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Infrastructure

Proving Current Speed Threshold As Insufficient A Hurdle For House Bill: Consultant

A House bill raising the minimum connectivity threshold will need to convince lawmakers it is necessary, Steve Perry says.

Benjamin Kahn

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Photo of Perry Bayliss from his firm's website

April 20, 2021—A proposed Democratic House bill, introduced last month that would increase the speed threshold for served communities, will need to sell the idea that the current bar for speed is insufficient, especially as the pandemic has made broadband availability a central issue, according to a government consultant.

The bill would create new categories for federal funding on broadband projects. The new definition of “served,” which was previously categorized as areas with access to speeds of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload, would be updated to bump up the upload speed to 25 Mbps.

Low-tier would be considered areas with between 25/25 Mbps and 100/100 Mbps speeds, and medium-tier would be viewed as 100/100 Mbps to gigabit symmetrical.

Steve Perry of Perry Bayliss, a government relations firm, said at an event hosted by the Fiber Broadband Association last week that there are several key issues with the legislation that he felt would have to be addressed for it to be successful. First, he believed that while he and many other experts are proponents of 100 Mbps symmetrical service, there is still a significant amount of hesitancy on behalf of some policy makers.

Perry is echoing concerns made by Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O’Rielly last month in a debate on the bill. O’Rielly argued that the bill’s threshold parameters would be a tough sell because the upload speed increase would exceed consumer needs. It would also lead to subsidized overbuilding because “most of the nation does not meet the new definition,” O’Rielly argued.

The build would, at its baseline, elevate the minimum upload speed threshold from 3 Mbps to 25 Mbps, making it symmetrical with the download speed.

Perry pointed to a contingent of policy makers that believe 25 Mbps download/three Mbps upload is sufficient. “We have a lot of work to do to overcome this question of whether what we consider to be inferior broadband service is adequate.” He added that this is especially important given the strains added during the pandemic, where everyone is utilizing broadband services more than ever before.

Mapping and overbuilding concerns

Perry also said that the mapping of underserved areas needs to be improved. He said that this has led to many Republicans criticizing the plan, stating that the administration “has put the cart before the horse.” Perry stated that the administration should not move forward on the plan until it has addressed these mapping shortcomings, because otherwise they would be spending money before they even know where the money ought to be allocated to.

A third issue Perry identified was overbuilding. For areas that already have minimal broadband investment, small broadband providers would now potentially be competing with a federally subsidized, municipal service. Perry referred to this as “unleashing investment,” and stated that this is again a sticking point for Republicans, who by and large would leave the development up to private companies.

A number of states currently have restrictions in place to restrict municipal broadband bills. This month, Washington state announced it would be rolling back restrictions on such bills. Meanwhile, some Republican representatives have pushed a proposed anti-municipal network bill in Congress.

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.

Rural

In San Juan, Utah, a Snapshot of a School District’s Struggle to Bring Broadband Home

The fight for broadband infrastructure in one Utah community. Is private enterprise the end goal?

Tim White

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Chris Monson with Wesley Hunt on Abajo Peak tower. Photo courtesy of Monson.

April 20, 2021—A proposed Democratic House bill, introduced last month that would increase the speed threshold for served communities, will need to sell the idea that the current bar for speed is insufficient, especially as the pandemic has made broadband availability a central issue, according to a government consultant.

The bill would create new categories for federal funding on broadband projects. The new definition of “served,” which was previously categorized as areas with access to speeds of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload, would be updated to bump up the upload speed to 25 Mbps.

Low-tier would be considered areas with between 25/25 Mbps and 100/100 Mbps speeds, and medium-tier would be viewed as 100/100 Mbps to gigabit symmetrical.

Steve Perry of Perry Bayliss, a government relations firm, said at an event hosted by the Fiber Broadband Association last week that there are several key issues with the legislation that he felt would have to be addressed for it to be successful. First, he believed that while he and many other experts are proponents of 100 Mbps symmetrical service, there is still a significant amount of hesitancy on behalf of some policy makers.

Perry is echoing concerns made by Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O’Rielly last month in a debate on the bill. O’Rielly argued that the bill’s threshold parameters would be a tough sell because the upload speed increase would exceed consumer needs. It would also lead to subsidized overbuilding because “most of the nation does not meet the new definition,” O’Rielly argued.

The build would, at its baseline, elevate the minimum upload speed threshold from 3 Mbps to 25 Mbps, making it symmetrical with the download speed.

Perry pointed to a contingent of policy makers that believe 25 Mbps download/three Mbps upload is sufficient. “We have a lot of work to do to overcome this question of whether what we consider to be inferior broadband service is adequate.” He added that this is especially important given the strains added during the pandemic, where everyone is utilizing broadband services more than ever before.

Mapping and overbuilding concerns

Perry also said that the mapping of underserved areas needs to be improved. He said that this has led to many Republicans criticizing the plan, stating that the administration “has put the cart before the horse.” Perry stated that the administration should not move forward on the plan until it has addressed these mapping shortcomings, because otherwise they would be spending money before they even know where the money ought to be allocated to.

A third issue Perry identified was overbuilding. For areas that already have minimal broadband investment, small broadband providers would now potentially be competing with a federally subsidized, municipal service. Perry referred to this as “unleashing investment,” and stated that this is again a sticking point for Republicans, who by and large would leave the development up to private companies.

A number of states currently have restrictions in place to restrict municipal broadband bills. This month, Washington state announced it would be rolling back restrictions on such bills. Meanwhile, some Republican representatives have pushed a proposed anti-municipal network bill in Congress.

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Infrastructure

Treasury Announces Summer Deadline For Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund

$10 billion dollars are being made available to communities in need to better connect their communities.

Benjamin Kahn

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on

Photo of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

April 20, 2021—A proposed Democratic House bill, introduced last month that would increase the speed threshold for served communities, will need to sell the idea that the current bar for speed is insufficient, especially as the pandemic has made broadband availability a central issue, according to a government consultant.

The bill would create new categories for federal funding on broadband projects. The new definition of “served,” which was previously categorized as areas with access to speeds of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload, would be updated to bump up the upload speed to 25 Mbps.

Low-tier would be considered areas with between 25/25 Mbps and 100/100 Mbps speeds, and medium-tier would be viewed as 100/100 Mbps to gigabit symmetrical.

Steve Perry of Perry Bayliss, a government relations firm, said at an event hosted by the Fiber Broadband Association last week that there are several key issues with the legislation that he felt would have to be addressed for it to be successful. First, he believed that while he and many other experts are proponents of 100 Mbps symmetrical service, there is still a significant amount of hesitancy on behalf of some policy makers.

Perry is echoing concerns made by Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O’Rielly last month in a debate on the bill. O’Rielly argued that the bill’s threshold parameters would be a tough sell because the upload speed increase would exceed consumer needs. It would also lead to subsidized overbuilding because “most of the nation does not meet the new definition,” O’Rielly argued.

The build would, at its baseline, elevate the minimum upload speed threshold from 3 Mbps to 25 Mbps, making it symmetrical with the download speed.

Perry pointed to a contingent of policy makers that believe 25 Mbps download/three Mbps upload is sufficient. “We have a lot of work to do to overcome this question of whether what we consider to be inferior broadband service is adequate.” He added that this is especially important given the strains added during the pandemic, where everyone is utilizing broadband services more than ever before.

Mapping and overbuilding concerns

Perry also said that the mapping of underserved areas needs to be improved. He said that this has led to many Republicans criticizing the plan, stating that the administration “has put the cart before the horse.” Perry stated that the administration should not move forward on the plan until it has addressed these mapping shortcomings, because otherwise they would be spending money before they even know where the money ought to be allocated to.

A third issue Perry identified was overbuilding. For areas that already have minimal broadband investment, small broadband providers would now potentially be competing with a federally subsidized, municipal service. Perry referred to this as “unleashing investment,” and stated that this is again a sticking point for Republicans, who by and large would leave the development up to private companies.

A number of states currently have restrictions in place to restrict municipal broadband bills. This month, Washington state announced it would be rolling back restrictions on such bills. Meanwhile, some Republican representatives have pushed a proposed anti-municipal network bill in Congress.

Continue Reading

Open Access

Open Access Networks Key To Affordability Question, House Committee Hears

The House Energy and Commerce committee heard arguments that open access to networks is crucial for competition and affordability.

Benjamin Kahn

Published

on

Screenshot of Francella Ochillo from House hearing

April 20, 2021—A proposed Democratic House bill, introduced last month that would increase the speed threshold for served communities, will need to sell the idea that the current bar for speed is insufficient, especially as the pandemic has made broadband availability a central issue, according to a government consultant.

The bill would create new categories for federal funding on broadband projects. The new definition of “served,” which was previously categorized as areas with access to speeds of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload, would be updated to bump up the upload speed to 25 Mbps.

Low-tier would be considered areas with between 25/25 Mbps and 100/100 Mbps speeds, and medium-tier would be viewed as 100/100 Mbps to gigabit symmetrical.

Steve Perry of Perry Bayliss, a government relations firm, said at an event hosted by the Fiber Broadband Association last week that there are several key issues with the legislation that he felt would have to be addressed for it to be successful. First, he believed that while he and many other experts are proponents of 100 Mbps symmetrical service, there is still a significant amount of hesitancy on behalf of some policy makers.

Perry is echoing concerns made by Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O’Rielly last month in a debate on the bill. O’Rielly argued that the bill’s threshold parameters would be a tough sell because the upload speed increase would exceed consumer needs. It would also lead to subsidized overbuilding because “most of the nation does not meet the new definition,” O’Rielly argued.

The build would, at its baseline, elevate the minimum upload speed threshold from 3 Mbps to 25 Mbps, making it symmetrical with the download speed.

Perry pointed to a contingent of policy makers that believe 25 Mbps download/three Mbps upload is sufficient. “We have a lot of work to do to overcome this question of whether what we consider to be inferior broadband service is adequate.” He added that this is especially important given the strains added during the pandemic, where everyone is utilizing broadband services more than ever before.

Mapping and overbuilding concerns

Perry also said that the mapping of underserved areas needs to be improved. He said that this has led to many Republicans criticizing the plan, stating that the administration “has put the cart before the horse.” Perry stated that the administration should not move forward on the plan until it has addressed these mapping shortcomings, because otherwise they would be spending money before they even know where the money ought to be allocated to.

A third issue Perry identified was overbuilding. For areas that already have minimal broadband investment, small broadband providers would now potentially be competing with a federally subsidized, municipal service. Perry referred to this as “unleashing investment,” and stated that this is again a sticking point for Republicans, who by and large would leave the development up to private companies.

A number of states currently have restrictions in place to restrict municipal broadband bills. This month, Washington state announced it would be rolling back restrictions on such bills. Meanwhile, some Republican representatives have pushed a proposed anti-municipal network bill in Congress.

Continue Reading

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