FCC Data and Privacy Task Force, Cisco Acquiring Data Companies, Spectrum Expands Services in Missouri

The task force will focus on addressing privacy and data protection issues in the communications industry.

FCC Data and Privacy Task Force, Cisco Acquiring Data Companies, Spectrum Expands Services in Missouri
Photo of FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

June 29, 2023 – Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced Wednesday the creation of a privacy and data protection task force focused on addressing privacy and data protection issues in the communications industry.

The FCC’s Privacy and Data Protection Task Force, led by the chief of the agency’s Enforcement Bureau, will collaborate with various departments within the FCC to develop rules, enforce regulations, and raise public awareness regarding privacy and data protection, including data breaches and vulnerabilities related to third-party vendors serving regulated communications providers, the FCC said.

The task force will comprise technical and legal staff from various departments within the FCC.

Rosenworcel has emphasized the task force’s role in advancing the modernization of current data breach rules, building upon the proposed rulemaking on that matter introduced in January.

Cisco announced intent to acquire network monitoring firms

Cisco announced Tuesday its intent to acquire SamKnows, a UK-based broadband network monitoring company, and Accedian, a Montreal-based network performance monitoring firm.

The technology company said these acquisitions aim to enhance Cisco’s ThousandEyes network intelligence service by expanding its knowledge into the last mile infrastructure.

“There is a significant step-change in the type and granularity of network data required to keep the lifeblood of our modern economy – and everyday life – flowing,” said Jonathan Davidson, executive vice president and general manager of Cisco Networking. “With the acquisitions of Accedian and SamKnows, we are providing a whole new level of network assurance and experience monitoring for our customers.”

The acquisition of SamKnows will enable Cisco to provide performance monitoring and testing at the end-user level, it said. SamKnows’ services have been utilized by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission – Canada’s FCC – for its Measuring Broadband Canada project, which assesses actual connection speeds in Canadian homes.

The data collected from thousands of homes has informed broadband policy-making, allowed consumers to understand the quality of internet services from participating ISPs, and facilitated network improvements by ISPs, the company said.

On the other hand, Accedian will join Cisco networking’s data center and provider connectivity organization.

These acquisitions are anticipated to be finalized in the first quarter of Cisco’s 2024 fiscal year, commencing on August 1, 2023.

Spectrum announces expansion of services in Missouri

Spectrum announced on Wednesday the rollout of its internet, mobile, TV, and voice services in rural areas of Missouri’s Cass County, including Cleveland, Peculiar, and Riverview Estates.

The expansion will provide services to over 1,000 homes and small businesses in these areas.

Spectrum secured $1 billion from the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to support this initiative.

“Spectrum is bringing gigabit broadband to unserved communities across America through RDOF,” said Matt Brown, Spectrum’s vice president of construction, in a press release. “We are providing local residents and small businesses superior connectivity at highly competitive prices, backed by a team of skilled local technicians and U.S.-based customer service.”

The company said the fiber build is part of its $5-billion investment in unserved rural communities.

The company said it aims to extend broadband access to approximately one million customer locations across 24 states in the coming years, according to FCC estimates.

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