California’s broadband privacy bill (A.B. 375), which would have reinstated the FCC’s privacy rules, died in the “final minutes of [the] legislative session,” according to an update from the Los Angeles Times. Sponsored by Assemblyman Ed Chau, the legislation would have required internet service providers to get users’ opt-in consent before sharing their internet browsing data with advertisers. Congress voted to roll back the FCC’s broadband privacy rules using the Congressional Review Act earlier this year. Much like they did at the federal level, tech and telecom companies including Google and AT&T came together to lobby against the state measure. Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler backed the California bill and argued its passage could set an important precedent. Massachusetts, Minnesota and New York are among states weighing similar policies. Source: Politico Morning Tech
The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program has taken a detailed look at broadband in America and found some areas come up short, mainly in rural areas where the population density is low, which include many communities in the Sierra.
Mapping Broadband availability and subscription in American Neighborhoods
Executive Summary Highlights
The internet is now a fundamental component of the American economy, creating new ways to educate, employ, bring services to, and entertain every person. Broadband, especially wireline broadband in American homes, is the essential infrastructure for unlocking the internet’s economic bene ts. However, broadband infrastructure is far from ubiquitous, both in terms of where it operates and who subscribes to it, and those de cits are not shared evenly across the country. As such, policymakers have a responsibility to understand a national digital divide that has different contours depending on the place.
Using data from the Federal Communications Commission and the American Community Survey, this paper assesses broadband’s deployment and consumer subscriptions at the census tract level. It finds:
As of 2015, broadband services were available to 93 percent of the nation’s population, but large availability gaps existed in lower-density areas.
Most major metro areas offer near complete broadband coverage to their residents, but lower- density, more agriculturally focused regions in the South and West lag behind.
Over 73 million people (23 percent of the nation’s population) live in neighborhoods where in-home broadband subscription rates fall below 40 percent, but the gaps are largest in less dense regions.
Nearly every large metro area includes neighborhoods with subscription rates below 40 percent, but the gaps are largest in less dense regions. Over half of the population in metropolitan
Eighteen of the 20 metro areas that rank highest on a combined index of broadband availability and subscription are in Florida, the Northeast, and the Pacific Coast.
The full report is HERE: broadbandreport_september2017
I will be examing sections of the report as they relate to specific rural communities in the Sierra.
A coalition that includes the American Conservative Union and Citizens Against Government Waste is throwing its support behind the use of TV white spaces to increase access to broadband, a priority for Microsoft. “By ensuring that three usable TV channels are available for white space broadband transmission purposes in every market in the country, the commission will free spectrum from existing regulatory limitations and make it available for highly beneficial and efficient broadband internet use,” the groups told the FCC. Source Politico Morning Tech
The issue of broadband privacy is back – or at least it is in California, where the legislature is due to vote on a bill (A.B. 375 ) today that would reinstate the FCC’s rules. The legislation, which has the backing of former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, would require internet service providers to get users’ opt-in consent before sharing their internet browsing data with advertisers. Congress voted to roll back the FCC’s broadband privacy rules using the Congressional Review Act earlier this year. Much like they did on the federal level, tech and telecom companies have come together to lobby against the bill. A number of other states including Massachusetts, Minnesota and New York are also weighing similar policies. Wheeler argued the outcome in California could set an important precedent for other places to follow.
Politico is tracking.
Message from the CTIA, America’s Wireless Industry Association.
America invented the cell phone, the smartphone, and the app industry—and today’s 4G networks were deployed here first. We lead the world in wireless, and that leadership brings significant benefits. Today, the U.S. wireless industry supports over 4.6 million jobs and contributes roughly $400 billion annually to our economy—more than the auto manufacturing, agriculture, and oil and gas industries. No industry is more central to our daily lives.
But without swift action and sensible policies, America’s continued wireless leadership is at risk. The race to deploy tomorrow’s 5G networks is on—and we’re at a critical moment. The EU, China, Japan, South Korea and others are doing everything they can to seize our wireless leadership. https://raceto5g.ctia.org/
Message from The League of California Cities, the California State Association of Counties and the Rural County Representatives of California
SB 649 is a telecom power grab that gives them profits at the expense of California communities. A video is available at https://youtu.be/ur8J1IvCijc
City and county leaders and others are urging the Legislature to reject legislation that would severely limit local input on where telecommunications companies could install wireless equipment on public infrastructure. It also puts an arbitrary cap on reimbursement for the use of public property. Over 215 cities and dozens of counties oppose SB 649.
Slowing down the implementation of G-5 broadband slows down economic development in rural counties. The government wants a revenue stream they can count on rather than active economic development which is a larger risk. In the process, there is a possibility that rural communities will continue to isolate them selves from the digital world, of self-driving cars, automated agriculture, remote health care, better educations delivery and more opportunities for entrepreneurship.
I would like to hear from readers. What is your option?
As smart technology grows more essential to modern ag, farmers languish in digital dead zones
An excellent article by Karen Wilkinson on the challenges that rural farmers face in a digital age. These farmers have been left out of the broadband revolution as they struggle to survive in a digital world. More agricultural equipment depends on a digital connection.
One small correction. “Nevada City also won a contest sponsored by Google in 2010 to build a gigabit fiber network.” Nevada City applied but did not win the contest sponsored by Google; Kansas City was selected for the demonstration project.
The full article is in the September issue; a link is HERE.
Editors Note: The online version of the article has been corrected.
More details under Communities. It appears that California is still deciding according to this report in State Scoop:
Communication has been critical to the evaluation process in California, where SPOC Patrick Mallon said the state “owed it to public safety” to share as much information as it could. Mallon reported that the state held 12 outreach meetings across the state attended by nearly 800 people and that they gathered more than 700 comments. More than half, Mallon said, were related to concerns about network coverage.
“The major concern was coverage,” Mallon said. “AT&T has really stressed their capacity, but capacity does not equal coverage. There’s a lot of areas in California where AT&T does not have good coverage. Agencies that provide services in those areas expressed the concern that if FirstNet is not going to provide any coverage then there’s no reason for us to subscribe.”
Details are under Technology. More on the California Public Utilities Commission Decision 16-12-025, Analyzing The California Telecommunications Market And Directing Staff To Continue Data Gathering, Monitoring And Reporting On The Market in future posts.
TechNet, whose members include Amazon, Airbnb and AT&T, is supporting the use of a certain kind of unlicensed spectrum, known as TV White Spaces, to help bolster access to rural broadband, an effort that Microsoft has been championing. “TechNet is respectfully calling on the FCC to facilitate an environment in which unlicensed broadband technologies using low band spectrum (the so-called “TV white spaces”) can flourish,” the group writes in a letter to the FCC. “Taking this action, including preserving the availability of three 6 MHz-wide TV white space channels in every market across the country, will allow providers to make broadband more widely available and improve the lives of millions.” Source: Politico Morning Tech
More on Whitespace under Technology Link above.