Proposed New Broadband Speed Standard, 988 Mental Health Hotline, Michigan Fiber Partnership

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel proposed a new broadband speed standard of 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload.

Proposed New Broadband Speed Standard, 988 Mental Health Hotline, Michigan Fiber Partnership
Photo of FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

July 18, 2022 – Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel is asking the public for comment on a proposal to increase the federal standard for broadband speeds to 100 Megabits per second download and 20 Mbps upload.

In a news release Friday, Rosenworcel said the existing standard of 25 Megabits per second download and 3 Mbps upload “isn’t just behind the times, it’s a harmful one because it masks the extent to which low-income neighborhoods and rural communities are being left behind and left offline.”

The notice of inquiry also proposes “to set a separate national goal of 1Gbps/500 Mbps for the future,” the release said.

The 100/20 speeds are a requirement for funds from several federal programs, including the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program.

988 mental health hotline mandate begins

The U.S. began its transition to a dedicated three-digit number for the 24/7 suicide and crisis hotline on Saturday.

The FCC news release states that when the National Suicide Designation Act was passed in October 2020, it authorized 988 as a new number for suicide and mental health crisis support.

“This cross-government effort has been years in the making and comes at a crucial point to help address the mental health crisis in our country, especially for young people,” FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel stated.

“The 10-digit Lifeline number 1-800-273-TALK (8255) will continue to be operational after July 16 and will route calls to 988 indefinitely.  Veterans, service members, and their families can also still reach the Veterans Crisis Line with the current phone number 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, or by chat or text to 838255,” stated the news release.

This deadline comes after a three-year effort between the Department of Health and Human Services, the FCC, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to better support at-risk communities in crisis.

Two fiber providers partner for Michigan fiber access

Two Michigan fiber providers, Peninsula Fiber Network and 123NET announced their partnership on Friday to provide access to a fiber-optic network from Bay City to Southfield in the state.

A press release said this multi-million-dollar project will span approximately 130 miles in Michigan, enabling further economic development for businesses along the way.

“This additional 130-mile Bay City to Southfield route creates easy and affordable connection opportunities for municipalities and businesses in that region that want the benefits offered by advanced fiber service,” said Dan Irvin, president and CEO at 123NET.

“Partnering with 123NET offers a win-win for both companies and perhaps more importantly for the business and consumers in the state,” stated Scott Randall, general manager of PFN.

The release said that construction has begun and is estimated to be completed in the next 18 months. New fiber will be brought to the following Michigan communities: Southfield, Beverly Hills, Birmingham, Bloomfield, Pontiac, Waterford, Clarkston, Davisburg, Holly, Fenton, Grand Blanc, Flint, Clio, Birch Run, Bridgeport, Saginaw, and Bay City.

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