News from NTIA at Broadband Breakfast, ‘Competent Providers’ Only, Instagram and Young Eating Disorders

NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson broke news on infrastructure implementation during his conversation with Broadband Breakfast this week.

News from NTIA at Broadband Breakfast, ‘Competent Providers’ Only, Instagram and Young Eating Disorders
Broadband Breakfast for Lunch at Clyde’s of Gallery Place by Megan Boswell

April 15, 2022 – Fierce Telecom, Telecompetitor, Connectivity Business News and Multichannel News have all written on Broadband Breakfast’s conversation with National Telecommunications and Information Administrator Alan Davidson from Wednesday.

Outlets emphasized Davidson’s comment that his agency’s goal is to provide the entire country with 100 Megabits per second download (Mbps) * 20 Mbps upload service – a major development to come out of Wednesday’s event.

Fierce Telecom wrote that it is unclear how many employees the NTIA will add to its staff to support its broadband infrastructure programs, with four job listings posted by the agency at present.

Telecompetitor raised that a definition of what a low-cost broadband option is as well as requirements for consultation with local stakeholders still must be outlined in the agency’s notice of funding opportunity once it is released.

Additionally on Wednesday, Davidson said that the federal infrastructure bill’s requirement for network operators to contribute 25% of a Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program project’s cost is a floor rather than a ceiling.

FBA and NTCA call for NTIA selection of ‘competent providers’ only

Last week the Fiber Broadband Association and NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association sent a letter to Alan Davidson asking his agency to fund only “competent providers,” focus on “proven” fiber technology for infrastructure builds and connect underserved areas first, according to Fierce Telecom.

They urged the NTIA chief to learn from the struggles of the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction such as disputes over what constitutes a qualified bidder and whether fixed wireless and satellite services meet the needs of consumers.

“Not one of our providers would hand over a build and operations to an inexperienced provider using an unproven technology,” wrote the groups.

Provider LTD Broadband, the top winner of the RDOF auction, has faced many questions on its ability to meet service obligations and had difficulty securing the necessary state approvals to collect funding from the FCC.

“Perhaps the most important lesson learned from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program,” stated the letter, “is that a premium should be placed on giving funds to competent and financially sound providers that are deploying network technologies that have actually been deployed.”

New report on Instagram’s endangerment of youth through eating disorder promotion

A new report released Thursday by advocacy group Fairplay finds that Instagram amplifies pro-eating disorder content to users in a manner that creates a harmful community for teen and underaged users.

The social network’s algorithm and data profiling tactics create a pro-eating disorder “bubble” which counts more than 88,000 unique accounts and 20 million unique followers.

In creating 153 “seed” accounts promoting extreme thinness, researchers were able to gain a following of 1.6 million unique users and identified over 88,600 followers which followed three or more of these seed accounts.

Users within this bubble had a median age of 18 and 21 were under 13, counting ages as young as nine despite Instagram requiring its users to be at least 13.

Instagram parent company Meta is estimated to derive $2 million in yearly revenue from the bubble.

The report comes as Meta continues to face heightened scrutiny from lawmakers over its services’ impact on body image for young users.

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