service from a broadband provider, the expectation would not be that he would have to wait for a download to complete before he could begin uploading.

Another new group also complaining about wireless entrants

A new organization known as Ensuring RDOF Integrity Coalition, or ERIC, has now appeared and claims to share Vantage Point’s concerns.

Out the top 10 RDOF contract recipients, four are believed to have plans to use fixed wireless technology to deliver their services to consumers; LTD Broadband, Nextlink, Resound Networks, and Starry represent the first, sixth, eighth, and ninth largest recipients, respectively.

Additionally, SpaceX was the fourth largest recipient, and plans to deliver its services via a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites. Even though the technology is in its infancy, SpaceX received more than $885 million out of the total $9.2 billion allocated for RDOF.

As reported by Telecompetitor, ERIC would see that “interested stakeholders” have an opportunity to go over sensitive and proprietary data collected regarding RDOF recipients and the status of the services they provide.

WISPA claims fiber zealots are ‘sowing fear, uncertainty, and doubt’

In an interview with Broadband Breakfast, Fred Goldstein dismissed the concerns raised by Vantage Point and others. He said they were sowing fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

“They did this by making some incorrect technical assumptions and incorrect assumptions about the way people use the internet traffic levels and a lot of other details,” he added. “They basically put together something that if you really don’t know all that much, it sounds credible.”

Goldstein said wireless providers must live up to their promised broadband speeds. “If they’re offering gigabit service,” he said, “they are committed to it and there are penalties and clawbacks if they do not deliver.”

Goldstein said wireless providers were required to thoroughly explain exactly how they intended to deliver the speeds advertised. If Vantage Point has an issue with the explanations of the FCC or any particular wireless provider, they should have raised these concerns prior to the conclusion of the first phase.

WISPA says gigabit speeds may be overvalued

While Goldstein disagreed with many of the technical evaluations made by Vantage Point, his primary issue rests in the interpretation of RDOF guidelines.

For example, where Thompson believed that 1 Gbps/500 Mbps speeds must be achievable simultaneously, Goldstein states that while gigabit download speeds are the goal, it is not necessary for every consumer to be able to access gigabit speeds all the time.

“In reality, the average subscriber is running about 3 Mbps,” Goldstein said. He explained that there are diminishing returns once a consumer starts to reach speeds above 25 megabits per second. “It’s nice to have 100 megabits—it’s nicer to have 500 megabits or a gigabit—but it’s very rare you actually get to use it.”

“So nice, but I think people overemphasize the value of the gigabit, even as we are prepared to deliver it,” Goldstein stated. “We know how much we need—we can burst it at a gigabit, but the average is the average—it applies to their fiber, and it applies to our wireless—and everybody does it that way when you buy the backbone.”

But Thompson said that while WISPA is very focused on the backbone component of the service, Vantage Point is more concerned with the user experience and the wireless service on the customers’ end.

Continue Reading

Rural

Accurate Maps Required To Estimate Cost Of Connecting Rural America, Experts Say

Experts say it’s difficult to get an understanding of cost for connecting rural regions without quality maps.

Benjamin Kahn

Published

on

Screenshot of David Scott from the House agriculture meeting

March 3, 2021—Vantage Point Solutions is questioning whether wireless providers can deliver on their contractual obligations following the announcement of $9 billion in federal award for the first phase of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

The concerns, outlined by CEO Larry Thompson in a white paper, relate to the winners’ ability to meet the build requirements.

Since the winners were announced in December, some have claimed that the reverse auction process – which rewards those who can build with the least amount of federal money — has allowed unqualified bidders to win projects they can’t complete in the first place.

The allegation has spawned an array of contretemps in the broadband community. In response, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association has publicly lobbied  the FCC on behalf of WISPA members.

Fred Goldstein, who serves as a technical consultant to WISPA and penned the technical statement that was attached to the document, argued that many of Thompson’s technical assertions were inaccurate.

Hear both sides of the debate at “Broadband Breakfast Live Online on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 — Design, Product and Execution: 3 Essential Steps for Every RDOF Award Winner.” You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

As part of the RDOF process, the FCC divided prospective bidders into performance tiers, ranging from the “minimum” tier of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload speed, up to the “gigabit” tier delivering speeds at 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) download and 500 Mbps upload. The 1000 Mbps download speeds of the gigabit tier should theoretically be 40 times faster than the 25/3 minimum tier.

Vantage Point says wireless providers cannot maintain claimed speeds

Thompson’s primary contention is that consumers should be able to simultaneously utilize 1 Gbps download and 500 Mbps upload—a feat he asserts many wireless providers have not demonstrated can be reliably achieved. This is due to the ever-increasing number of connected devices consumers use on a daily basis.

“You’re not going to be able to sit and coordinate which [devices] are downloading and which ones are uploading at any given time—those things happen simultaneously,” Thompson stated. “I believe the FCC’s intention was that when they say that we have a broadband pipe of one [Gbps] down and 500 [Mbps] up—that means you should be able to do those simultaneously.”

Thompson insisted that he is not shifting the goal posts. As he understood the FCC’s requirements, simultaneous 1 Gbps/500 Mbps was always the goal. “It seems to me to be common sense,” Thompson said.

If he were ordering symmetrical service from a broadband provider, the expectation would not be that he would have to wait for a download to complete before he could begin uploading.

Another new group also complaining about wireless entrants

A new organization known as Ensuring RDOF Integrity Coalition, or ERIC, has now appeared and claims to share Vantage Point’s concerns.

Out the top 10 RDOF contract recipients, four are believed to have plans to use fixed wireless technology to deliver their services to consumers; LTD Broadband, Nextlink, Resound Networks, and Starry represent the first, sixth, eighth, and ninth largest recipients, respectively.

Additionally, SpaceX was the fourth largest recipient, and plans to deliver its services via a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites. Even though the technology is in its infancy, SpaceX received more than $885 million out of the total $9.2 billion allocated for RDOF.

As reported by Telecompetitor, ERIC would see that “interested stakeholders” have an opportunity to go over sensitive and proprietary data collected regarding RDOF recipients and the status of the services they provide.

WISPA claims fiber zealots are ‘sowing fear, uncertainty, and doubt’

In an interview with Broadband Breakfast, Fred Goldstein dismissed the concerns raised by Vantage Point and others. He said they were sowing fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

“They did this by making some incorrect technical assumptions and incorrect assumptions about the way people use the internet traffic levels and a lot of other details,” he added. “They basically put together something that if you really don’t know all that much, it sounds credible.”

Goldstein said wireless providers must live up to their promised broadband speeds. “If they’re offering gigabit service,” he said, “they are committed to it and there are penalties and clawbacks if they do not deliver.”

Goldstein said wireless providers were required to thoroughly explain exactly how they intended to deliver the speeds advertised. If Vantage Point has an issue with the explanations of the FCC or any particular wireless provider, they should have raised these concerns prior to the conclusion of the first phase.

WISPA says gigabit speeds may be overvalued

While Goldstein disagreed with many of the technical evaluations made by Vantage Point, his primary issue rests in the interpretation of RDOF guidelines.

For example, where Thompson believed that 1 Gbps/500 Mbps speeds must be achievable simultaneously, Goldstein states that while gigabit download speeds are the goal, it is not necessary for every consumer to be able to access gigabit speeds all the time.

“In reality, the average subscriber is running about 3 Mbps,” Goldstein said. He explained that there are diminishing returns once a consumer starts to reach speeds above 25 megabits per second. “It’s nice to have 100 megabits—it’s nicer to have 500 megabits or a gigabit—but it’s very rare you actually get to use it.”

“So nice, but I think people overemphasize the value of the gigabit, even as we are prepared to deliver it,” Goldstein stated. “We know how much we need—we can burst it at a gigabit, but the average is the average—it applies to their fiber, and it applies to our wireless—and everybody does it that way when you buy the backbone.”

But Thompson said that while WISPA is very focused on the backbone component of the service, Vantage Point is more concerned with the user experience and the wireless service on the customers’ end.

Continue Reading

Universal Service

Experts Concerned About Connectivity After Emergency Broadband Benefit Fund Runs Dry

Derek Shumway

Published

on

Screenshot taken from CCA event

March 3, 2021—Vantage Point Solutions is questioning whether wireless providers can deliver on their contractual obligations following the announcement of $9 billion in federal award for the first phase of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

The concerns, outlined by CEO Larry Thompson in a white paper, relate to the winners’ ability to meet the build requirements.

Since the winners were announced in December, some have claimed that the reverse auction process – which rewards those who can build with the least amount of federal money — has allowed unqualified bidders to win projects they can’t complete in the first place.

The allegation has spawned an array of contretemps in the broadband community. In response, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association has publicly lobbied  the FCC on behalf of WISPA members.

Fred Goldstein, who serves as a technical consultant to WISPA and penned the technical statement that was attached to the document, argued that many of Thompson’s technical assertions were inaccurate.

Hear both sides of the debate at “Broadband Breakfast Live Online on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 — Design, Product and Execution: 3 Essential Steps for Every RDOF Award Winner.” You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

As part of the RDOF process, the FCC divided prospective bidders into performance tiers, ranging from the “minimum” tier of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload speed, up to the “gigabit” tier delivering speeds at 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) download and 500 Mbps upload. The 1000 Mbps download speeds of the gigabit tier should theoretically be 40 times faster than the 25/3 minimum tier.

Vantage Point says wireless providers cannot maintain claimed speeds

Thompson’s primary contention is that consumers should be able to simultaneously utilize 1 Gbps download and 500 Mbps upload—a feat he asserts many wireless providers have not demonstrated can be reliably achieved. This is due to the ever-increasing number of connected devices consumers use on a daily basis.

“You’re not going to be able to sit and coordinate which [devices] are downloading and which ones are uploading at any given time—those things happen simultaneously,” Thompson stated. “I believe the FCC’s intention was that when they say that we have a broadband pipe of one [Gbps] down and 500 [Mbps] up—that means you should be able to do those simultaneously.”

Thompson insisted that he is not shifting the goal posts. As he understood the FCC’s requirements, simultaneous 1 Gbps/500 Mbps was always the goal. “It seems to me to be common sense,” Thompson said.

If he were ordering symmetrical service from a broadband provider, the expectation would not be that he would have to wait for a download to complete before he could begin uploading.

Another new group also complaining about wireless entrants

A new organization known as Ensuring RDOF Integrity Coalition, or ERIC, has now appeared and claims to share Vantage Point’s concerns.

Out the top 10 RDOF contract recipients, four are believed to have plans to use fixed wireless technology to deliver their services to consumers; LTD Broadband, Nextlink, Resound Networks, and Starry represent the first, sixth, eighth, and ninth largest recipients, respectively.

Additionally, SpaceX was the fourth largest recipient, and plans to deliver its services via a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites. Even though the technology is in its infancy, SpaceX received more than $885 million out of the total $9.2 billion allocated for RDOF.

As reported by Telecompetitor, ERIC would see that “interested stakeholders” have an opportunity to go over sensitive and proprietary data collected regarding RDOF recipients and the status of the services they provide.

WISPA claims fiber zealots are ‘sowing fear, uncertainty, and doubt’

In an interview with Broadband Breakfast, Fred Goldstein dismissed the concerns raised by Vantage Point and others. He said they were sowing fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

“They did this by making some incorrect technical assumptions and incorrect assumptions about the way people use the internet traffic levels and a lot of other details,” he added. “They basically put together something that if you really don’t know all that much, it sounds credible.”

Goldstein said wireless providers must live up to their promised broadband speeds. “If they’re offering gigabit service,” he said, “they are committed to it and there are penalties and clawbacks if they do not deliver.”

Goldstein said wireless providers were required to thoroughly explain exactly how they intended to deliver the speeds advertised. If Vantage Point has an issue with the explanations of the FCC or any particular wireless provider, they should have raised these concerns prior to the conclusion of the first phase.

WISPA says gigabit speeds may be overvalued

While Goldstein disagreed with many of the technical evaluations made by Vantage Point, his primary issue rests in the interpretation of RDOF guidelines.

For example, where Thompson believed that 1 Gbps/500 Mbps speeds must be achievable simultaneously, Goldstein states that while gigabit download speeds are the goal, it is not necessary for every consumer to be able to access gigabit speeds all the time.

“In reality, the average subscriber is running about 3 Mbps,” Goldstein said. He explained that there are diminishing returns once a consumer starts to reach speeds above 25 megabits per second. “It’s nice to have 100 megabits—it’s nicer to have 500 megabits or a gigabit—but it’s very rare you actually get to use it.”

“So nice, but I think people overemphasize the value of the gigabit, even as we are prepared to deliver it,” Goldstein stated. “We know how much we need—we can burst it at a gigabit, but the average is the average—it applies to their fiber, and it applies to our wireless—and everybody does it that way when you buy the backbone.”

But Thompson said that while WISPA is very focused on the backbone component of the service, Vantage Point is more concerned with the user experience and the wireless service on the customers’ end.

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