RCRC: Rural Broadband Mapping

A few weeks ago, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai sent letters to members of the House and Senate who raised concerns about the accuracy of the broadband mapping used by the FCC to measure households with access to broadband internet.  Chairman Pai wrote to inform the members that the FCC would implement a new order that would “result in more granular and more accurate broadband maps” through the creation of the Digital Opportunity Data Collection (DODC).

The DODC will require broadband providers to report areas they offer service below the census block level.  This reported data will then be independently verified by the Universal Service Administrative Company.  The DODC approach will be used by the FCC to administer $20 billion over the next ten years to rural broadband deployment through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

FCC Chairman Pai addressed his letter to members from rural states and districts who will be scrutinizing the FCC’s new method for broadband mapping closely.  While the DODC is a much needed step in the right direction for broadband mapping, the data collection process remains overly reliant on data from nationwide carriers.  It will be critical for the future of rural broadband deployment to measure the success of the DODC program and hold the FCC accountable.

The best of good intentions often go arie, and this is just another opportunity for the government to screw up.  Yes, hold the FCC accountable, do your own speed testing and report the results.  If you do not have a broadband connection report the failure of the local providers to support your needs for 21st Century Communications directly to the DODC.

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Broadband Is Too Important for This Many in the US to Be Disconnected

For the vast majority of us, broadband has become so commonplace in our professional, personal, and social lives that we rarely think about how much we depend on it. Yet without broadband, our lives would be radically upended: Our work days would look different, we would spend our leisure time differently, and even our personal relationships would exist differently.

But if broadband is an essential part of daily American life in the 21st century, how can we be comfortable with the fact that over 19 million households do not have a mobile or in-home subscription? Imagine if an electricity outage like the 2003 Northeast blackout occurred every day. Or if the Flint water crisis impacted the entire states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. That’s the scale of broadband disconnect this country experiences.

Simply put, the country needs to make an aggressive case to reach universal broadband adoption. But what does that even mean? Compared to electricity and water, do we understand all the ways broadband impacts individual and community wellbeing? Based on an initial scan of academic and applied research, the short answer is no.

With communities all across the country exploring ways to overcome the digital divide, and with Congress sending clear signals about the importance to address rural disconnect, now is an opportune time to help policymakers and practitioners understand the benefits of pursuing new infrastructure, public policies, and training programs. For us, that process begins with understanding where the current state of knowledge is clear and where it falls short.

Continue reading at Brookings.edu

 

5G Won’t Solve the Digital Divide

ILSR: Community Networks Fact Sheet

Since 5G connectivity relies on fiber optics that aren’t available in many rural areas, these communities won’t receive 5G access anytime soon. The same market reality discouraging investment in rural broadband will also discourage 5G investment. Even in urban areas, companies like AT&T and Verizon are unlikely to start investing in the low-income neighborhoods they have neglected for years.

This just one insight provided in the Pocket Guild to 5G Hype

Download HERE.

 

Microsoft Disputes FCC’s Broadband Availability Data

Microsoft is challenging the Federal Communications Committee’s (FCC) recent broadband-availability reports. According to Microsoft, the FCC’s data overstates the extent to which broadband is actually available throughout the nation. The FCC currently defines broadband as 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. In some areas, however, Microsoft asserts that not all households have access to this standard.

Microsoft has build an interactive tools to demonstrate their findings. Here is one example:

Screen Shot 2019-08-06 at 10.34.14 AM

Select your county at the link and see the results HERE. Scroll down the page to the interactive map.  The FCC disputes these findings in their Order to validate the Nations broadband maps.  More details in FCC Order FCCCIRC 1908-02 which Establishes the Digital Opportunity Data Collection system at this LINK.

 

 

Davis: Council Approves Fiber-Optic Network Deal With Astound Broadband

By Edward Booth Enterprise correspondent

The Davis City Council voted on Tuesday to lease city conduit to Astound Broadband LLC in exchange for fiber-optic services.

The agreement, set to last for 30 years, requires Astound — also known as Wave Broadband — to bring fiber-optic cable into the city and provide a high-speed network in Davis using existing city conduit. Astound will also expand the network to Yolo County buildings, specific city buildings and well/pump sites, and a connection to UC Davis.

Astound will be responsible for maintaining the network while the city retains control of the conduit. The estimated cost of building the network runs to about $1.4 to $1.5 million, according to a staff report.

Continue reading HERE

New Research Finds 31% of U.S. Households Without Broadband

Nearly one third (33%) of U.S. households do not have a broadband connection providing download speeds of 25 Mbps or faster, according to new research from NPD Group’s Connected Intelligence advisory service. The “vast majority” of households without broadband are in rural areas, researchers said. In the most rural areas, less than 20% of households have a broadband connection, they said.

Continue reading at Telecompetitor