CETF: Let’s Talk Broadband! Newsletter

The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) Newsletter can be downloaded HERE.

The California Census Complete County Committee is working to ensure that all Californians are prepared for the first-ever online-only national Census in 2020. The Committee seeks Requests For Proposals from large foundations and community-based organizations (CBOs) with the administrative capacity and experience to help count the hardest-to-reach Californians. Learn about California Complete Census CBO Grant Opportunities. The deadline is January 31st.

Highlight added.  I just received the Newsletter on Jan 24 and the Deadline is Jan 31.

There is more in the Newsletter, I highlighted this section to draw attention to the short suspense date for Grant Opportunities.

 

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Bright Fiber Schedules Town Hall About High-Speed Internet Project

The Union:

Race Communications announced Wednesday that a town hall meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30 about the Bright Fiber high-speed internet project.

The town hall — at the Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City — will include a 10- to 15-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer session, said Ally Hetland, with Race Communications, in an email.

“By now, you have heard that Race Communications has acquired Bright Fiber Network, and you’re probably wondering what that means for you as an advocate and supporter of the Bright Fiber project in western Nevada County,” a release states.

Race has said the project will bring a high-speed internet connection to almost 2,000 homes along Highway 174. The project’s completion is expected by May 2020.

Read the rest of The Union Article HERE.

If you plan to attend plan to attend register online: http://www.nvctownhall.eventbrite.com.

 

FirstNet Newsletter

NEW FEATURES FOR FIRSTNET USERS

Wi-Fi and Video Calling launched Jan. 4, 2019, on the Samsung Galaxy A6. Wi-Fi and Video Calling allow first responders on FirstNet first access to the FirstNet packet core in the event the LTE Radio Access Network is not accessible and public Wi-Fi® access is accessible.

Real Time Text launched Jan. 4, 2019, on the Samsung Galaxy A6 and LG Stylo 4+. Real Time Text is a TeleTYpeWriter alternative for hearing- or speech-impaired customers that sends text as it is typed. It is useful for making both every day and emergency calls. You start a text conversation like a voice call, but it is different from instant messaging and SMS. Both parties see text characters appear on their devices as they are typed.

Master Local Control in minutes! Visit our newly-launched training site. And learn to quickly navigate the robust features and functionality available to you in Local Control. Participate in an interactive instructor-led 60-minute course, offered multiple times to fit your schedule. See the full list of training sessions available to you and register now to reserve your Local Control training session.

More Newsletter HERE.

 

Spectrum for Rural 5G?

Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wants the FCC to set up an incentive auction of the 2.5 GHz spectrum. “This is the spectrum that could make 5G happen in our rural communities,” she said during an event hosted by the Internet Innovation Alliance. She recommended some proceeds go toward solving what she calls the homework gap harming those without broadband connectivity.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

It is good to know that someone in government recognizes that mmWave 5G technology is not the right solution for rural neighborhoods. The question is will policymakers listen and then act?  While 2.5G goes farther than mmWave, it still has line-of-sight limitations.

Rural  Households Left Out of Internet Growth

Reading reports of internet growth over the past year, I learned that U.S. households consumed an average of 268.7 gigabytes (GB) of data in 2018. This is up from 201.6 GB for 2017, according to OpenVault, a leading provider of industry analytics and technology solutions for ISPs.

Some other findings by OpenVault:

In 2018 the percentage of households exceeding 1 terabyte of usage was 4.82%,

The rate of households using 1terabyte all more almost doubled in 2018, rising to 4.12% of all households up from 2.11% in 2017.

In 2018 the percentage of households exceeding 250 GB rose to 36.4% up from 28.4% in 2017.

Impressive growth across the board, indicating that consumption is growing across service providers’ entire subscriber bases, not just among the heavy users,  good news for everyone with one exception. Rural households that do not have access to high-speed internet did not experience any of this growth.

According to reports by the California Public Utilities Commission, less than half of roughly 680,900 households in rural California have broadband access. And, many of those that are connected have services which do not meet the minimum standards of 6 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up, or the FCC standard of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up.

It is highly unlikely that rural households will get any high-speed internet access in the near term. The brightest light on the horizon is service by the LEO satellites that will be coming online in 2020, maybe late in 2019 at the earliest.  

On Becoming Broadband Ready — A Toolkit for Communities

The Next Century Cities Toolkit offers a step-by-step guide on how to assess and establish your community’s broadband options.

Introduction

In 2018, the time has long passed since broadband access was optional. The internet has grown out of its luxury status and is now a bedrock ingredient for resilient communities. Fast, affordable, reliable broadband is essential to the long-term success of a community and to the health and happiness of its residents.

Cities, towns, and counties have an extraordinary amount of resources that can be leveraged to encourage investment in broadband infrastructure and ultimately lead to greater connectivity. While there is no one connectivity model that works for every community, there are common threads that run through the diverse array of successful projects. This toolkit is a compilation of those practices and the first-stop resource for any community seeking strategies and solutions to connect its residents.

Download your copy HERE.

 

Fiber: Nevada City is Missing the Revolution

I am reading Susan Crawford’s book Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution—and Why America Might Miss It. She is a Professor at the Harvard Law School. Amazon’s summary of the book:

The world of fiber optic connections reaching neighborhoods, homes, and businesses will represent as great a change from what came before as the advent of electricity. The virtually unlimited amounts of data we’ll be able to send and receive through fiber†‘optic connections will enable a degree of virtual presence that will radically transform health care, education, urban administration and services, agriculture, retail sales, and offices. Yet all of those transformations will pale in comparison to the innovations and new industries that we can’t even imagine today. In a fascinating account combining policy expertise with compelling on†‘the†‘ground reporting, Susan Crawford reveals how the giant corporations that control cable and internet access in the United States use their tremendous lobbying power to tilt the playing field against competition, holding back the infrastructure improvements necessary for the country to move forward. And she shows how a few cities and towns are fighting monopoly power to bring the next technological revolution to their communities.

To my surprise, Nevada City/Grass Valley and John Paul of Spiral Internet has a role in the book. His fiber project is used as an example of the struggle that private citizens must endure while attempting to bring fiber to a community that does not recognize the economic potential and only provides lukewarm support for the project.

It is important that the community, the local government, have some skin in the game; the lack of such involvement in John Paul’s Nevada City/Grass Valley has made it very difficult for him to privately finance the building of the Chip Carman network.

This is only one of the ten references to Nevada City in Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution—and Why America Might Miss It.

According to Crawford, Nevada City/Grass Valley are missing the fiber tech revolution.

Editor Note: Since Fiber was published, John Paul has sold his fiber project to Race Communications.  Nevada City/Grass Valley may still get some economic fiber. If you want to understand the fiber network issues I highly recommend reading Crawford’s book. 

Good News from USDA for Small ISPs

When the ARRA Broadband RFP was released, multiple small ISPs were interested until they saw the additional workload the owner and staff would have to invest, just to submit the proposal and decided not to participate. When Trump was elected he indicated his administration would support rural broadband funding. My recommendation to the Gold Country Broadband Consortia was to help communities prepare for the RFPs which would be forthcoming, but the Program Manager had other priorities. Her position was “We are not interested in Trump’s money”. A short-sided view of the problem and I terminated my consulting agreement.

I now endorse the USDA action to let small ISPs prepare for the release of their ReConnect RFP.  The important action is for the ISPs to take advantage of this extra preparation time.

USDA Official: States and Localities Need Skin in the Game for Rural Broadband to Succeed

When decision makers consider who should receive some of the $600 million allocated to the USDA ReConnect rural broadband pilot program, the agency will use a scoring system that awards points based on a range of factors, including the number of educational and healthcare facilities that would receive service – and for serving parts of states that have their own broadband funding programs. The latter criteria was included with the goal of “leveraging funding from outside sources” to “maximize the use of very limited resources,” said Anne Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at the USDA, in an interview with Telecompetitor.

“We believe the federal government has a role, but we also need to see skin in the game from states and local communities because this is an issue that really touches the quality of life in rural America,” said Hazlett, whose responsibilities include overseeing the USDA Rural Utilities Service program and several other units within USDA.

Hazlett pointed to another example of how the USDA aims to maximize the impact of limited funding: Applicants will be able to request funding in the form of a loan, a grant or a combination of loan and grant.

Full Article is at Telecompetitor

That understanding drove the USDA to release documents on December 14 explaining how to apply for ReConnect rural broadband pilot funding even though the agency will not begin accepting applications for several months.

That move, she said, should help people get any technical assistance they might need to submit applications.

Video of SpaceX Simulations

This is a video of Starlink simulation by Mark Handley, a professor at University College London. This is a video of the Phase 1 revision. It shows now a Starlink network is created with inter-satellite links and then used to simulate communicate between major cities across the globe.

This Starlink network is 2X faster then fiber networks over long distances. This will be the bread and butter feature of the network that will ensure it’s a financial success. Rural communities can take advantage of this success by becoming Starlink users.

For the reader who wants more details on Starlink, read this Draft Paper —Delay is Not an Option: Low Latency Routing in Space

 

Indoors-Outdoors — 5Gs Dirty Little Secret

Mike Murphy, CTO for North America, Nokia Corp has some interesting insights into 5G, which will have some impacts on rural broadband. Eighty (80%) percent of traffic originates indoors and twenty (20%) percent outdoors. However mmWave 5G does not penetrate walls, windows, and trees very well if at all. It is important to remember that 5G is more than a cell phone carrier, it is being marketed as a broadband service, with some mobile phone capacity.

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Murphy explains:

. . . there is another dirty secret in the closet. The rule of thumb for capacity, as embedded in the 3GPP channel models, is that 80% of traffic originates indoors and 20% outdoors. Compounding that, there is a seasonal aspect to traffic. During the cold winter months in the north, there is even less traffic outdoors (likewise, in the hot summer months in the south). With LTE, indoor traffic is primarily served by outdoor cell sites, booming signals through walls and windows. This begs the question: What happens when 5G needs to handle that indoor traffic?

In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning to auction off Millimeter Wave (mmWave) (24GHz, 28GHz and 39GHz) spectrum over the next two years. But mmWave doesn’t like hard things such as walls, windows and trees. Penetration loss is significant. This means 5G mmWave, practically, will not really be able to service indoor demand from outdoors-in (unlike low band LTE). (For completeness, we should note that T-Mobile US Inc. ‘s 600MHz spectrum and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) Band 41 spectrum (2.5GHz) can help in this situation to a degree. However, the number of petabytes needed is very significant, and it is unlikely these solutions alone will suffice.)

So where does this leave us? There are only two options. The first is to use low- or mid-band spectrum outdoors, and blast millimeter wave indoors; the outside-in approach. But in the dense urban case, we are already using that spectrum! So, the only real alternative is new mid-band spectrum. For the moment, none is in sight in the US until about 2020+ when the 3.7-4.2GHz band — or parts of it — become available. The other is to deploy mmWave indoors. The problem with going indoors versus using the outdoors-in approach is that everyone wants to get inside. Imagine Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and all the others showing up at your building and wanting to deploy 5G mmWave inside every room. Perhaps neutral hosting solutions may help.

Before we finish, let’s dismiss one counter argument. Some will say, “But WiFi will fix that.” WiFi, however, has its own growth problems, thank you very much. WiFi demand is also growing, at least at 30% or more, and it too has looming capacity issues, with no significant new spectrum becoming available either.

Cellular demand, meanwhile, is separate, independent and additive. So, there is no getting around it. 5G needs to go and bang on some front doors.

Full Article at Light Reading 5G

Will the 5G providers be banging on the doors in small towns and villages to install mmWave 5G in multiple building after populating the town with small cell towers ever 500 feet. Not likely, as the costs would soon exceed the potential revenue. The mmWave spectrum is not the right technology for rural broadband, whereas LEO satellites seem to have more potential.

The rollout plan for 5G is to serve the dense urban areas and then the suburbs and finally some larger small cities in rural locations. The timeline is about ten years; thus the LEO satellite broadband will be available long before 5G gets anywhere near rural communities in the Sierra and elsewhere. LEO bandwidth should be available by 2020. Go Starlink and OneWeb!

starlink_graphic