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Reason 1 to Attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass: Ripping the Fabric

The 1st of 5 reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass with Drew Clark on 9/27 at 12 Noon ET

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WASHINGTON, September 21, 2022 – The first reason to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass with Drew Clark on September 27, 2022, is to understand what the broadband mapping fabric is – and why so many people want to rip it up.

Broadband Breakfast is hosting the two-hour Broadband Mapping Masterclass to help Internet Service Providers, mapping and GIS consultants, and people in everyday communities concerned about broadband mapping.

This 2-hour Masterclass, available for only $99, will help you navigate the treacherous waters around broadband mapping. The live Broadband Mapping Masterclass is being recorded, and those who make the one-time $99 payment will obtain a guaranteed place during the live session.

ENROLL TODAY for our Zoom Webinar through PayPal.

Registrants will also receive unlimited on-demand access to the Masterclass recording. And they will receive Broadband Breakfast’s premium research report on broadband mapping.

Learn More about Why You Should Participate in the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

5 additional reasons to attend the Masterclass

In addition to obtaining lifetime access to the recording – and a premium research report from Broadband Breakfast – we’re presenting five additional reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass between now and the LIVE Zoom Webinar on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at 12 Noon ET.

Many in the broadband mapping space have heard of the dreaded Federal Communications Commission Form 477. You’ve heard that this requirement is on its way out – but not yet!

You’ll learn about how the Form 477 first morphed into the Digital Opportunity Data Collection under the Trump FCC. Now it’s become the Broadband Data Collection under the Biden FCC. But wait, there’s more! Currently, the FCC is in the process of unveiling and receiving challenges to the broadband serviceable location fabric.

And the reaction is not pretty! You’ll learn about the fabric meets the new (and old) data requirements, and what happens next!

ENROLL TODAY  to find out what happens next.

Learn More about Why You Should Participate in the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

Read more about the reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

ENROLL TODAY

Broadband Breakfast is a decade-old news organization based in Washington that is building a community of interest around broadband policy and internet technology, with a particular focus on better broadband infrastructure, the politics of privacy and the regulation of social media. Learn more about Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Roundup

AT&T Partners with Ericsson on OpenRAN, FCC Extends Engineering Waiver, New COO at Atlas Digital Group

AT&T is pushing for more interoperability of equipment on its wireless network.

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Photo of Ericsson 5G factory in Texas.

December 6, 2023 – AT&T announced Monday a partnership with Swedish mobile wireless equipment maker Ericsson to build out its open radio access network to get ahead of the race to allow the networks to work with various equipment suppliers. 

The five-year contract with Ericsson could see AT&T spend roughly $14 billion and eventually see 70 percent of its wireless network traffic travel over open platforms by late 2026. 

Beginning in 2025, AT&T said it will be coordinating with multiple suppliers on the development of the Open RAN ecosystem, including Intel, Dell, Corning, and Fujitsu. 

“AT&T’s and Ericsson’s multiyear joint commitment to Open RAN deployment comes at a pivotal moment in the 5G innovation cycle,” the telecom said in a press release. “This move to an open, agile, programmable wireless network positions AT&T to quickly capitalize on the next generation of wireless technology and spectrum when it becomes available. 

“These innovative technologies will enable lower-power, sustainable networks with higher performance to deliver enhanced user experiences,” it added. “Ericsson’s open architecture will provide a foundation and springboard for developers driving innovation through open and programmable networks and bringing new suppliers into the industry. This will foster modernization and competition in the U.S. wireless equipment market.”

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the head of the Federal Communications Commission have said that open RAN deployments would allow network owners to move away from proprietary technologies to diversify the supply chain and reduce security risks.  

The NTIA is currently in the midst of distributing money from the $1.5-billion Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund, which is intended to help telecoms transition to open, interoperable wireless networks. 

Ericsson plans to use the 5G smart factory in Lewisville, Texas to provide equipment to the project.

FCC extends waiver to allow the use of non-professional certified engineers 

The Federal Communications Commission filed an order Thursday extending the use of a waiver that permits telecommunication companies to use non-professional certified engineers to sign off on broadband data collection. 

The use of the waiver was set to expire on September 15th of this year for broadband data recorded as of June 30th 2023, but now will extend for three more filing periods to be used for data collected up to December 31, 2024. 

The FCC reasoned that extending the use of the waiver “strikes an appropriate balance by giving providers limited relief from the PE requirement, on the condition that they are able to expeditiously provide to the Commission, when requested, underlying network information that supports their availability data.”

Industry associations USTelecom and the Competitive Carriers Association filed a petition in August to extend for three filing periods the use of a waiver that does not require provider’s broadband data filings to be verified by a licensed professional engineer. They argued that requiring sign-off from a licensed professional engineer would burden smaller providers. 

The FCC put in place a rule requiring mapping data to be signed off by a certified engineer and a corporate officer, but would accept a single signature sign off if the signatory could qualify both of those positions. 

In 2020 Congress passed the Broadband DATA Act, which required the FCC to create a new set of rules to regulate how biannual broadband service data was collected and distributed. As a part of that act, service providers were required to submit verification from a “corporate officer” that any data they had collected was accurate. 

Atlas Digital Group appoints new COO

Atlas Digital Group, an e-commerce company serving the broadband industry, announced Monday that Chad Neuhaus will be taking on a new role as the company’s chief operating officer. 

Neuhaus will manage the implementation of operational strategies, promoting quality control across deliverables and working with senior management members to work on continued development strategy, explained a press release. 

I’m ready to contribute to an outstanding team and help the company achieve even stronger performance as we roar into 2024,” said Neuhaus. 

Prior to joining Atlas Digital Group, Neuhaus served for 23 years in various roles at telecommunications companies, including Altice and AT&T, a press release said. 

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Broadband Updates

Florida’s BEAD Initial Proposal, Volume Two

The state may request a waiver to make RDOF areas eligible for BEAD.

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Photo of West Palm Beach by Ethan Oringel.

Florida released a draft volume two of its Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment initial proposal on November 22.

It was the last in a wave of states and territories that began seeking public comment on their drafts in recent weeks, an effort to close the mandatory 30-day public comment period before the December 27 submission deadline. All 56 have now done so.

States will submit their proposals to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the agency tapped to oversee the program. The proposals come in two volumes: volume one details how states will ground-truth broadband coverage data, and volume two outlines states’ plans for administering grant programs with their BEAD funds.

The state released a draft volume one of its proposal on November 15.

Florida estimates it will have $200 million of its $1.16 billion BEAD allocation remaining after funding infrastructure projects. The state is planning to start awarding that money to workforce development projects at the same time as infrastructure builds.

Without an effort to train and hire more people, Florida’s proposal said, there will not be enough workers in the state with the necessary skills to complete those projects. The telecommunications industry as a whole is facing a workforce shortage, and Florida is planning to fund training and outreach efforts to address the shortfall.

The state said it may be requesting a waiver from the NTIA to make some Federal Communications Commission subsidy areas open to BEAD funds, citing “growing local and national concern over the economic viability of some RDOF awards coming to fruition.” Alabama has requested such a waiver.

The FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund awarded over $9 billion to expand broadband networks to unserved areas in 2020, over $2.8 billion of which has since gone into default.

Florida’s broadband office “reserves the option,” according to its volume two, to use the NTIA’s updated financing guidelines. Those updated guidelines allow for changes that tie up less cash than the original BEAD requirement, a 25 percent letter of credit from an accredited bank.

The public comment period for Florida’s volume two is open until December 22.

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Broadband Roundup

Nvidia Navigates Export Rules, FCC on High-Cost, Kansas Awards Fiber Grants

Department of Commerce continues to combat the export of U.S. semiconductors to adversarial nations

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Photo of U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo

December 4, 2023 – Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Saturday that the department is ready and willing to impose further export restrictions on any products made by graphics card maker NVIDIA that assists adversarial nations in developing their artificial intelligence capabilities, according to a story from Fortune

“If you redesign a chip around a particular cut line that enables them to do AI, I’m going to control it the very next day,” Raimondo said at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, according to Fortune. 

Nvidia, which has been focusing on its development as an AI company, has restructured its advanced chips to access the Chinese market, which is worth at least $400 million in sales. In response to exports restrictions imposed by Commerce in August 2022, Nvidia tweaked its A100 chip series to comply with U.S. rules, limiting the processing capabilities and re-releasing the chips under a new name, the A800 series.

In October 2023, Commerce imposed additional licensing requirements based on performance threshold to limit the export of high-performance computing chips, to include the A800 series. Less than a month later, Nvidia had introduced a series of GPUs with limited computing capabilities in compliance with Commerce export requirements, made available to Chinese customers.

Commerce has said it is trying to limit risks of the chips being used in foreign military operations.

In response to Secretary Raimondo’s recent claims, Nvidia told Broadband Breakfast, “We are engaged with the U.S. government and, following the government’s clear guidelines, are working to offer compliant data center solutions to customers worldwide.”

The advanced chips are central components to the rise of artificial intelligence, autonomous machines, cloud and high-performance computing.

FCC issues guidance to high-cost support recipients 

The Federal Communications Commission released guidance Wednesday for recipients of high-cost support, outlining the coordination necessary between the recipients, state broadband offices and Tribal entities to avoid overbuilding in areas supported by multiple broadband programs. 

The FCC notes that the recipients of the high-cost programs, which include the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, Enhanced Alternative Connect America Cost Model, and Connect America Fund, must participate in the broadband map challenge process as states prepare to deliver money from the $42.5-billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program.

“Full participation of high-cost support recipients in BEAD Program challenge processes is critical to ensuring that the FCC’s high-cost funding is not duplicated by the BEAD Program,” the FCC said in the guidance. 

“Participation in the BEAD Program challenge process also ensures state broadband offices receive information about high-cost program supported deployments beyond the valuable information provided on the Broadband Funding Map,” it added. 

These recipients should coordinate with their respective state broadband office by taking steps to ensure that the National Broadband Map accurately reflects the locations they serve, the speeds they provide to the locations, and the technologies they are using to serve those locations, the FCC emphasized. 

In addition, the FCC guidance emphasizes that high-cost support recipients should engage with each relevant Tribal government annually to obtain the necessary consent, permits, and other approvals as soon as practicable, even if the recipient has not begun deployment. 

The Tribal engagement obligation set by the FCC represents an opportunity for Tribal governments and high-cost support recipients to coordinate on many issues critical to the deployment and adoption of communications technologies on Tribal lands.

Kansas awards $28.5 million in state broadband grants

Kansas announced it is awarding $28.5 million in broadband grants Wednesday to 12 internet service providers through the state’s Lasting Infrastructure and Network Connectivity program. All of the funding dedicated to broadband infrastructure is going toward deploying fiber technology.

One of the largest awards is to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, a native American tribe, which will bring fiber-to-the-home connectivity to all of the nation’s 204 residences, as well as to 10 Tribal government services locations on the PBPN reservation. 

Additionally, included in the awards is funding for Kansas’ first carrier-neutral Internet Exchange Point, which will be located on the campus of Wichita State University. The IXP stands to reduce IP transit pricing to below 10 cents per megabit, an expected 90% reduction in cost as compared to current transport and transit pricing through Kansas City, Missouri. 

The awards will also expand middle mile infrastructure through two economically distressed counties in north central Kansas. 

The state funds will be matched by the ISPs for a total of $33.9 million in additional investments.

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