May 12, 2021—Vermont joined the ranks of states that have passed bills within the last year geared at improving the deficiencies in broadband service that have been made more obvious by the pandemic.
Vermont’s State Senate approved H360, a House bill designed to provide $100 million to coordinate and deploy improved broadband services across the state.
Though the bill has already passed in the House, the Senate made amendments to expand funding to private broadband providers, meaning the Senate will need to undergo a second vote (which is expected to pass) before the legislation can return to the House to be voted on again. If the bill successfully passes the House and no amendments are made, then the bill will make its way to Gov. Phil Scott’s office, where he could sign it into law.
According to the White House’s infrastructure report card, more than 12 percent of households in Vermont do not have a broadband subscription, and 66 percent are in regions where there is only a single broadband provider.
The bill would divert both federal and state funds to finance both private and municipal efforts (referred to as Communications Union Districts, in Vermont) to deploy fiber-optic services to un(der)served areas in the state.
California bills would aid telecoms in passive infrastructure access
California senate bill 556 and assembly bill 537 are a pair of bills that, if passed, would significantly deregulate the telecom industry in California, and represent a win for the industry.
The bill would forbid local governments and municipal utilities from “unreasonable” denial of leasing or licensing of street light poles or traffic signal poles for use in broadband infrastructure.
Opponents of this bill see it as anti-competitive and a blow to municipal broadband. In the bill’s current state, local governments and municipal utility companies could only refuse leasing/licensing on the grounds of safety, reliability, or engineering concerns.
The bill would require local governments to expedite their consideration and application processes for colocation and siting for broadband infrastructure, such as antennas.
Both bills cruised through their respective communities with bipartisan support and little opposition. Both bills are expected to be put to a vote in the state senate and assembly soon.
DoT to work with AT&T to modernize networks
AT&T has been awarded a multimillion-dollar contract to modernize both the U.S. Department of Transportation’s physical and digital infrastructure over the next several years.
Fierce Telecom reported on Tuesday that the company picked up the 12-year “enterprise infrastructure Services award” for $175 million. They will be responsible for proving the department with everything from security services and virtual private networks to voice over internet protocol services and cloud access.
In part, these services will be a part of a broader effort to encourage telework for the tens of thousands of people employed by the department.
Cisco slated to acquire Sedona Systems
On Tuesday, Cisco’s vice president of product management Kevin Wollenweber announced that Cisco would acquire Israeli startup Sedona Systems and its Sedona NetFusion platform.
Wollenweber explained that this move would allow communication service providers to manage all their networks—whether they are across vendors, domains, or different technologies—as a single network.
“We have one simple goal in our network automation strategy – simplification,” Wollenweber said. “Now, CSPs can gain real-time, dynamic, and seamless control of IP and optical multi-vendor networks together. They can quickly move from clunky, manual operations across siloed teams and technologies to a completely automated and assured network that’s easily managed through a single pane of glass.”
Though the specifics of the deal are not yet known, Israeli financial website Calcalist estimated that the deal to be around $100 million, according to the Times of Israel.
AT&T’s Opens Learning Center in Dallas, Parallel Wireless Expands, AT&T 5G Experiment for National Defense
AT&T’s opens first learning center with free broadband, open RAN company Parallel Wireless expands, AT&T testing 5G for maritime use.
September 16, 2021—AT&T said Thursday it is opening its first learning center in Dallas, Texas, which it hopes will help bridge the digital divide by providing free access to the internet, computers and educational resources.
Dallas is the first in more than 20 AT&T Connected Learning Centers across the country that it plans to open in, which will include Los Angeles, Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Miami, and San Francisco, the company said in a press release Thursday.
The telecom has committed to plowing $2 billion over three years to expand its AT&T Connected Learning program, which it announced in April and is an effort to bridge the digital device by promoting broadband affordability, accessibility and adoption.
“The stakes for closing the digital divide are incredibly high, and it is imperative that we remove barriers to opportunity for children and families,” said Jeff McElfresh, chief executive officer of AT&T Communications. “Education plays a vital role in the long-term success of our society, and we are committed to investing in the educational and connectivity needs of underserved communities, while also expanding access to low-cost broadband services.”
Open RAN company Parallel Wireless expands
Open radio access network company Parallel Wireless is expanding its research and development centers and company headquarters in the United States to develop its 4G and 5G software, said a press release Thursday.
“Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) across the globe are quickly adopting Open RAN networks to deliver cost-effective, easily scalable, wireless broadband connectivity,” the release said. “Parallel Wireless is at the forefront of the telecom revolution driving All G – 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G, Open RAN wireless networks into the future.”
The benefits of open RAN, which allows for a broader market of radio equipment versus relying on proprietary products, has been touted by the Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel for its supposed low cost and security benefits. The FCC held an open RAN showcase in July.
Dish Network is testing technologies for its 5G broadband network, which will use open RAN equipment.
AT&T experimenting with 5G for national defense
In a press release on Thursday, AT&T said that it has come to an agreement with the Naval Postgraduate School to explore and develop 5G for maritime use for national defense, homeland security, and certain industries like shipping and oil and gas.
The three-year research agreement will feature AT&T’s 5G networking capabilities that is intended to hone the ubiquitous connectivity inherent in the next-generation network to create a network that would improve logistics and data analytics.
“The collaboration between the Naval Postgraduate School and AT&T will help us explore better, faster means of collecting, disseminating, and analyzing data at the tactical edge, which is vital to maintaining and exploiting battlespace awareness,” Mike Galbraith, the Navy Department’s chief digital and innovation officer, said in the press release. Experiments conducted under the NPS-AT&T CRADA are expected to complement other DON efforts to apply 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enterprise and tactical uses.”
Connectivity Bill Introduced, OneWeb Halfway to LEO Launches, USTelecom Announces New VP
Democrats intro device subsidy bill, OneWeb half way to launch goal, Trevor Jones is USTelecom VP of gov. affairs.
WASHINGTON, September 15, 2021—In a move lauded by broadband equity advocates, Democrat congressmen introduced the “Device Access for Every American Act” to help low-income broadband consumers.
On Tuesday, congressmen Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Virginia, and Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Georgia, introduced the bill as part of similar efforts to improve consumer accessibility.
The legislation would allot $1 billion every year for five years to a program that would give Americans a $400 voucher to purchase a device to access the internet—whether that is a tablet, PC, laptop, etc.—and could get up to $800 over the course of every four-year period that the program is in place.
“Without a computer or tablet, low-income consumers across the country can’t connect despite Congress’ significant investments in deploying affordable broadband across the nation,” Public Knowledge senior policy analyst Jenna Leventoff said.
“However, the unfortunate reality is that most low-income consumers, including many senior citizens, can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars for a computer or tablet. Across the country, more than 11 percent of households don’t have a computer,” she added.
Leventoff pointed to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center that found that 37 percent of schoolchildren in economically disadvantaged households do their coursework from a cellphone and a quarter of them have been unable to do coursework due to a lack of a computer at home.
“This bill will ensure that low-income consumers can connect not only now, but into the future. We applaud Sen. Warnock and Rep. McEachin for their tireless leadership in working to ensure that those most in need are able to get connected,” Leventoff added.
Leventoff noted that she is hopeful that the bill would be added as part of the reconciliation package.
OneWeb’s network of satellites is halfway to completion
On Tuesday, OneWeb launched an additional 34 low-earth orbit satellites, bringing their total to up to 322 out of their projected 648 estimate.
Launch service provider Arianespace was responsible for getting the satellites into orbit. In a press release, Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël touted this as an achievement for the entire sector. “This launch illustrates the recent acceleration in space operation.”
During Satellite 2021’s opening keynote, executive chair of OneWeb Sunil Mittal committed to starting OneWeb’s commercial operations in the northern hemisphere over the next couple of months.
This all follows OneWeb’s 2020 bankruptcy filling and subsequent delays that resulted from the ensuing rescue of the company.
Trevor Jones named VP of Government Affairs for USTelecom
Trevor Jones, former legislative assistant to Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, has been named vice-president of government affairs for USTelecom.
A graduate of Willamette University, Jones has worked with USTelecom since 2019. Jones is an expert in broadband, telecom, and internet policy.
Dish Using IBM AI for 5G Network, ConnectMaine’s New Grants, Intuit Buys Mailchimp, STL Hires Former Ericsson Exec
Dish is partnering with IBM for 5G, ConnectMaine’s community broadband grants, Intuit to buy Mailchimp, STL hires Paolo Colella.
September 14, 2021 – Dish Network has selected IBM’s artificial intelligence technology to automate its 5G network, it said in a Tuesday press release.
The smart network is said to implement the custom software from the makers of Watson that Dish said will help reduce its costs and create new revenue streams for the company.
Dish has been making several moves to expand its wireless offering, under its Boost Mobile moniker. Earlier this month, the company announced that it is buying prepaid and low-cost mobile carrier Gen Mobile. In the summer of last year, it purchased Ting Mobile.
On Wednesday, the Denver-based company asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to use 600 MHz band licenses to test its 5G network in Las Vegas and Denver. Earlier this year, the company said it was accepting sign-ups for its 5G network.
ConnectMaine announced new community broadband grants
Maine has announced Monday new startup grants to build community broadband and has provided guidelines for eligibility on its website.
“Funded projects are intended to get communities ready to pursue future opportunities for broadband expansion, by committing to firm milestones to expand broadband in a way that reflects the community’s vision and goals,” the webpage reads.
The funded activities for broadband expansion should include the local broadband needs and goals, an inventory of existing infrastructure assets, gap analysis for why infrastructure is needed, cost estimates, and a strategy to promote digital inclusion, the webpage said.
Intuit to buy Mailchimp for $12 billion
The maker of tax software Intuit is set to buy email marketing company Mailchimp for $12 billion, the purchasing company said in a Monday press release.
The release said that Mailchimp will help bring Intuit technology scale and global customer reach.
Mailchimp has a global reach of 13 million users, 2.4 million monthly active users, and 800,000 paid customers, the release said.
STL appoints former Ericsson executive to advisory council
More leadership changes are being made at STL, as the company announced Tuesday that it is bringing former Ericsson executive Paolo Colella to its advisory board.
Colella has more than a 25 years of experience in telecommunications, technology and professional services and has held senior executive positions throughout that time. Sweden’s Ericsson is a leading supplier of 5G and mobile wireless equipment to global telecommunications companies.
The company, which focuses on integrating digital networks, earlier this month announced the appointment of Paul Atkinson, who will run the optical networking business.
- TPRC Conference to Discuss Definition of Section 230, Broadband, Spectrum and China
- Repealing Section 230 Would be Harmful to the Internet As We Know It, Experts Agree
- Amy Klobuchar Reiterates Need for Funding Agencies to Handle Big Tech
- Technology Policy Institute Introduces Data Index to Help Identify Connectivity-Deprived Areas
- AT&T’s Opens Learning Center in Dallas, Parallel Wireless Expands, AT&T 5G Experiment for National Defense
- Topic 2 at Digital Infrastructure Investment 2021: Last Mile Digital Infrastructure
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