FCC’s New National Broadband Map

On February 22, the Federal Communications Commission updated the National Broadband Map, replacing the original map that was released seven years ago by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The current map also has the ability to overlay satellite imagery. The map is currently using data collected in December 2016 based on Form 477 filings that broadband providers must make with the FCC. The map is based on census block level data. One of the features of the map allows the user to select a service provider and be able to see where the availability for that providers is located and offered. The map is cloud-based and will support more frequent data updates and display improvements at a far lower cost, according to the FCC news release for the map.

Improvements and features on the map will include:

  • Fixed deployment data based on the latest collection by the FCC and updated twice annually
  • Deployment summaries for seven different geographical types, which include nation, state, county, congressional district, city or town, Tribal area, and Core-based Statistical areas (like City NY-NJ-PA)
  • Broadband availability and provider counts in each of the nation’s over 11 million census blocks for six technologies that include fiber, DSL, cable, satellite, fixed wireless, as well as seven speeds for a total of 441 combinations
  • Deployment comparisons between geographic areas
  • A portal for data downloads
  • Satellite imagery map overlay that shows buildings, roads, and geography
    Graphs that show what fraction of an area’s population has access to broadband at a given speed

H/T to Utah Broadband Outreach Center for write up.


5G Update: Small Cell Environmental Streamlining and City Roadmaps

Small Cells

Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr will talk 5G and his ideas for streamlining wireless infrastructure deployment at a CTA event on the next-generation service at Wilkinson Barker Knauer’s office this morning. Expect him to touch on targeting historic and environmental reviews for small cell installation. He’ll be followed by a panel discussion with representatives from Cisco, AT&T, Starry, Google, Samsung and Consumer Policy Solutions, moderated by Margaret.


T-Mobile, Sprint drop 5G roadmaps: “Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile said it plans to build out 5G in 30 cities this year, but named only four: New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas,” GeekWire reports. “Sprint is starting with six cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.”

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech


Broadband Connectivity is Social Necessity

Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), and Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) have introduced legislation that calls on the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis to study the economic impact of broadband deployment and adoption. “Broadband connectivity is no longer a privilege, it is a fundamental necessity in society, and Congress needs to ensure that all communities, from Appalachia to Cupertino, have reliable access to the internet, regardless of geography or income,” Khanna said, in a statement.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech


StarLink Satellite Update

Elon Musk claims SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellite service will be IP-less

Musk’s IP-less satellite Starlink service could change how we use the internet forever.

Starlink, a massive satellite-based broadband internet service set to enter orbit in the near future, is said to be completely IP-less. At least, that’s what its creator and SpaceX founder Elon Musk claimed would be the case.

In response to a tweet musing what connection type SpaceX will utilise for Starlink, the tech entrepreneur explained that Starlink won’t utilise standard IPv6 connections. In fact, he states it “will be simpler than IPv6 and have tiny packet overhead.” It’s also “definitely” going to be a peer-to-peer connection.

As one Twitter user pointed out, this would mean SpaceX’s Starlink terminals would receive over-the-air updates in a very similar way Musk’s Tesla brand of automobiles do.

Read the whole article HERE, as there are multiple problems with this approach, including the lack of government control.  However, StarLink has huge potential for rural broadband access in the US and around the world. These issues will be resolved.



Senate Pushes for Dedicated Broadband Funds

 . . . Thursday, the Senate takes its first bite at the Trump administration’s infrastructure proposal during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing featuring Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. The panel includes telecom-savvy lawmakers such as Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (who is pushing to include dedicated funding to tackle the digital divide), so we’ll be tracking for mentions of broadband.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

Rural Broadband needs to have access to dedicated funds, as it lacks the dedicated organizations that other infrastructure sectors have.

Microsoft President Brad Smith Calls for Digital Marshal Plan

At Governor’s Meeting Smith joined the governors of Arkansas and Colorado on stage to discuss the persistent digital divide means fewer education and work opportunities for people without broadband internet access.Smith called for a “digital Marshall Plan” for the country that combines public and private sector investment to ensure those living in rural communities have “the future they deserve.” Microsoft aims to bring broadband to 2 million people by 2022 through partnerships with internet providers, in part using white spaces between TV channels to deliver internet to unserved areas. On Sunday, Microsoft announced a new project in Wisconsin and Michigan to that end.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech [edited]

In a state that prides its self on being a technology leader, one has to wonder where is California’s whitespace TV project?  Microsoft started with 14 U.S .projects, adding two more in Wisconsin and Michigan. Why not add one in California, especially in the Sierra where whitespace TV could provide service in highly forested areas.


Department of Agriculture Rural Prosperity

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order establishing the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity “to ensure the informed exercise of regulatory authority that impacts agriculture and rural communities.” As Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue was selected to serve as the chairman of the Task Force, which includes 22 federal agencies as well as local leaders. In response to President Trump’s call to action to promote agriculture and rural prosperity in America, the Task Force envisioned a rural America with world-class resources, tools, and support to build robust, sustainable communities for generations to come. Members of the Task Force met, along with staff involved in separate working groups, to set priorities and a framework. Along the way, the Task Force held several “listening sessions” across the country and gathered recommendations through direct engagement with stakeholders, consultations with state, local, and tribal governments, as well as federal agencies with equity in rural America. Secretary Perdue even traveled to 30 states and held two RV Tours covering over 2,200 miles. Most importantly, the Task Force listened to the people of rural America.

Report with Video is HERE.  Full report is posted under the Government Tab above

Bottom line message for the President:

e-Connectivity for Rural America: In today’s information-driven global economy, e-connectivity is not simply an amenity – it has become essential. E-connectivity, or electronic connectivity, is more than just connecting households, schools, and healthcare centers to each other as well as the rest of the world through high-speed internet. It is also a tool that enables increased productivity for farms, factories, forests, mining, and small businesses. E-connectivity is fundamental for economic development, innovation, advancements in technology, workforce readiness, and an improved quality of life. Reliable and a ordable high-speed internet connectivity will transform rural America as a key catalyst for prosperity.



RCRC on Rural Broadband

Rural broadband is a top priority for rural infrastructure, but this week’s White House press release confirms the President’s infrastructure package will not dedicate funding, or direct Governors to use funds, for broadband deployment projects.

This lack of guidance does not bode well for Rural Broadband which does not have a dedicated cheerleading organization with the political clout that other infrastructure sectors have in California. The organization with the loudest voice with the most significant number of members with skin in the game will have the most impact on how the initiative funds are spent.

The question is how do rural citizens and business ensure that the broadband is essential infrastructure message gets the attention it deserves? Please post your ideas in the comments!

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