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Broadband Grants News

Stay up to date with this consolidated list of related news from industry analysts and government sources!

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The Waning of the Bundle

Pots and Pans

Doug Dawson

May 19, 2022

Click to read more..

Fiber Broadband Image

NTIA, Meta, TiVo, The Pew Charitable Trusts and Farm Fresh Broadband Author to Keynote at Fiber Connect 2022

Fiber Broadband Association

Ashley Schulte

May 19, 2022

Fiber Connect 2022 is where stakeholders meet to discuss fiber’s unlimited capacity and endless possibilities.

internet usage

DISH Can Now Resell AT&T Internet Services, Including Fiber

Telecompetitor

Bernie Arnason

May 19, 2022

Satellite DBS and wireless provider DISH has entered into an agreement with AT&T to resell AT&T internet services, the companies announced yesterday. The agreement is effective immediately. The DISH deal is for AT&T home internet services, including AT&T Fiber. It…

Customer Satisfaction Wireless

ACSI: Customer Satisfaction with Wireless Dips Slightly

Telecompetitor

Phil Britt

May 18, 2022

Customer satisfaction with their wireless service has dipped slightly, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Wireless Phone Service and Cell Phone Study 2021-2022. The latest report said that customer satisfaction has slipped 1.4% to a score of 73…

3 things state broadband offices need to do to prepare for NTIA's BEAD grant program thumbnail

3 things state broadband offices need to do to prepare for NTIA's BEAD grant program

BEADState Broadband Offices

Broadband.Money

Tera Whipple

May 18, 2022

Capacity, data and outreach are key to landing federal BEAD grants.

How the NTIA’s challenge process works in the Notice of Funding Opportunity thumbnail

How the NTIA’s challenge process works in the Notice of Funding Opportunity

Broadband.Money

Benjamin Kahn

May 18, 2022

The challenge process allows a broadband service provider can contest an applicant’s initial proposal for broadband service.

Fiber Optics Red

VSG: 25% of Commercial Buildings Are Fiber Connected

Telecompetitor

Phil Britt

May 18, 2022

Nearly one quarter (24.7%) of commercial buildings now are fiber connected to network services as fiber reached 1.3 million office buildings in 2021, according to the most recent ENS @Fiber Plus research from Vertical Systems Group (VSG). This is more…

small business setting

AT&T Introduces Managed Wireless WAN

Telecompetitor

Carl Weinschenk

May 18, 2022

The AT&T Managed Wireless WAN is a plug-and-play platform that can serve fixed sites where wired connections are not available, not reliable, too expensive or cannot be deployed quickly enough. The concept is that the emergence of 5G enables platforms…

red lights in traffic

That Was Fast! NTIA Reports Receiving 34 LOIs for $42.5B BEAD Broadband Program

BEAD

Telecompetitor

Joan Engebretson

May 18, 2022

Just a few days after NTIA released the notices of funding opportunities for key broadband programs created in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the agency reports that 34 states have submitted letters of intent to participate in the…

wifi icon

More Operators Embrace Wi-Fi 6E: Case in Point – Arvig in Minnesota

Telecompetitor

Carl Weinschenk

May 18, 2022

Arvig, a Minnesota-based regional service provider, is offering user devices compatible with Wi-Fi 6E, an extended version of the Wi-Fi 6 standard. The move follows the service provider’s upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 earlier this year. Wi-Fi 6 is backward compatible…

wireless tower_fixed

LRG Finds Slower Broadband Subscriber Growth with Fixed Wireless a Bright Spot

Telecompetitor

Carl Weinschenk

May 18, 2022

The largest cable, telco and fixed wireless providers netted about 1.065 million new broadband Internet subscribers during the first quarter of the year. Broadband subscriber growth was down compared to the 1.12 million netted during the first quarter of 2021,…

T-Mobile Challenge

T-Mobile Accelerator Program Fuels AR Initiative

Telecompetitor

Phil Britt

May 17, 2022

T-Mobile has launched an augmented reality (AR) initiative involving its T-Mobile Accelerator program in conjunction with the Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform. The plan is to work with startups, developers and entrepreneurs building immersive experiences for AR smart glasses. Smart…

10G logo

Cable One Says 10G Investments Are Approaching $1 Billion

Telecompetitor

Joan Engebretson

May 17, 2022

Cable One said it has invested $950 million over the past three years to upgrade its network to be prepared to offer 10G services. The investments were made across all the company brands, which include Sparklight, Fidelity, Hargray and ValuNet….

Girls at home attending school.

FCC: $50 Million in Emergency Connectivity Funds Awarded

Telecompetitor

Carl Weinschenk

May 17, 2022

A few days after the third window of the FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) closed, the agency announced that the 15th wave of funds, valued at more than $50 million, had been awarded. The funding will go to 46 schools,…

Strong emphasis on local coordination in Notice of Funding Opportunity  thumbnail

Strong emphasis on local coordination in Notice of Funding Opportunity

Broadband.Money

Benjamin Kahn

May 17, 2022

The National Telecommunication and Information Administration placed significant emphasis on ensuring that eligible entities engage in local coordination as part of their Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program notice of funding opportunity that was released on Friday.

Viewers during auction. FCC Awards Most Licenses Won

RDOF Funding Authorized for Frontier, Hawaiian Telcom, Lumen, Smaller Companies

Telecompetitor

Joan Engebretson

May 16, 2022

The FCC has authorized RDOF funding for Cincinnati Bell’s Hawaiian Telecom unit, for Frontier winning bids in seven states, for certain winning bids for Lumen’s CenturyLink business and for more than a dozen small companies. About $9.2 billion was tentatively…

Population Shifts Drive Verizon Capital Spending in Florida

Telecompetitor

Phil Britt

May 16, 2022

Verizon said today that it had committed an additional $149 million in local capital spending in Florida to meet the increasing demand from a growing customer base in the Sunshine State. More than 250,00 Verizon customers have moved to the…

fiber optics spool

Federal Agencies to Share Broadband Deployment Data

Telecompetitor

Carl Weinschenk

May 13, 2022

Four federal agencies have agreed to a broad data sharing agreement under which they will collaborate on collection and reporting and share information on broadband deployment. The “covered agencies” in the “Memorandum of Understanding Regarding Information Sharing” are the FCC,…

Here are the nine steps to landing a grant from the NTIA's BEAD NOFO thumbnail

Here are the nine steps to landing a grant from the NTIA's BEAD NOFO

BEAD

Broadband.Money

Broadband Money

May 13, 2022

Here are the nine steps that states and territories must take to land federal funding to bring broadband to everyone.

digging ditches for broadband

Funding Notice (NOFO) for $1 Billion IIJA Middle Mile Program Released

Telecompetitor

Joan Engebretson

May 13, 2022

The NTIA released a 54-page notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) early this morning for the nearly $1 billion Middle Mile program established in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Today’s notice details the requirements that funded projects must meet,…

money

NTIA BEAD Program Funding Notice (NOFO) Prioritizes Fiber Broadband

BEAD

Telecompetitor

Joan Engebretson

May 13, 2022

NTIA released the eagerly awaited notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) for the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program early this morning. Rules for the program call for individual states to establish selection criteria and other rules for…

Four themes to watch for in NTIA’s BEAD NOFO thumbnail

Four themes to watch for in NTIA’s BEAD NOFO

BEAD

Broadband.Money

Broadband Money

May 12, 2022

Four key themes you should look for in NTIA’s $42.5 Billion BEAD NOFO.

Statement from ILSR on Alvaro Bedoya’s Confirmation to the Federal Trade Commission images

Statement from ILSR on Alvaro Bedoya’s Confirmation to the Federal Trade Commission

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Reggie Rucker

May 12, 2022

In a statement, ILSR’s Co-director Stacy Mitchell responded to Alvaro Bedoya’s confirmation to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).…

Local coordination could be a strong theme in NTIA's BEAD NOFO thumbnail

Local coordination could be a strong theme in NTIA's BEAD NOFO

BEAD

Broadband.Money

Broadband Money

May 12, 2022

The Infrastructure, Investments and Jobs Act's BEAD notice of funding opportunity is likely to focus on states' efforts to solicit local communities' input.

School bus

School Bus Wi-Fi May Get a Boost, as FCC Chair Proposes E-Rate Funding Support

Telecompetitor

Carl Weinschenk

May 12, 2022

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has proposed using E-Rate program funding to deploy Wi-Fi on school buses. Rosenworcel introduced the Declaratory Ruling, which must be adopted by the commission in order to go into effect, during a meeting of the National…

Verizon Connected Healthcare

Verizon Business Launches Center to Promote Connected Healthcare

Telecompetitor

Carl Weinschenk

May 12, 2022

Verizon Business and three partners have created a center aimed at accelerating adoption of connected healthcare technologies. Visionable, Capgemini and Juniper Networks are partnering with Verizon Business on the center, which is in Kent, U.K. Among technologies on display at…

Weighing in on the NTIA’s BEAD NOFO thumbnail

Weighing in on the NTIA’s BEAD NOFO

BEAD

Broadband.Money

Broadband Money

May 12, 2022

Here's what some key players told the Biden administration to do with the $42.5 billion in broadband funding

Partnership

AT&T Hopes Indiana Public Private Partnerships Will Be the First of Many

Telecompetitor

Joan Engebretson

May 12, 2022

The two public private partnerships that AT&T has announced in Indiana, including one expected with the City of Boonville, could be the first of many, said Jeff Luong, AT&T president for broadband access and adoption initiatives, in an interview with…

mobile 5g image

5G Versus Wi-Fi Performance: It’s a Horserace, Says Opensignal

Telecompetitor

Carl Weinschenk

May 12, 2022

Research from Opensignal finds that a crossroads is approaching as 5G cellular connectivity is supporting speeds that are more competitive with Wi-Fi in the U.S. But while 5G provides faster uploads than 4G, only mmWave 5G is faster than Wi-Fi,…

data center

NCTC Connectivity Exchange Aims to Let Members Win Big RFPs

Telecompetitor

Carl Weinschenk

May 11, 2022

The National Cable Television Cooperative in partnership with two other companies, has launched the NCTC Connectivity Exchange, a platform that is designed to enable its members to compete for and win bids to provide network and connectivity services to large…

3Red8

Pots and Pans

Doug Dawson

May 11, 2022

Click to read more..

Smart-Farming-BWR

Smart Farm Leverages Private LTE Network, Robotics

Telecompetitor

Joan Engebretson

May 11, 2022

The idea of using private wireless to support the smart farm gained further traction this week with the news that Federated Wireless has deployed a private wireless network using CBRS spectrum to support a 2.1 square mile vineyard. Federated Wireless…

Fiber Optic Cable

Zayo Adds 400G Routes, Other Network Upgrades

Telecompetitor

Carl Weinschenk

May 11, 2022

In its largest network expansion, Zayo is upgrading its long haul dark fiber, 400G network and subsea routes worldwide. The investment will generate new and upgraded routes during the next 18 months. The new 400G routes are between: Dallas and…

rural setting

Rural Carriers Get Another Reprieve from FCCUSF Budget Control

Telecompetitor

Joan Engebretson

May 10, 2022

The FCC said today that it will not impose the high-cost Universal Service Fund (USF) budget control mechanism for the upcoming funding year. Budget control was scheduled to go into effect in July for small rural rate-of-return providers that have…

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Explosive Fiber Broadband Expansion Drives Need for Fiber Technician Training Programs

Benton

Joan Engebretson

May 10, 2022

As fiber sees record-setting deployment levels, the demand for fiber optic technicians is stronger than ever. To meet this demand, we’re seeing a slew of training programs nationwide. Community colleges will play an important role in training a new generation of fiber technicians. In one example, the State University of New York Westchester Community College (SUNYWCC) offers a three-day fiber technician training course that does not require participants to be enrolled in a degree program. The course is designed to prepare the students to take the Certified Fiber Optic Technician examination sanctioned by the Fiber Optics Association (FOA) and given at the end of the course. SUNYWCC is offering the course three times in 2022. In addition, companies looking to hire skilled technicians are electric cooperatives that are undertaking fiber deployments to support broadband service and smart grid initiatives. In northern Alabama, Cullman Electric Cooperative partnered with Cullman Area Technology Academy (CATA) to develop a program designed to teach high school students to prepare them for jobs that could involve both fiber optics and electric lineman work. Another certification program for fiber optic technicians comes from the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA). The organization’s program, known as OpTICTM Technician (for Optical Telecom Installation Certification) will be offered at vocational schools and community colleges nationwide.

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FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel's Remarks at the 2022 5G Summit

Benton

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

May 10, 2022

At the [Federal Communications Commission], we are determined to make progress. We are pursuing a 5G agenda that I believe can move the country forward, expand infrastructure investment, and pry open the doors of opportunity for all. And thanks to our work over the last year, we are making real strides toward building that 5G future. So here it goes—five things we are doing right now to support the future of 5G. First, we are investing in broadband and wireless coverage data. Second, we are making wireless service more affordable. The FCC launched the nation’s largest-ever broadband affordability effort—now called the Affordable Connectivity Program. Third, we are freeing up more spectrum—and especially mid-band spectrum—for 5G. Fourth, on the equipment side, we are diversifying what goes into our 5G networks. Fifth, we are improving the way we coordinate with our federal partners. Earlier this month I announced a new Spectrum Coordination Initiative with Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.I started with five things we are doing for 5G, and now I am going to close with five ideas about what we can do next. First, we should provide certainty around near-term spectrum opportunities. Second, we should explore updating the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act to make it a more effective tool for repurposing spectrum. Third, we should explore receiver performance. Fourth, we should consider the broader use of incentives. Fifth and finally, we should use this opportunity to solve our most pressing communications challenges. We can put our public airwaves to broader public purpose in any spectrum auction reauthorization

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FCC Eases Budget Restrictions for Rural Rate-of-Return Carriers Receiving High-Cost Universal Service Support

Benton

May 10, 2022

The Federal Communications Commission temporarily waives, on its own motion, the application of the budget control mechanism for rate-of-return carriers that receive high-cost universal service support from legacy mechanisms. The FCC adopts instead a full waiver of the budget constraint for the July 2022 to June 2023 tariff year. The budget control mechanism is designed to essentially put a cap on the high-cost loop support (HCLS) and Connect America Fund broadband loop support (CAF-BLS) rural carriers receive annually, Telecompetitor reports. It caps the fund at the previous year’s level plus an inflation factor. These support funds help cover the cost of delivering telecom and broadband services to high cost rural areas, helping achieve universal service. The FCC finds that a waiver is in the public interest given the substantial reduction in support that would result from the imposition of the budget constraint, as well as the unique and continued cash flow and other economic challenges carriers face as a result of the pandemic.

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Frontier launches $1.2 billion fundraising bid to fuel fiber build

Benton

Diana Goovaerts

May 10, 2022

Frontier Communications is looking to raise a total of $1.2 billion through a debt offering of lien-secured notes to help keep its fiber expansion plan rolling along. The company originally planned to seek $800 million, but subsequently bumped up its target figure by $400 million. It did not provide a reason for the change. The notes on offer will bear interest at a rate of 8.75 percent each year and must be repaid by 2030. Alongside the debt, Frontier announced it increased its revolving credit facility to a total of $900 million. In a brief statement, Frontier said the money it raises will be used “to fund capital investments and operating costs arising from the company's fiber build and expansion of its fiber customer base, and for general corporate purposes.” Analysts at New Street Research wrote in a note to investors Frontier likely doesn’t need the capital today but is looking to lock in favorable interest rates. “Given the uncertainty around rates, we think this is a smart move that removes risk and protects the growth plan,” they concluded. The move comes a year after Frontier emerged from bankruptcy and as the operator works to deliver fiber to 10 million locations by 2025. It built 211,000 new locations in Q1 2022, raising its total passed to 4.2 million, and expects to hit a total of more than 5 million by the end of 2022.

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Sen Gillibrand receives bipartisan support for full funding of USDA Rural Broadband Program

Benton

Basil John

May 10, 2022

Sen Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says the pandemic confirmed internet access is no longer a luxury, but a necessity in rural America. “Across the country 17.3 percent of Americans in rural areas don’t have access to reliable broadband, compared to only 1 percent of Americans in urban areas,” Gillibrand said. Gillibrand said that’s why she’s pushing to fully fund the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Broadband Program, using $350 million to get rural Americans online. “Encourages more high speed broadband deployment to high need areas by awarding grants in combination with loan funding available through the USDA rural utility service,” Gillibrand said. It’s a goal Republicans, like Sen Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), support. “I am absolutely committed too. I would join with senator Gillibrand to ask for full funding on the reconnect program through USDA,” Capito said. Gillibrand says the bipartisan effort will target previously neglected areas. “Any place that the private sector won’t cover rural broadband, these grants will cover,” Gillibrand said. Capito says she’s also advancing legislation to let the Federal Communications Commission ensure rural areas have strong signal quality.

Google Facing App Store Suit, Shareholder Suit Against Twitter Buy, Fiber Optic Technician Training Nationwide

Broadband Breakfast

Broadband Roundup

May 10, 2022

Match Group is suing Google over its alleged restrictive app store billing practices, as lawmakers consider legislation tackling the issue.

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Free Internet? How a New Law Could Cut Costs to Zero

ACP

Benton

Katie Teague

May 10, 2022

The White House announced the expansion of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) with the launch of a new website and agreements with internet service providers that could cut internet costs to zero for some Americans. Created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the ACP gives eligible households up to $30 per month off their internet bills, as well as discounts on computers or tablets from participating retailers. ACP eligible households who live on Tribal lands can receive up to $75 per month. The program aims to help families who either can't afford to pay for internet access or who have to cut back on other essentials to budget for the service. The Biden administration's new agreements with 20 leading internet providers -- including AT&T, Comcast and Verizon -- ensure that they provide ACP eligible households with high-speed internet service (at least 100 Mbps download speed) for no more than $30 per month. A $30 monthly grant from the ACP means some qualifying Americans could receive free internet access. We'll tell you how to find out if you're eligible for ACP and how to sign up.

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Minnesota telecom companies are seeking to block a controversial broadband developer from using $311 million in federal grants

Benton

Walker Orenstein

May 10, 2022

The controversial telecom company LTD Broadband has long been criticized by those who argue it can’t deliver high-speed internet to Minnesotans as promised using an unprecedented $311 million in grants from the federal government. Now, those critics are trying again to block the small Nevada-based company from getting any of that federal money for work in Minnesota. On May 6, two trade groups representing telecom companies and rural electric cooperatives filed a petition with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that says LTD will waste taxpayer time and money in the company’s bid to serve more than 160,000 people. “Public funding is essential to bring broadband to unserved and underserved areas of rural Minnesota,” says the filing submitted by the Minnesota Telecom Alliance and the Minnesota Rural Electric Association. “But public dollars are limited, making it essential that those who obtain public funding can be counted on to deliver broadband to those areas as intended. The record will show that LTD cannot.”If the PUC sides with the coalition of telecom providers and electric cooperatives, it would be the latest in a string of defeats for LTD Broadband across the country — and another reversal for a company that shocked the broadband industry by winning $1.32 billion in subsidies in 15 states from one of the country’s largest efforts to bring high-speed internet to rural areas.

Smart City

Kagan: Broadband Market Share Battles Heat Up as Money Flows In

Telecompetitor

Carl Weinschenk

May 10, 2022

Market share, not households new to broadband, is the focus of “intense competition” between four types of service providers, according to Kagan, the media research unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence. The firm’s 2022 broadband forecast found that residential service…

Benton Logo

Looking for free broadband in Southern California? Here’s how to find it

Benton

Jon Healey

May 10, 2022

Lower-income Americans now have more options for free high-speed internet access, including at least eight providers that serve Southern California. The federal government launched the Affordable Connectivity Program at the end of 2021 to provide $30-per-month subsidies for households with incomes no more than twice the federal poverty level. On May 9, the White House revealed that 20 broadband providers across the country, including five of the largest cable TV and telephone companies, had agreed to provide “sufficiently high-speed” connections at no more than $30 a month to qualifying homes. Eight of those serve communities in Southern California: AT&T, Comcast, Cox, Frontier, Mediacom, Spectrum, Starry and Verizon. Eliminating the cost of a broadband connection removes just one of the barriers to wider internet adoption, however. Sunne Wright McPeak, head of the California Emerging Technology Fund, said other hurdles include the need for a smart device and the know-how required to use it. The biggest problem, though, may be that most of the people eligible for subsidies aren’t aware of or interested in them. For example, nearly half of households in Los Angeles County have incomes low enough to qualify for the federal subsidy, McPeak said, but less than a quarter of that group has signed up. And it could be difficult to reach the remainder; they’re not likely to see a broadband provider’s online advertisements touting the subsidies, for example. Here’s how to tell whether you qualify for the subsidies and which broadband providers offer them.

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Introducing the Tribal Broadband Planning Toolkit

Benton

May 10, 2022

BroadbandUSA’s Tribal Broadband Planning Toolkit provides the guidance, knowledge, and resources to design, implement, and then execute a broadband plan in Tribal communities. The toolkit outlines seven, common elements that serve as the building blocks of a Tribal broadband plan:

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Is Your Broadband Getting Cheaper?

Benton

Doug Dawson

May 10, 2022

Since the national dialog has suddenly fixated on inflation, the big ISPs decided to jump into the discussion by claiming that broadband prices are falling. The big ISP industry has been trotting out this untruth for the last several years. What underlies this claim is that the cost per megabit of speed has been falling as ISPs increase speeds. By definition, when an ISP upgrades a customer from 100 Mbps to 200 Mbps, the cost per megabit drops. While the cable companies have been unilaterally increasing speeds, consumers have not seen the check they write each month drop. There is no consumer who wouldn’t think that “broadband prices are falling” to mean that monthly bills are dropping. 

Family on devices at home

Comporium Connected Internet Program Offers Free 100 Mbps Broadband for ACP

ACP

Telecompetitor

Phil Britt

May 10, 2022

Rock Hill, SC-based Comporium has launched what it calls a Connected Internet Program under the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Households eligible for the ACP will get the service for free. The Biden Administration has been pushing carriers to lower…

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Benton Applauds Efforts to Make Broadband More Affordable

ACP

Benton

Adrianne Furniss

May 09, 2022

“As Vice President Harris said today, ‘Everyone in the US should be able to afford broadband access.’" said Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Executive Director Adrianne B Furniss. "Today’s White House announcement will improve affordable access for low-income families. In addition, the work supported by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the American Rescue Plan that will be done in the States should ensure that affordable, robust broadband networks reach every address in the country. The commitments secured by the White House from 20 leading internet providers covering 80 percent of the US population to either increase speeds or cut prices to make sure that ACP-eligible households get high-quality, affordable internet are small steps to the US realizing full digital equity. We have a long way to go, but it is critical that the Administration continues to lead on ensuring that broadband is truly universal.”

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Biden’s Effort to Increase Internet Access Faces Hurdle: Getting the Word Out

Benton

Joshua Jamerson

May 09, 2022

A $14 billion federal program to increase access to high-speed internet faces an early hurdle: The people who need it most are the hardest to reach because they aren’t online. The roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law that President Biden signed last November includes $65 billion to build up the country’s broadband network—a need highlighted by the pandemic that sent many students and workers to their computers. But much of that money could take years to put to use, making the $30 subsidy one of the most immediately deliverable aspects of the law. More than 11 million Americans have signed up for the monthly subsidy, according to the Federal Communications Commission, which administers the subsidies. The aid is available to anyone whose income is 200% or less than federal poverty guidelines or whose household qualifies for a government assistance program such as food assistance or Medicaid. Federal Communications Commission officials acknowledged there has been limited outreach for both the temporary subsidy and the new one, citing “unique circumstances” of the Covid-19 pandemic. They say the agency is exploring new ways to market the program through community institutions such as school districts.

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The Biden administration is capping the cost of internet for low-income Americans

ACP

Benton

Ayana Archie

May 09, 2022

The Biden administration will partner with internet providers to lower the cost of high-speed internet plans for low-income Americans. The Affordable Connectivity Program will provide plans of at least 100 Megabits per second of speed for no more than $30. An estimated 48 million Americans will qualify. Twenty internet providers—including national companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, as well as regional companies, such as Hawaiian Telecom and Jackson Energy Authority in Tennessee—have committed to the program. Americans will soon be able to visit www.getinternet.gov to determine their eligibility and sign up for the program. Those who receive benefits, such as the Pell Grant, Medicaid or SNAP may qualify. Agencies overseeing these programs will reach out to recipients of these benefits to see which households qualify for the ACP. Eligible households may also receive notifications from city or state agencies. Organizations such as United Way and Goodwill will also assist with outreach and enrollment.

Cullman Electric Co-op

Explosive Fiber Broadband Expansion Drives Need for Fiber Technician Training Programs

Telecompetitor

Joan Engebretson

May 09, 2022

As fiber sees record-setting deployment levels, the demand for fiber optic technicians is stronger than ever. To meet this demand, we’re seeing a slew of training programs nationwide. We outline a few below. Community colleges will play an important role…

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American Association of Public Broadband is Formed to Promote Municipal Networks

Event

Benton

Joan Engebretson

May 09, 2022

A new association to be known as the American Association of Public Broadband (AAPB) was recently announced. AAPB aims to advocate for municipal networks and is open to government agencies that are planning to build or that currently own or operate a municipal network, as reported by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. These networks could involve public-private partnerships. One of the group’s priorities will be to remove the anti-municipal broadband barriers currently in place in 17 states. AAPB has established a five-member board comprised of people who have been involved in successful municipal networks. In addition, the organization has raised $50,000. Government agencies can join AAPB for an annual fee of $1,000 and individual government employees can join for $300. The news about AAPB’s formation comes at a time when legislators have allotted an unprecedented level of funding for broadband builds, and municipal networks potentially could receive some of that funding. While laws in some states prevent or restrict municipal networks, other states have adopted legislation to encourage municipal networks. And at least one funding program — the NTIA Broadband Infrastructure Program — is open only to public-private partnerships between municipalities and private entities.

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Judge dismisses former president Trump’s lawsuit against Twitter

Benton

Cat Zakrzewski

May 09, 2022

A California judge dismissed a lawsuit that former president Donald Trump filed against Twitter, the latest blow to the former president’s high-profile battles with major tech companies over their decisions to suspend his accounts in the fallout of the Jan 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. The lawsuit, which Trump initially filed in Florida along with suits targeting Google and Facebook, was viewed as part of a broader strategy to appeal to conservatives who have long argued that social media companies unfairly censor their viewpoints. The judge’s dismissal comes after Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced his plans to buy Twitter, taking issue over content moderation decisions he views as limiting free speech — and raising speculation that Trump could return to the platform. In the ruling, US District Judge James Donato rejected Trump’s argument that Twitter was operating as a “state actor” when it suspended his account in January 2021, calling it not plausible. Trump had claimed that Twitter was constrained by the First Amendment’s restrictions on government limitations of free speech because it had acted in cooperation with government officials. The judge also dismissed Trump’s call for a declaratory judgment that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which says Internet platforms generally are not responsible for what their users post, is unconstitutional.

The Rural Broadband Association

A Different Point of View

Event

The Rural Broadband Association

Shirley Bloomfield

May 09, 2022

Last week, I had the opportunity to share some thoughts and perspectives from community-based broadband providers with the folks at the Broadband Communities Summit in Houston, a gathering ofILEC broadband providers, local community leaders, MDU specialists, municipal broadband providers and broadband activists - and everyone else in between.We also shared the story of Smart Rural Communities with an invitation for folks to join us in June in Vegas for some collaborative conversations.My thanks to Luke on our team for manning that effort!I did have a chance to catch up with some NTCA members who had decided to check out the event and was not surprised to find them feeling a little bit like they were on the outside looking in. Many of the discussions were focused on areas of the country still seeking robust broadband or how to bring in competitive and robust broadband in multiple dwelling units (MDUs), and few of these discussions really captured the role that community-based providers play in bringing broadband to their consumers.Maybe in part because many outside of the communications provider space even truly understand that there are three tiers of providers - the large, national entities - well known by their advertising campaigns; the regional providers - while smaller, still span multiple states; and then NTCA members - community-based providers, both cooperative and commercially controlled, who live, work and play where they provide connectivity. It then becomes too easy to lump all of these entities into the same category - incumbents - as if it was a “dirty” word.Incumbent as an adjective means “necessary for (someone) as a duty or responsibility”. Indeed, in the communications space, our incumbent providers came into being in communities where no one was providing service to begin with because the high cost nature of rural service - telephone or broadband - was too high of an entry point and corporate interests had a difficult time being able to create shareholder return.That is the beauty of community-based providers - while enough return has to be earned to continue to build and maintain networks, there is no pressure to generate Wall Street returns and the focus is on the customers.That is the differentiator and the reason why I truly think that the digital divide in rural America is more of a “rural/rural” divide.Those served by community-based providers “have” and many served by others “have not.” There was also a panel from federal leaders from NTIA, RUS, FCC and Treasury and I always find their commentary useful and particularly so now given the funding making its way out the door and into the ground.But I find events like this one to be an opportunity to share the story of NTCA members building Smart Rural Communities and how the broadband they provide powers economic growth and advancement for their rural communities. It’s also a chance to connect some dots among various sectors of the industry, and I am hoping to do just that with some of the local leaders I met in Houston, who are hungry to find the local broadband providers who they might partner with.This meeting was also the announcement platform for a new association entity in this space, the American Association for Public Broadband, who aims to advocate for municipal networks.This is a double-edged sword for sure, but in the spirit of starting off on the right foot, I did reach out to their new president with an invitation to connect and was delighted when she responded quickly with a spirit of collaboration.At least it’s a start.While I find myself sometimes having to bite my tongue with fellow attendees at events such as this one, I still think the effort to connect providers with localities and consumer groups looking for connectivity is worth the effort.© 2022, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association All rights reserved. 4121 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22203Explore NTCA Sites

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LA County Seeks Bids to Bring High-Speed Internet to Poor Black and Latino Areas

Benton

Robin Urevich

May 09, 2022

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act's $65 billion in broadband funding is fueling a nationwide rush by state and local governments to connect residents to the internet. Los Angeles County (CA) is at the forefront among municipalities with a public-private partnership to offer free broadband internet to its poorest residents in Watts, Boyle Heights, Sun Valley and four other California communities as soon as the end of 2022. These are neighborhoods that are heavily Latino and Black.The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles County Business Federation were among dozens of groups and individuals that contended a county-run system would deliver inferior service, and argued for subsidizing low income people, not building new networks to connect them. “By elevating the county as head operator, we place our most vulnerable students, workers, and other community members in the slow lane of connectivity with inferior and unreliable service,” said LA County Business Federation spokesman Chris Wilson. The Board of Supervisors, however, were not swayed by the argument, and voted unanimously in November 2021 to move forward with plans both to back subsidies for lower income people andbuild their own system. Now, county officials seek private partners to design, build and manage high speed wireless networks. Companies have until May 13 to submit their qualifications.

Internet Essentials

Comcast Extends ACP Enrollment to Xfinity Retail Locations

ACP

Telecompetitor

Phil Britt

May 09, 2022

Comcast today announced it will soon start enabling customers to sign up for its Internet Essentials Plus service at the company’s more than 500 Xfinity stores. The offering includes 100 Mbps speed, a cable modem, access to millions of WiFi…

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How Applying ‘Buy America’ Provisions to IT Undermines Infrastructure Goals

Benton

Robert Atkinson

May 09, 2022

Because the cost of producing information technology (IT) products is lower overseas, applying Buy America provisions to IT components of projects underwritten by the infrastructure bill will raise costs, reduce infrastructure build, and delay project completion—all without creating any net new jobs. Congress included in the recent infrastructure bill stronger applications of Buy America provisions, which govern the extent to which federal government purchases must be of products substantially made in the United States. The US share of global computer and electronics output had already fallen 8.2 percentage points between 1999 and 2009 when the Obama administration provide a blanket waiver for IT products in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Since then, US domestic IT capabilities have weakened even more, dropping another 2.3 percentage points of global market share. Because of this, applying Buy America provisions to IT components of federal infrastructure investment would raise IT costs by approximately 25 percent, on average. Boosting US manufacturing output is critical but applying Buy America provisions to information technology will do little to reshore IT production. It will, however, reduce the amount of US infrastructure that is built.

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Frontier sees fiber broadband additions in first quarter of 2022

Benton

May 09, 2022

Frontier Communications reported its first quarter 2022 financial results. The company added 54,000 fiber broadband customers in the quarter, resulting in growth of 10.4 percent from the first quarter of 2021. Frontier also built fiber to 211,000 locations. Ultimately, the company saw total revenue of $1.45 billion, down 10.7 percent from first quarter 2021. According to the company, its fiber broadband growth in 2022 has been offset by declines in subsidy, video, voice, and wholesale. Consolidated revenue was particularly impacted by the expiration of Connect America Fund II funding at the end of fourth quarter 2021. In total, the company is aiming to build fiber to 1 million new locations in 2022.

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BEAD and RDOF will both fund unserved areas - what happens next?

BEAD

Benton

Mike Conlow

May 09, 2022

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) will put $42.45 billion into broadband buildout, to be distributed by the states. Less than a year earlier, the FCC’s high-cost Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) committed $9 billion for rural buildout and subsidies in some of the same areas. Here, I explore which RDOF areas are likely to get funded, what that means for the remaining unserved locations, and the amount of funding each state will have for each remaining unserved location. From the vantage point of the states: If your unserved areas were funded by an established operator promising fiber to the premises, it doesn’t seem logical to use IIJA money to fund those locations. Also, you can imagine the RDOF winner would not be happy about another subsidized competitor in a high-cost area. After all, their take-rates and revenue projections are based on being the only provider of true high-speed broadband. It’s my impression we’re still in the goldilocks phase of this process—it’s pouring money for broadband. That’s a good thing. But there will be some bumps.[Mike Conlow writes about technology, policy, politics, and economics in various combinations in 'Mike's Newsletter'.]

TDS City Center HQ

One Third of TDS Addresses Now Have Fiber

Telecompetitor

Carl Weinschenk

May 09, 2022

TDS Telecommunications is serving 33% of its 1.4 million customer addresses with fiber, a calculation that includes cable markets. The company grew those serviceable addresses by 7% year-over-year. TDS added 22,000 fiber-enabled addresses to its footprint and announced markets in…

Circuit Supply Bill, Tribal Broadband Funding, Lightpath Serves More with Fiber

Broadband Breakfast

Broadband Roundup

May 09, 2022

Proponents of the Supporting American Printed Circuit Boards Act say it would increase domestic production and improve supply chain security.

Lobbying for Grants

Pots and Pans

Doug Dawson

May 09, 2022

Click to read more..

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Biden Administration Reduces High-Speed Internet Costs for Millions of Americans

ACP

Benton

May 09, 2022

President Biden and Vice President Harris announced that they have secured private sector commitments that will lower high-speed internet costs for millions of American families. As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the President and Vice President worked with Democrats and Republicans to create the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which allows tens of millions of American households to reduce their internet service costs by up to $30/month (or $75/month on Tribal lands). To ensure the most efficient use of those public dollars and to deliver maximum cost savings to families, the Biden-Harris Administration has secured commitments from 20 leading internet providers—covering more than 80 percent of the US population across urban, suburban, and rural areas—to either increase speeds or cut prices, making sure they all offer ACP-eligible households high-speed, high-quality internet plans for no more than $30/month. The commitments will allow tens of millions of ACP-eligible households to receive high-speed internet at no cost. The Biden-Harris Administration is also launching a comprehensive effort to make sure as many ACP-eligible households as possible take advantage of this new program.

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FCC to Consider More Money and Faster Speeds for A-CAM Rural Broadband

BEAD

Benton

Joan Engebretson

May 09, 2022

The Federal Communications Commission will vote in late May 2022 on a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking input on a proposal to establish higher speed goals for small rural providers that receive broadband funding through the Alternative Connect America Model (A-CAM) program. The proposal was made by the A-CAM Broadband Coalition, a group of providers that receive funding through the program. According to the FCC, 447 providers receive a combined $1.1 billion annually in A-CAM support, which runs through 2028 for most participants. The proposal calls for A-CAM providers to deploy service at speeds of at least 100 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream – an increase from the minimum of 25/3 Mbps, or in some cases less, that is required today. In addition, the amount of funding per location would be increased. Rethinking the A-CAM program would seem to make sense, considering that the $42.5 billion BEAD rural broadband funding program created in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act targets unserved and underserved areas, with unserved areas defined as those lacking 25/3 Mbps service and underserved areas defined as those lacking 100/20 Mbps service.

Welcome to Greenville

WOW! Doubles Greenfield Fiber Expansion Plans

Telecompetitor

Phil Britt

May 09, 2022

WOW! said today that it will double the number of locations targeted for what the company calls “greenfield” expansion plans. Although WOW! traditionally was a cable company and has used traditional cable HFC/DOCSIS infrastructure, the company increasingly is deploying fiber…

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Broadband equity and the high cost to Texans of rejecting federal funds

Benton

Robert Rivard

May 09, 2022

Gov Greg Abbott (R-TX) and other top elected officials in Texas have plenty of evidence before them of the social, educational and economic consequences for hundreds of thousands of families around the state without broadband internet service at home. Once Congress finally passes enabling legislation, Texas is expected to receive $53 billion from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) signed into law by President Joe Biden in November 2021. Only $100 million of those funds are earmarked for the expansion of broadband service in Texas, enough to deliver service to an estimated 1 million Texas households without service now. The state already has $500 million in American Recovery Plan Act funds intended to improve broadband service in rural communities. Abbott, however, has consistently expressed reservations about accepting federal funding that includes requirements for additional state funding, or funding that could prove to be short-lived. His predecessor, Gov. Rick Perry, believed the same, and as a result, Texas has forgone billions of dollars annually in badly needed Medicaid funding since passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. A crisis creates opportunity, yet accepting or rejecting federal funds likely will be an issue in statewide and legislative races this year. As learned in the pandemic, there are serious consequences when partisan politics trump the public interest. Texas should take the money and invest it wisely.[Robert Rivard is co-founder and columnist at the San Antonio Report.]

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Cable One says it isn't seeing fiber competition from AT&T or Lumen – yet

Benton

Masha Abarinova

May 09, 2022

Cable One saw an uptick in customer growth and revenue in first quarter 2022, driven by business acquisitions, and is seeking rapid fiber expansion with its Clearwave Fiber investment. CEO Julie Laulis thinks the latter especially puts the operator in a vital position against competitors. Clearwave Fiber is a joint venture formed by Cable One and a handful of private equity firms in January 2022, which aims to to deploy fiber-to-the-premises for underserved markets. Cable One invested about $440 million into Clearwave at the transaction’s close on January 1, with certain fiber assets from Hargray Communications – one of the companies acquired by Cable One last year – making up a portion of the joint venture.“We’re not seeing anything out of AT&T or CenturyLink, quite honestly,” Laulis said. “We have seen Frontier doing builds and they seem to be the biggest mover out of those three.” Half of Cable One’s fiber footprint is covered by AT&T, Laulis pointed out, and the other half by CenturyLink (now Lumen Technologies). Frontier, the third operator in Cable One’s footprint, spans a significantly smaller coverage area. Frontier recently reported a gain of 20,000 broadband customers, many of them new to fiber.

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ISPs Lobby for Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment Program Grants

Grant ApplicationBEAD

Benton

Doug Dawson

May 09, 2022

As you might expect, the lobbying is becoming hot and heavy to position internet service providers (ISPs) to win the $42.5 billion of Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) grants that will likely start being awarded in 2023. This is one of the most interesting lobbying challenges I’ve ever seen because there is no one central place that will be awarding these grants. Congress gave the responsibility for these grants to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), but the money is going to flow from them to the states. There seems to be a lot of lobbying happening with state legislators, but even that might not be very effective. States must file broadband grant plans that largely follow the rules established by Congress as interpreted by the NTIA. States will have some leeway on how to award grants, but states will still have to follow the basic NTIA rules. I fully expect many states will have bias. This could mean favoring grants for the large incumbents or favoring grants for cooperatives or municipalities. But even states with a bias will have a hard time turning down solid grant applications that includes a significant amount of matching funding from a local government. This raises the big question of who should be lobbied – the NTIA, state legislators, or individual communities? From what I’m seeing, the answer seems to be all of the above.[Doug Dawson is president of CCG Consulting.]

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Imagine Idaho Foundation launches state-wide internet speed-testing campaign

Benton

May 09, 2022

Imagine Idaho Foundation will conduct a state-wide internet speed-testing campaign. Data from the campaign will be mapped by GEO Map. The campaign aims to collect data on underserved and unserved Idahoans that can be utilized to challenge Federal Communications Commission 477 reporting and help Idaho counties apply for grant funding for broadband infrastructure projects. All costs associated with the speed-testing campaign are grant-funded by Imagine Idaho Foundation. “Relying on data from FCC 477 reporting will potentially leave millions of dollars in funding for broadband on the table,” said Imagine Idaho Foundation Co-Founder Christina Culver. “That’s why it is important for counties to conduct their own speed-testing campaigns that will produce granular data - giving them an advantage when grant portals open,” she added. The collection of this data will be down to the household level - providing an accurate depiction of how many underserved and unserved Idahoans there are.” “This course of action is exactly what Idaho needs to get its fair share of funding,” said Culver.

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Deep disparities in internet access found across Chicago in new analysis

Benton

Sophie Sherry

May 09, 2022

A new analysis by the University of Chicago has revealed vast differences in internet connectivity across Chicago (IL), with some neighborhoods reporting more than one-third of households offline. Researchers are now working to collect their own data to determine how the internet performs across neighborhoods, with the hope of influencing how $65 billion in federal funds to expand broadband access is distributed. Across the city about 80 percent of households have internet access, but researchers with the university’s Internet Equity Initiative found a nearly 40 percentage-point difference in connectivity levels between certain neighborhoods. In the most connected area, the Loop, more than 97 percent of households have internet access. That’s followed by Lake View and the Near North and South sides at 94 percent. But in Burnside that number is under 58 percent, and in West Englewood, less than 62 percent. Now that researchers have determined access is not uniform across the city, they can dig deeper into discrepancies in speed, performance and infrastructure, said Nick Feamster, faculty director of research at the Data Science Institute and a principal investigator of the Internet Equity Initiative. “Given better answers to all of those sub-questions we can then start to think about solutions and investment, … really trying to go hyper-local,” Feamster said. “Because the problem, although it’s popular to talk about as a national problem, is really a local problem. It varies so much across the city, and there is no data on that until now.” For the next step of the study, researchers will work with volunteers in 75 households and across 30 community areas, with a particular focus on Logan Square and South Shore.

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Comcast Extends Affordable Connectivity Program Enrollment to Xfinity Retail Locations

ACP

Benton

Phil Britt

May 09, 2022

Comcast announced it will soon start enabling customers to sign up for its Internet Essentials Plus service at the company’s more than 500 Xfinity stores. The offering includes 100 Mbps speed, a cable modem, access to millions of WiFi hotspots, and unlimited data for $29.95 per month and is free to customers eligible for the low-income Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Comcast is training customer service agents at its call centers to help eligible customers sign up for the Essentials Plus service and educate them about the ACP. Customers eligible for the $30 monthly ACP benefit can apply it to any tier of Xfinity service or Xfinity Mobile service. Comcast is also partnering with its Project UP network of thousands of non-profit organizations in communities across the country to increase awareness of, and participation in the ACP. The company said it has distributed more than $1 million dollars in grants to support dozens of local non-profits affiliated with the Hispanic Federation and the National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC). Comcast plans to invest millions in these types of programs in 2022.

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The FCC’s New Broadband Data Collection is About to Launch

Benton

Sean Stokes

May 09, 2022

The Federal Communications Commission is poised to implement a comprehensive overhaul of its existing broadband data mapping and collection process with a new Broadband Data Collection (BDC) program. Under the BDC, all facilities-based providers of fixed and mobile broadband Internet access services will be required to submit broadband data on a biannual basis. As discussed below, the initial filing window is between June 30, 2022, and September 1, 2022. Ensuring nationwide access to affordable high-speed broadband service is a national priority. A critical but elusive step in this effort is accurate broadband availability data. This challenge is even more pressing in light of the unprecedented federal broadband funding being made available under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). This entry is the first in a series of posts on the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection program and will provide background and an introduction to the program, as well as an overview of key requirements. Subsequent posts will delve more deeply into specific requirements as well as corresponding data collection provisions of the IIJA.

The White House Administration broadband infrastructure plan

White House: We Persuaded 20 Providers to Offer Faster and/or Lower-Cost ACP Services

ACP

Telecompetitor

Joan Engebretson

May 09, 2022

The White House said today that the administration has persuaded 20 providers to lower their broadband costs and/or increase broadband speeds with the goal of making internet service more affordable for “millions of American families” that qualify for the Affordable…

Statement: Biden Administration Celebrates Telecom Companies Undermining His Agenda images

Statement: Biden Administration Celebrates Telecom Companies Undermining His Agenda

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Jess Del Fiacco

May 09, 2022

The Biden Administration is poised to celebrate the nation’s largest telecommunications monopolies today even as these companies do the bare minimum for digital equity while undermining his administration’s broadband agenda.…

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SHLB and NDIA Call for Senate Confirmation of FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn

ACP

Benton

John Windhausen

May 09, 2022

We strongly urge you to take concerted action to promote the nomination of Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] to be a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. Sohn has been a long-time advocate for internet freedom, consumer protection, and digital inclusivity. The FCC cannot move forward on several significant public interest issues until Ms. Sohn is confirmed by the full US Senate. Reform of the federal Universal Service Fund, the success of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and impactful rulemaking on digital discrimination. In short, the Biden Administration’s stated goal of ensuring affordable broadband for all and solving the digital divide is in jeopardy unless Ms. Sohn is confirmed in the near future. While the vote to confirm her nomination must be made in the US Senate, many US Senators look to the White House for leadership on Ms. Sohn’s nomination.

BroadbandNow Publishes State Data Resource, FTC Cracks Down on Frontier, NordVPN and India

Broadband Breakfast

Broadband Roundup

May 06, 2022

BroadbandNow's latest state research gives users a clearer picture on where each state stands on broadband.

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How Can Universities Help Close the Digital Divide?

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Brandon Paykamian

May 06, 2022

With Internet connectivity now viewed as a public necessity for telework and education, universities across the US are partnering with local governments and community organizations on initiatives to expand broadband access and close the digital divide once and for all. Much of these efforts involve working with local and state leaders to identify areas most in need of resources, which was the focus at Purdue University’s Center for Regional Development, where officials created data tools such as Purdue’s Digital Divide Index to identify key barriers to technology adoption in regions throughout Indiana. According to Director Roberto Gallardo, the aim is to pinpoint where the digital divide is most pronounced, as well as its main causes and strategies to close it. “We generate a lot of information to turn around and help communities better understand their digital landscape,” he said. “The Digital Divide Index considers socioeconomic indicators, like which areas of your county have higher poverty, disability or seniors,” he added. “These are variables that we know affect technology adoption.” Gallardo said the university recently surveyed residents to gain a deeper understanding of their concerns relating to costs and service satisfaction, as well as the scope of issues such as the K-12 homework gap that has increased amid shifts to and from remote learning during COVID-19. He said the center also works to spread awareness about broadband access and digital literacy programs in underserved communities throughout the state.

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Let's Keep Driving Forward on Connected Cars & Next-Gen Wi-Fi

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Ian AdamsDeborah CollierRyan JohnstonJoel Thayer

May 06, 2022

These days, there isn’t a lot of harmony in the world of technology policy. But there is a bright spot of bipartisanship in a section of our airwaves: the 5.9 GHz band. In 2020, the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to modernize the rules in this spectrum to allow both Wi-Fi and automotive safety tech to operate. This win-win was celebrated by proponents of car safety and broadband alike. But now the Department of Transportation (DOT) is working on a study that may purposely have been designed to undo this decision. At a time when broadband is more important than ever, we should not undo this popular and bipartisan policy. Rather than relitigate the FCC’s policy on a spectrum matter that is squarely in its jurisdiction, DOT should focus on helping the automotive industry deliver on those vehicle-safety promises, bringing the automotive industry’s new C-V2X technology to vehicles. Spectrum is a finite asset, and after a twenty-year grant of exclusive use of the band, the FCC was right to not allow this critical mid-band frequency to lay fallow any longer. Given the importance of the 5.9 GHz band to the country, the federal government must speak with a unified voice on spectrum. Congress should direct the DOT to drop this testing immediately.[Ian Adams is Executive Director of the International Center for Law & Economics. Kathleen Burke is Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge. Deborah Collier is Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs at Citizens Against Government Waste. Alan Inouye is Senior Director of Public Policy & Government Relations at the American Library Association. Ryan Johnston is Policy Counsel for Federal Programs at Next Century Cities. Andrew Jay Schwartzman is Senior Counselor at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society. Joel Thayer is President of the Digital Progress Institute.]

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State Broadband Directors Have a Lot to Offer Each Other

State Broadband Offices

Benton

Benjamin Kahn

May 06, 2022

Fellow broadband offices are one of the most valuable resources new state broadband directors can leverage, experienced directors say. During the Broadband Communities Summit, Connect Maine Authority Executive Director Peggy Schaffer said that communication between state broadband offices is critical so that states do not make the same mistakes twice. “The knowledge that [broadband offices] share is [a great resource],” she said. She added that this is particularly important for newer broadband directors who may not have much experience working in the sector. Texas Broadband Development Office Director Greg Conte echoed Schaffer’s statements. He said that one of the first things he did when he found himself in his position was call Schaffer to discuss what actions Maine did to get their communities connected. Conte added that broadband directors should not shy away from looking towards the communities they hope to serve for help. “Do not forget your local community partners — they know what they need.” Conte said. “Communities are going to be your best assets when you are on the ground building that last mile [infrastructure].” Montana’s Broadband Program Manage Chad Rupe emphasized that broadband directors that are new to the sector should avoid getting sucked into the trap of only listening to one voice in the community — whether that is a small provider, a municipal entity, or an incumbent provider.

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Elon Musk Faces FTC Antitrust Review on Twitter Alongside Stock Probe

Benton

Leah Nylen

May 06, 2022

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reviewing Elon Musk’s $44 billion Twitter takeover, a person familiar with the deal said, setting up a deadline in the next month for the agency to decide whether to conduct an in-depth review of the transaction. Under US merger law, Musk is required to notify the FTC and the Justice Department of the transaction and wait at least 30 days before closing to allow an investigation into potential antitrust concerns. The FTC can ask for additional information, issuing what’s known as a second request, which would further delay closing. Antitrust experts don’t expect the deal to raise antitrust concerns. However, Open Markets -– the anti-monopoly non-profit group where Democratic FTC Chair Lina Khan got her start in antitrust –- has urged the agency to block the deal, arguing that it would give Musk too much control over free speech platforms. Musk also owns Starlink, a satellite-based internet provider operated by SpaceX, which is being used to provide internet to Ukraine. The FTC is separately probing whether Musk should have notified the agencies when he acquired a 9 percent stake in the company in March 2022. The Tesla Chief Executive Officer didn’t file paperwork with the FTC, seeking to take advantage of an exemption in the law for voting securities acquired solely for investment purposes.

Fiber network

American Association of Public Broadband Formed to Promote Municipal Networks

Telecompetitor

Joan Engebretson

May 06, 2022

A new association to be known as the American Association of Public Broadband (AAPB) was announced this week. The association aims to advocate for municipal networks and is open to government agencies that are planning to build or that currently…

lawsuit

Strong Words From the FTC as It Acts Against Frontier Over Broadband Speed Claims

Telecompetitor

Phil Britt

May 06, 2022

Lie about the internet speeds that you provide customers, and you will suffer the consequences. That was the message the FTC and two California agencies sent today regarding Frontier broadband speed claims. A proposed FTC order prohibits Frontier from “tricking…

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Ting Internet prepares to square off with Verizon Fios and Comcast in Virginia

Event

Benton

Diana Goovaerts

May 06, 2022

Tucows CEO Elliott Noss revealed its Ting Internet business expects to begin construction of a new fiber network in Alexandria (VA) sometime in the current quarter, after winning a bid to cover tens of thousands of locations there. The deployment will tee it up to challenge incumbent cable provider Comcast as well as Verizon Fios, which is in the process of upgrading its copper lines in the area to fiber. Noss said Alexandria already includes 90,000 serviceable addresses and is expected to grow considerably with the construction of Amazon’s new HQ2 offices in nearby Arlington (VA). Ting Internet was named as a winning bidder in the City’s solicitation in March 2022, and Noss said it expects to execute a franchise agreement with the municipality and begin construction in Q2 2022. This timetable puts it slightly behind Verizon, which began upgrading its network in the area in March. However, according to information posted by the city, Verizon’s transition from copper to full Fios there is expected to take three to four years. The deal in Virginia was one of several Ting Internet struck recently as it works to rapidly expand its fiber footprint. The operator also inked an agreement in January 2022 to become the anchor tenant on a network being built by Colorado Springs Utilities which will eventually reach 200,000 serviceable addresses in Colorado. Last month, it followed up with the announcement that it plans to build fiber to 130,000 locations in Aurora (CO).

rural landscape

FCC to Consider More Money, Faster Speeds for A-CAM Rural Broadband

Telecompetitor

Joan Engebretson

May 06, 2022

The FCC will vote later this month on a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking input on a proposal to establish higher speed goals for small rural providers that receive broadband funding through the Alternative Connect America Model (A-CAM) program….

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ISPs Drop Challenge to California Net Neutrality Law

Benton

John Eggerton

May 05, 2022

Lobbying groups representing broadband internet access service providers—including ACA Connects, NCTA, CTIA and USTelecom—dropped their challenge of a federal district court's ruling upholding California's net neutrality law. The ISPs had already lost a federal district court challenge to the law and two appeals court efforts to block enforcement. The suit was dismissed without prejudice, which means ISPs could refile it if they chose. California adopted the prohibitions on blocking, throttling and paid prioritization after the Federal Communications Commission eliminated its similar net neutrality rules and reclassified internet access as a Title I information service under Chairman Ajit Pai."The ISPs threw in the towel today on their challenge to California’s net neutrality law," said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, senior counselor to the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, one of those defending the law before both the federal district court and the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. "Realizing that they could not successfully appeal the January 2022 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to the Supreme Court, the ISPs gave up. They were forced to accept what most observers had seen: in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission’s decision disclaiming interest in treating broadband access service as subject to federal regulation, the states were freed to adopt their own requirements. Several other states have adopted net neutrality requirements by statute or executive order. The reasoning of the 9th Circuit court allows those provisions to remain in effect as well. The end of this litigation is a boon for free speech, competition and innovation on the internet."

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FCC Commits Nearly $39 Million In Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund Support

Benton

May 05, 2022

The Federal Communications Commission committed nearly $39 million in the 14th wave of Emergency Connectivity Fund program support, helping to close the Homework Gap. This latest round of funding is supporting 140 schools, 14 libraries, and 1 consortium across the country, including for students in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Puerto Rico, and Virginia. The funding can be used to support off-campus learning, such as nightly homework, to ensure students across the country have the necessary support to keep up with their education. Total commitments to date have funded over 10 million connected devices and 5 million broadband connections. To date, the Commission has approved over $4.8 billion in program funding commitments.May 13, 2022 is the last day for schools and libraries to apply for support to purchase eligible equipment and services for the 2022-2023 school year through a third application window. In this window, the FCC anticipates awarding at least $1 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund program support. This window likely will be the last opportunity for schools and libraries to request funding before available funds in the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund program are exhausted.

Trade Groups Drop Net Neutrality Suit, Ericsson Builds Wireless Testbed for Utilities, Think Tank’s Antitrust Approach

Broadband Breakfast

Broadband Roundup

May 05, 2022

ISP challenge was holdout after Department of Justice dropped a similar suit.

Viewers during auction. FCC Awards Most Licenses Won

FCC Grants All Licenses Won in the Valuable 3.45 GHz Mid-Band Spectrum Auction

Telecompetitor

Joan Engebretson

May 04, 2022

The FCC has granted all licenses won in the auction of spectrum in the 3.45 GHz band that concluded earlier this year. There were thirteen winning bidders in the auction, including AT&T, Dish, T-Mobile, UScellular and smaller carriers. The 3.45…

native american print

Tribal Connectivity Program Awards $77M to 19 Recipients Across 10 States

Telecompetitor

Carl Weinschenk

May 04, 2022

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a part of the Department of Commerce, has awarded 19 grants in the Tribal Connectivity Program. The grants total $77 million and cover tribal communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma,…