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Year in Review: Key Developments in Digital Infrastructure with Ramifications for Next Year

Broadband Breakfast is kicking off a year-in-review with key developments in digital infrastructure.

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Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo

WASHINGTON, December 28, 2021 – Broadband Breakfast is kicking off its review of developments from this year with what we view as the key developments in the world of digital infrastructure systems.

The past 12 months saw the inauguration of President Joe Biden and the execution of several policy priorities, which lawmakers have spoken about for years.

The year represented a monumental period of funding expansion and government initiative in attempts to strengthen the digital footprint.

The following are five key themes from 2021 that will have repercussions for next year.

Biden’s historic infrastructure bill

Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in the middle of November, which allocated $65 billion for broadband. The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration will oversee the distribution of some $42 billion of that pot to the states.

The bill, which was stalled for months by Democratic Party negotiations over the timeline to pass the legislation in addition to Biden’s social spending reconciliation package, will represent a key mechanism to increase the affordability of high-speed Internet to hard-to-reach communities, in addition to provisions for clean energy and maintenance on physical transportation.

Following years of declared “Infrastructure Weeks” under President Donald Trump’s administration, which never resulted in major legislation to strengthen the nation’s physical and online systems, Biden made infrastructure reform a key priority of his presidency.

Biden’s legislation was called “once in a generation,” and amounts to one of the most expensive infrastructure investments in U.S. history. The Benton Institute for Broadband and Society called it “the largest US investment in broadband deployment ever.”

One key player in the distribution of the funds is former governor of Rhode Island and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who was confirmed by the Senate to head the department in March.

Raimondo takes on a lead role in making sure the bills funds are used effectively and that newly funded projects are rolled out smoothly.

In her statements around the bill’s passage, she has emphasized need for government to work together with the private sector, for the Federal Communications Commission to continue facilitating and increase efforts for granular mapping of broadband availability across the nation so that areas most in need can be properly targeted for projects, and to push for fiber connectivity to ensure best outcomes for consumers.

Another player that could peer into the picture is Alan Davidson, who was nominated by Biden to assume the lead role at the NTIA. He has yet to be approved by the Senate for that position.

The growth of Covid welfare programs

In March, Congress passed Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to provide the U.S. economy with a $1.9 trillion stimulus for COVID-19 pandemic relief.

ARPA was among the largest stimulus plans in U.S. history, which provided grants to state and local governments through its Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.

Several entities used these funds to strengthen broadband infrastructure in their communities, including several across Illinois through the state’s ARPA Accelerator program.

The bill also provided local governments funds that could be used for broadband development through the Capital Projects Fund.

Additionally, ARPA funded the Federal Communications Commission’s $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund to provide tools and services necessary for remote learning to schools and libraries so that they can connect more students in need.

The fund covers reasonable costs of laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers and broadband connectivity purchases.

The program is consistent with the vision of Biden’s pick to head the FCC Jessica Rosenworcel, who was confirmed by the Senate this month.

Rosenworcel has spent her career addressing this issue and is widely recognized as the first to coin the term “homework gap” to describe the challenges disadvantaged students face in completing school assignments due to digital connectivity barriers.

Supply chain woes

By mid 2021, global supply chain issues, which held up supplies and created product shortages, began to mount and push deep into the back half of the year.

The technology and broadband industries were impacted by these conditions, as they did not have the necessary materials to manufacture products and they additionally faced an international workforce shortage.

One critical area of concern is fiber builds. Dean Mischke, vice president of Finley Engineering Company, which builds out telecommunications infrastructure, warned companies that they need to get ahead of supply purchases beyond next year to secure key fiber supplies.

In Vermont, a public-private partnership came together to purchase thousands of miles of fiber cable at a fixed cost from a cooperative, which said it is expected to see its cost rise by 35 percent due to supply chain issues and inflation.

With federal money raining down on the states, these issues will be a focal point for 2022.

As if that wasn’t enough, the tech and wireless world saw critical shortages of semiconductor chips.

In our ever-more online world, any shortage in essential parts for digital devices is going to be a problem. And it’s been a problem for many months. The a bipartisan bill was introduced to combat the shortage back in June 2020.

Commerce Secretary Raimondo said that Biden plans to address the shortage by incentivizing domestic production of chips.

The trade war between the U.S. and China is commonly cited as another cause of the shortage. Just this month, the U.S. Department of Defense restricted exports of critical technology to a leading Chinese semiconductor manufacturer due to its alleged ties to China’s military.

The ongoing issues have contributed to inflationary pricing among commodities such as groceries and gasoline, the prices of which have peaked in recent months.

U.S. gets tough on Chinese telecom

Throughout the year, the U.S. government took several steps to cut ties with Chinese telecom companies it believes to be aligned with the Chinese government.

A recent Washington Post investigation found that large telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies has been more involved with Chinese government surveillance efforts than previously revealed.

The corporation had previously denied involvement and said it only sells general purpose networking gear.

Huawei was a big target for the U.S. government, along with several other equipment manufacturers, including ZTE. And axing Chinese companies from the U.S. market represented one of the only common goals of both the Biden and Donald Trump administrations.

In June, the FCC voted to stop authorizing equipment from manufacturers such as ZTE and Huawei, and in July to rip and replace from U.S. infrastructure that same equipment – a move that cost $1.9 billion.

In October, Congress with near unanimous support passed a bipartisan bill prohibiting the FCC from “reviewing or issuing new equipment licenses to companies on” the list of companies that it considers security threats.

Moreover, at the beginning of this month, the Biden administration announced initiatives with international allies to track and combat surveillance in authoritarian countries such as China.

Followed soon after was the DoD’s restrictions on trade to the Chinese semiconductor industry were announced.

The Biden administration’s action on China finds bipartisan support and continues Trump’s push against the U.S. adversary amid increasing tensions between the rivals, with the former president signing a bill last year that banned federal funds from being used to purchase Huawei equipment.

Huge cyberattacks

Finally, this past year has seen some of the country’s most high-profile cyberattacks, which represents another front for adversarial nations to wage war on the U.S.

Oil pipeline system Colonial Pipeline was hacked, shutting down key fuel systems and causing a headache for the Biden administration when gasoline shortages arose.

So was meat producer JBS USA.

But what’s particularly notable about these hacks isn’t necessarily who was hacked, but the sheer number of similar cyberattacks that took place in the U.S. throughout the year.

A House investigation into the year’s most prominent hacks found that “small lapses” in employee behavior, such as accepting fake browser updates and maintaining a weak password, allowed hackers to access company systems.

Further, the investigators believe the companies’ “lack of clear points of contact with the federal government” hampered response efforts to the attacks.

Since the attacks, cyber security officials have asked Congress to push legislation that would require companies to notify the government about cyber breaches.

Lawmakers remain concerned about the security of the U.S.’ critical infrastructure, saying that the precedent of companies, such as Colonial Pipeline and JBS paying ransoms, incentivizes hackers to carry out future attacks.

Broadband Mapping & Data

Jeremy Jurick and Paul Schneid: Preparing Data for the FCC’s Broadband Filing

The new FCC requirements in the broadband data collection program are important to meet the nation’s connectivity goals.

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The authors of this Expert Opinion are Jeremy Jurick (left) and Paul Schneid of Michael Baker International.

The recent emphasis on the expansion of broadband access across the country, coupled with the requirements of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Broadband Equity and Deployment program, has prompted the Federal Communications Commission to review and update its collection of data. Accurate data pinpointing where broadband service is – and is not – available is critically important. Broadband maps are used by Internet Service Providers and governments to identify locations that need service, as well as how to fund broadband expansion.

The FCC has recently established an important initiative called the Broadband Data Collection Program to ensure the collection of accurate, vital broadband availability data, implementing new requirements. Among other requirements of the BDC, ISPs must submit their serviceable location data and align that data with the FCC’s serviceable location fabric, which will require new methodologies from ISPs, resulting in additional hours spent and more resources allocated to address this upcoming task.

At Michael Baker International, our team is at the forefront of data collection and broadband expansion services. This article provides details on the requirement and filing process for ISPs.

Recognizing the challenges

The BDC filing process may be unfamiliar and challenging to some service providers due to the novelty of the program and the list of requirements it encompasses. Moreover, ISPs may be delayed in the processing and submission of their data, either due to limited resources or bandwidth to support these new tasks and responsibilities or experience to immediately and effectively tackle and complete this complex data collection/submittal process. With the extent of the data expected to be collected and submitted, which involves technical elements and resources, proceeding may seem daunting. Sifting through newly published materials and resources takes away valuable time and issues can arise before or after submittal with incomplete data or the ability to process the data into the appropriate standards, recently specified for fabric comparison by the FCC.

Getting started according to the timeline

To begin the BDC Filing process, ISPs should first become familiar with the timeline, federal regulations and data requirements surrounding the submission period.

Due to be submitted for the first time on September 1, 2022, and semi-annually going forward, specific data must be provided by all facilities-based providers of fixed and mobile broadband internet access who had one or more end user connections in service on June 30, 2022. Each filing will be based on the same schedule as the Form 477 filings (June 30th through September 1st and December 31st through March 1st).

Fulfilling the prerequisites ad the data requirements

As prerequisite to filing data in the BDC portal, the FCC requires ISPs or government entities to first complete the registration process within the FCC’s Commission Registrations System (CORES). Users will be assigned a 10-digit FCC Registration Number that will be used for verification purposes by the FCC.  Additionally, filers are also required by the FCC to show proof that they are indeed an organization that is responsible for tracking broadband coverage.  Each filer must provide documentation from the highest-ranking executive within their company confirming that the organization tracks broadband data.

Each BDC filing must include detailed information about the filer, broadband availability data (including supporting data) and Form 477 broadband subscription data. In addition, specific requirements are mandated for various ISPs:

  • Fixed wireline and satellite broadband service providers: Submit either polygon shapefiles or a list of locations constituting the provider’s service area.
  • Fixed wireless broadband service providers: Submit either propagation maps and propagation model details or a list of locations constituting the provider’s service area.
  • Mobile wireless broadband service providers: Submit propagation maps and propagation model details for each network technology, as well as for both outdoor stationary and in-vehicle mobile network coverage. Additionally, these ISPs must submit data for their signal strength heat map.

Finalizing for submission

Finally, ISPs must gain access to the serviceable location fabric, format the data to requirements for accurate comparison against the fabric and identify the addresses that meet requirements of serviceable areas. When the necessary data has been compiled and reviewed, the filing entity must navigate to the BDC system and submit its data onward to the FCC. The FCC gives the option to file submit data as an upload/web-based file or alternatively submit using an Application Programming Interface.

Partnering with a broadband expert

It is recommended that ISPs looking to both save time and ensure accuracy throughout the submission process partner with broadband experts that will ensure that all BDC requirements are met before submitting any data. Michael Baker International has thoroughly researched the BDC requirements and created a streamlined solution. ISPs simply provide the initial information, and our team then determines the appropriate data to be submitted, along with our translation of that data into the proper format. Once ISPs receive the data, they need only create a login and finally, upload the submission data.

Today, there is increased focus on an existing but growing need to close gaps in the digital divide. The new FCC requirements in the BDC program are an important part of ensuring the nation’s connectivity goals are met by collecting accurate data that will be necessary to provide services where they are most needed.

Jeremy Jurick is Michael Baker’s National Broadband Services Director and oversees Michael Baker International’s broadband planning, mapping and program management initiatives. His broadband experience includes roadmap development, planning, data collection and analysis, stakeholder engagement, broadband provider engagement, branding, multimedia design, GIS services, and software design, and he has provided testimony during several government hearings to inform policymakers on broadband policy and expansion, including advocating for high speed thresholds for the definition of broadband and allowing government entities to be eligible subgrantees for broadband funding.

Paul Schneid is a program manager at Michael Baker with nearly a decade of experience in broadband wireless equipment operation, customer service, and process improvement. Most recently, Schneid interfaced with vendors and clients to manage all implementation project phases from inception to completion across a citywide wireless broadband expansion in New York City. 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 expressed in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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Infrastructure

Panelists Take Issue with Government Preference for Fiber

‘Advertising around gig speeds is doing tremendous damage to our public policy.’

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Screenshot of the panel at the TPI Aspen conference on Tuesday

ASPEN, Colorado, August 16, 2022 – The federal government’s preference for fiber technologies to bridge the digital divide was a point of contention on a conference panel on Tuesday, as panelists urged the public sector to give nascent and wireless technologies an opportunity to develop and show their potential.

The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration has $42.5 billion to deliver to the states for broadband infrastructure from federal infrastructure legislation, and its progenitors have clearly stated that they prefer hard fiber technology. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission denied nearly $900 million in subsidies to SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband project partly because it is still a developing technology.

But on a TPI Aspen conference panel made up of representatives from private industry, trade associations, and academia, the message was to give these technologies a chance.

“Let’s let these nascent technologies develop,” said Lisa Scalpone, head of country development for Amazon’s Project Kuiper, its low-earth orbit constellation institution that is preparing to launch thousands of broadband satellites in the sky.

“There may be things about wireless technology that are actually better in some ways than wireline technology — it may not be speed or capacity…it could be portability…that’s what a low-cost, LEO antenna terminal can do,” she said.

Similarly, Christopher Yoo, a professor of law in communications and computer information science at the University of Pennsylvania, said the nation should be “openly experimental in what we’re doing, because in the 1970s we didn’t see the technology future…the question is can we create an environment where we allow brilliant experiments to take place and we find out what actually works.”

Yoo added that he thinks the “advertising around gig speeds is doing tremendous damage to our public policy.

“It’s become, you have to match it because it’s been advertised that way…and that’s part of the drive towards fiber. In a world where teleconferencing…requires eight to 12 meg per (second), maybe you get 50 in a multi-screen households, but the idea you need a gig is what’s killing the case for fixed-wireless and satellite.”

Those comments are in stark contrast to the push for gigabit speeds by the fiber industry and the private sector. Earlier this summer, AT&T’s vice president of broadband network product management said the company has seen a tremendous growth in gigabit speed demand. Meanwhile, as Congress was debating infrastructure legislation that would eventually spawn the NTIA’s $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, the Fiber Broadband Association pushed the focused on gigabit speeds as it lobbied for a fiber preference over other technologies.

“The policymakers think they know best — one technology is better than all the rest, and I think that’s given away in the slogan: future-proof…we know the future, we the government know what technologies are going to work forever,” Jonathan Adelstein, managing director and head of global policy and public investment at DigitalBridge Investment Management, who in his previous role as head of the Wireless Infrastructure Association was outspoken about the need to support a diversity of technologies to bridge the digital divide.

Adelstein – who’s company invests in major fiber infrastructure provider Zayo and has seen providers grappling with supply chain problems and the build delays that arise from that – said he’s concerned about the focus on one technology when there are bottlenecks in materials and equipment for projects.

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Expert Opinion

Bryan Darr: An Order of Fiber, Please, with Wireless on the Side

Wireless is essential because for truly remote properties, a physical connection may never be practical.

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The author of this Expert Opinion is Bryan Darr, vice president of Smart Communities at Ookla.

Over the next five to ten years we will see an explosion of projects bringing high-speed connectivity to underserved communities in the United States. Although fiber infrastructure rightly gets most of the attention and funding, wireless networks should also be part of this planning process. Wireless networks can deploy faster, serve remote locations more economically, and provide some capabilities that fixed networks can’t. Failure to consider the comprehensive needs of the mobile broadband environment will hobble efforts in the next phase of this technology revolution.

How we got here

As federal broadband infrastructure funding is ramping up, state broadband offices are preparing to prove their need for a larger slice of the pie. This is detailed in the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program, which is a part of the infrastructure bill (the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) passed into law in the fall of 2021. Although every state is guaranteed $100 million, that leaves about $37 billion yet to be divided up.

Assuredly, this pie won’t be sliced into equal portions across states, tribal areas, and U.S. territories. Differences in population, geographic area, household density, and income levels will impact the funding eligibility of individual jurisdictions. Preparedness to verify underserved areas will ensure that state and local governments can maximize their chances of securing adequate funding. The first step is to identify these communities and estimate the cost of covering each household. With a desire to help as many people as possible, there will be a tendency to prioritize areas with the lowest cost per connection.

State governments have been focused primarily on fiber access. However, as big a pot of money as the IIJA may be, it won’t be big enough to connect every household to fiber. Continued supply chain issues, inflation, and labor shortages (particularly with needed expertise) will expand the cost of projects in the coming years.

The race to compete for these billions of dollars has had a very uneven start. Some state broadband offices are fully staffed, have hired consultants, have obtained and collected network performance data, and already have mapping projects launched. Other states are just now funding their broadband offices and beginning to hire their first employees. States that cannot successfully challenge both the mapping fabric (think number of service addresses) and confidently identify unserved households will be disappointed with the size of their slice.

The recipe may require adjustment

Recently, Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel called for the commission to reset its definition of broadband from 25 Mbps download speed and 3 Mbps upload speed to 100 down and 20 up. Many would agree that a reset is long overdue. The IIJA legislation is already requiring that new infrastructure builds meet this criteria. We should all recognize that this metric reset could make millions of additional households eligible for funding. Some policy organizations, including the Fiber Broadband Association, are voicing their opinions that those numbers are already dated and that the new target will not be enough for future needs such as the much-anticipated metaverse.

The specific benefits of wireless

Wireless connectivity can be broken down into three basic types of last-mile providers:

  1. Cellular service providers, offering traditional mobile and new fixed wireless access services
  2. Wireless internet service providers (WISPs), offering fixed point-to-point service
  3. Satellite companies (more on them later)

Wi-Fi is also wireless, but provides a final hop for only the last few feet of a network connection.

Wireless is essential because there is broad recognition that for truly remote properties, a physical connection may never be practical. As subsidies flow, that fact may be applicable to fewer locations, but there is certainly a point of diminishing return. As state and federal officials plan their networks to connect as many communities as they can, they should be factoring in where the wireless networks need bolstering as well. This is applicable for both mobile and WISP infrastructure.

Additional wireless investment could serve multiple needs. Poor wireless coverage is a common complaint even in densely populated areas. If you spend any significant time in rural areas, you know that there are locations where service is so spotty that the local population knows when to not risk initiating a call. Even if you get a signal, throughput can vary greatly. Just because you can receive a text in a particular location doesn’t mean you can download a video. These rural areas have weak wireless signals for the same reason that they lack good terrestrial broadband — the population density does not provide enough return on the investment.

Fiber is still a necessary ingredient

Today’s higher data usage demands the capacity that fiber provides. Mobile service providers are not going to build a new 5G tower without access to fiber backhaul. Sites that require long, dedicated fiber deployments can cost far more and lead to an unreasonable dent in the CapEx budget.

As new middle-mile networks are being designed, network planners should consider where wireless networks are weak and new towers are needed for improvement. Strategically adding splice points in poor service areas can significantly lower the barrier to attracting new wireless infrastructure. A lower cost of deployment will be a big incentive to wireless networks to bring improved service to rural communities.

We all depend on wireless services

Mobile connectivity has moved beyond a luxury and has become an expectation. Even if we could practically and affordably connect every house with fiber, there are many reasons to include wireless in your overall design plans.

  • Public safety – If you have ever had a flat tire or an overheated radiator, you know how important wireless coverage can be. Just try calling a rescue service with no bars. FirstNet wants to improve coverage as well, and incentivising new towers can provide a big assist.
  • Precision agriculture – Fiber-to-the-home can connect the farm house, the barn, and even the chicken houses, but it won’t connect the tractor or the combine. Livestock now wear devices that monitor animal well-being. Wireless is the only way to keep the whole farm connected and competitive in a global marketplace.
  • Healthcare – Devices to monitor blood pressure, heart rate, glucose levels, and more are revolutionizing patient care. Many can now automatically notify a care facility when a patient is in distress. Mobile networks keep these devices connected if the patient’s residence lacks fixed broadband and when they are away from the home.
  • Economic development – Picking the best location for a new factory, business park, or neighborhood is about more than adequate roads and water resources. Good connectivity for both wireless and fixed telecom services has become a standard amenity for site selection.
  • 5G, part 1 – These new networks are quickly overlaying the 4G footprint. You don’t have to experience the lightning speeds of inner city millimeter wave service to see huge improvements in network performance. Wireless carriers are now introducing Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) to directly compete with traditional fixed providers. Competition means pressure in the market to keep services more affordable.
  • 5G, part 2 – Just over the horizon is the Rural 5G Fund, established by the FCC in October 2020. Over $9 billion dollars will be made available to improve 5G coverage. However, the Competitive Carriers Association, which represents many rural mobile service providers, estimates the need at well over $30 billion. Without some advance planning and dialogue with the wireless providers in your state, you may see very little of those investments.

WISPs have brought first-time service to millions 

According to WISPA (the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association), over 2,800 WISPs are now serving more than seven million customers in portions of all 50 states, bringing internet to many rural households that had previously relied on aging satellite services. Although some subscribers are seeing median speeds below the current 25/3 broadband definition, new technologies are improving user experiences as equipment is modernized. Of course, better access to fiber is also needed to increase capacity and link to internet backbones.

All radio signals degrade with distance. Some of the largest WISPs cover sparsely populated regions, often with rugged terrain, making physical household connections particularly expensive to build. Commonly, customers who experience slower than advertised speeds are living at the practical edge of these coverage areas. Providing fiber to just a handful of locations can attract new towers that could substantially expand network services. This would also save much of the cost compared to direct-to-home routes and reduce the time needed for these subscribers to see significant improvements.

The IIJA is written to be technology-neutral, but some broadband officials seem to be paying little attention to proven solutions that could have immediate impact. Even if the eventual goal is to offer direct-to-home fiber for everyone, we may go well beyond this decade without realizing that dream.

Aren’t satellites wireless, too?

Modern and improved satellite services are already fulfilling broadband needs for some households and businesses. Availability is limited to certain geographies but is expanding, and new competitors plan to enter the mix soon.

Throughput speeds and latency have improved dramatically, but waitlists are long, and initial equipment costs of more than $500 (that’s for do-it-yourself) and subscription fees of $100 or more per month will make this a difficult purchase decision for low-income households. There’s also limited capacity for any given geographic area, so even if there is satellite service available in your location, it may be that your neighbors have already maxed out the service and you will be waiting for additional capacity to be made available.

Without wireless, a broadband plan is just half-baked

We are many years away from realizing the full impact of the IIJA and the other recent funding sources that will deliver new fiber connections across the country. The FCC’s map is already delayed. There are early grumblings about uncertain challenge processes and many states are just now getting their planning efforts underway. The federal government has promised millions of Americans better broadband and they are expecting action soon, not in five to ten years.

Regulators and policymakers will ultimately be held accountable by voters and Congress for how the BEAD funds are spent. Two key metrics will matter most: the number of households gaining a new or improved connection and how quickly this progress is being made. Monitoring compliance will become more important as projects hit milestones and contractors get paid.

For some rural communities, wireless may be the best option right now and, perhaps, for the foreseeable future. Some households can already experience better service from their wireless provider than from DSL or satellite options. Reports are surfacing of DSL providers refusing to reconnect service to households where an interruption of service has occurred — whether for late payment or change of ownership — leaving families cut off from the digital economy.

Because satellite service is expensive and hard to acquire, wireless services are the only logical solution to get some rural households (particularly those in low-income brackets) connected before these communities wither past the point of no return. WISPs and mobile providers can fill some of this gap today and, if given the opportunity, will provide competitive options for families unhappy with their service. FWA from the traditional mobile operators is gaining public acceptance quickly in select markets and where signal levels are strong.

Think of anticipating wireless needs while planning fixed networks like an extension of a “dig once” policy. You don’t want to look back years from now and ask why wireless wasn’t considered in your planning process. Across the country, economic and community development departments spend millions of dollars every year to attract new citizens and businesses. Reliable mobile coverage is an amenity everyone – and every thing – wants.

Data from Ookla can highlight areas of need for both fixed and wireless networks. Leveraging coverage data to spotlight deficiencies can serve as an additional assessment in your middle-mile fiber planning, which can ultimately improve public safety, agricultural competitiveness, and overall quality of life.

Prepare for all the broadband needs ahead of you. It’s smart business. It’s smart government.

Bryan Darr is the Vice President of Smart Communities at Ookla. He coordinates Ookla’s outreach to local, state and federal governments and serves on CTIA’s Smart Cities Business & Technology Working Group. 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 expressed in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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