FCC-NTIA Cooperation on Innovation Fund, Fiber Provider Acquired, T-Mobile Fast on Mobile

Rosenworcel hopes NTIA and the regulator can work together on $1.5B Innovation Fund.

FCC-NTIA Cooperation on Innovation Fund, Fiber Provider Acquired, T-Mobile Fast on Mobile
Screenshot of Jessica Rosenworcel, via LX News YouTube channel

January 18, 2023 – Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said Tuesday that she hopes the commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration can “align their efforts” on the Commerce agency’s $1.5 billion Innovation Fund to find alternatives to wireless equipment deemed a national security threat.

The chairwoman was speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies where she reiterated how the commission and the federal government are addressing cybersecurity challenges cooperatively.

The Chips and Science Act, which was signed into law last summer and is intended to incent the domestic development of products including semiconductors, carved out $1.5 billion for the NTIA to seek alternative wireless equipment.

“While these funds are with our colleagues at NTIA, my hope is we can align their efforts with what we have learned in our existing reimbursement program about real-world deployment and the importance of systems integration,” Rosenworcel said in her keynote Tuesday, alluding to the agency’s rip and replace program.

The NTIA is currently fielding comments about the Innovation Fund.

The chairwoman further laid out a 10-point brief that highlighted the agency’s coordination with other federal agencies, including the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and cyber officials; the reestablishment of public-private partnerships; enhanced information sharing to weed out and prevent authorizations of national security threats to the country’s networks; and establishing that rip and replace program to replace suspicious equipment.

She also lauded the election of an American, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, to lead the United Nations’ telecom regulator, the International Telecommunication Union.

“At stake was control of the agency responsible for setting standards for emerging technologies like 5G,” Rosenworcel said, alluding to the ITU. “This is no small thing.  Because those standards can support democratic values—or suppress them.”

NY, Pennsylvania broadband provider acquired by private equity firm

Empire Access, a regional broadband provider servicing parts of New Year and Pennsylvania, has been acquired by infrastructure private equity firm Antin Infrastructure Partners.

The deal’s completion, announced Tuesday and whose financial details are undisclosed, sees Antin control Empire and North Penn Telephone after the private equity firm invested in the companies – together called Empire – in March.

The fiber-to-the-premises network services over 96,000 addressees and 29,000 customers with 1,280 miles of fiber.

T-Mobile leads in mobile wireless download speeds, Comcast on fixed in fourth quarter

T-Mobile has taken the crown for fastest median mobile download speed in the fourth quarter, Ookla said in its latest report, while Comcast’s Xfinity took fastest media download speed on wireline.

T-Mobile, which is focused on mobile wireless, had a median mobile download speed of 151.37 Megabits per second and had the highest median upload speed at 12.53 Mbps. Verizon followed with 69.01 Mbps download and 9.33 Mbps upload, with AT&T coming in third with 65.57 Mbps and 7.98 Mbps, respectively.

On wireline, Comcast’s Xfinity took the crown in the fourth quarter with a median download speed of 226.18, with Spectrum following at 225.33, Cox at 212.37, Optimum at 190.82, AT&T at 187.08, and Verizon at 183.25.

AT&T had the best median upload speed in that segment at 142.76 Mbps, Verizon following at 104.89, Optimum at 29.77, Xfinity at 20.42, Spectrum at 11.77, and Cox at 10.71.

New Jersey had the highest median download speeds at 216 Mbps, Delaware followed at 213.72, Rhode Island at 212.33, Connecticut at 210.85, and New York rounded out the top 5 with 209.09, according to Ookla, a sponsor of Broadband Breakfast.

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