China Hacking, Small Business Struggling with Broadband Minimum, Rosenworcel on Spectrum Priority

Biden admin accuses China of hacking, FCC’s minimum broadband insufficient for small businesses, Jessica Rosenworcel says midband is priority.

China Hacking, Small Business Struggling with Broadband Minimum, Rosenworcel on Spectrum Priority
Photo of President Joe Biden in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2019, used with permission.

July 19, 2021 – In a statement released Monday morning, the Biden administration formally accused the Chinese government of hacking Microsoft’s email system, which is used by many governments, private government contractors, and some of the world’s largest companies, the New York Times reports.

The White House’s statement brings confirmation to a claim made by Microsoft in March that the Chinese Ministry of State Security was linked to a January breach of its Microsoft Exchange email server.

According to the U.S, China paid groups to conduct hackings, which included ransomware attacks that extorted companies for millions of dollars.

China’s Ministry of State Security “has fostered an ecosystem of criminal contract hackers who carry out both state-sponsored activities and cybercrime for their own financial gain,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“The contract hackers cost government and businesses billions of dollars in stolen intellectual property, ransom payments, and cybersecurity mitigation efforts, all while the MSS had them on its payroll.”

All members of the NATO alliance also condemned China’s use of global cyberattacks.

FCC’s minimum broadband requirements not enough for small business

According to a report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the Federal Communication Commission’s current minimum benchmark speed for broadband is not fast enough to handle the needs of small businesses, Fierce Telecom reports.

The current federal minimum is 25 Megabits per second download speed and 3 Mbps upload. According to the GAO, most small businesses have access to the FCC’s minimum broadband requirements, with only around 8 percent lacking.

However, the GAO’s report suggests that the FCC should conduct its own research to gain a better understanding of the needs of small businesses and include this in their minimum benchmark requirements.

The GAO report cited a 2017 fact sheet from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration that said small businesses need at least 50 Mbps to conduct certain essential tasks, such as managing inventory, running sales terminals, and coordinating shipping.

The report also included a survey sponsored by Amazon and the U.S. Chamber of Technology Engagement Center that examined rural America and found that 20 percent of businesses were not using broadband at all, and that 5 percent were still using dial-up Internet.

FCC Acting Chairwoman says midband spectrum is key to closing the digital divide

Jessica Rosenworcel, Acting Chairwoman of the FCC, said that FCC’s primary role in helping close the digital divide is to prioritize 5G midband spectrum over millimeter wave, Axios reports.

Millimeter wave offers a strong, high-quality connection over short distances. However, midband spectrum offers a good compromise between the need to send signals over long distances while maintaining a strong connection.

The FCC previously promoted millimeter wave 5G, which, according to Rosenworcel, was a mistake.

“If we just relied on millimeter wave spectrum, we’d actually grow the digital divide with 5G,” Rosenworcel said. “The good news is in the last year and the last several months, we really recognized that we have to pivot from millimeter wave spectrum to midband spectrum.”

So, moving a big band spectrum, which propagates further—and further is exactly what we need to do—and the good news is we’re doing it right now,” Rosenworcel said.

Popular Tags