Visualizing 5G Antenna Sighting

In his Brooking paper 5G in five (not so) easy pieces, Tom Wheeler former FCC Chairman identified several hidden issues. One of those issues was antenna siting.

There is an inherent tension between the right of localities to make zoning decisions and the impact of those rights on a national infrastructure like 5G. There has always been a stress between wireless network infrastructure and not-in-my-back-yard (NIMBY) concerns.
[ . . .]
The issue of antenna siting has been further complicated as some states have sued to overturn the FCC’s order. While states like Texas and Florida have passed legislation embracing the concepts, 25 others, including California and New York, have rejected the idea. The impasse has prompted two U.S. senators, John Thune (R-S.D.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) to introduce federal legislation establishing standards for public review of antenna siting. It is an issue that must be resolved, but in order to be resolved must rise above winner-take-all outcomes.

The number of antenna or small cells will be determined by the frequency spectrum used. Where mmWave (24 GHz to 38 GHz) will require a small cell on every city block or at 24 GHz about ever 224 meters.

5G small cell

Mid-band, often referred to as Sub 6GHz spectrum is typical 3.1GHz to 4.2 GHz, needs to have a small cell about every 1000 meters.

Screen Shot 2019-07-13 at 4.47.57 PM
To help visualize what that means geographically, I developed a grid map with a radius of about 224 meters and about 1000 meters and overlaid them on the Grass Valley and Nevada City Spheres of Influence.

An antenna every 448 meters.


An antenna every 2000 meters.

Low-band (600-700 MHz) can use existing towers with coverage measured in miles. Sprint is using portions of its assigned 4G spectrum 2.5-2.7 GHz for 5G service using existing large towers.

Which would you refer in your neighborhood, high-band mmWave at awesome speeds [20-30 Gbps] or mid-band at reasonable speeds [100 Mbps]?


RCRC: Rural Broadband Update

Last week, the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure held a hearing on broadband mapping data in rural areas. The subcommittee listened to testimony from a panel of rural broadband carriers on how broadband mapping data can be improved. As RCRC has reported in the past, accurate broadband mapping data is essential to closing the digital divide between urban and rural America. While the federal government continues to increase public investment in rural broadband deployment, accurate data is required to determine where funding should be prioritized.

In addition, rural carriers attempting to provide coverage for underserved areas are receiving misinformation on which areas are truly underserved. “As long as broadband maps remain unreliable and riddled with erroneous, overly broad coverage claims, we will not be able to maximize our efforts to reach all unserved areas or to sustain services in areas where funding is needed to do so,” said Beth Osler, Director of Customer and Industry Relations at UniTel, a local carrier from rural Maine. Dan Stelpflug, Director of Operation at the Engineering and Technology at Allamakee Clayton Electric Cooperative in Potsville Iowa, identified a separate issue with rural carriers. Stelpflug pointed out rural carriers are not adequately staffed to identify and apply for federal grants administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Rural carriers also lack the staff to meet the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) reporting requirements for projects funded by federal dollars.

Local and rural carriers are critical in closing the digital divide because they often served areas that are most underserved and most undesirable to nationwide carriers. In recent years, the federal government has committed more assistance to deliver high-speed broadband coverage to rural areas but the FCC needs to improve its broadband mapping data and engage further with rural carriers.

The FCC Needs AI Data Analysis Tools

Geoffrey Starks, FCC Commissioner at
With an estimated 2.5 billion plus gigabytes of data created every day, people, businesses, governments and organizations of every kind are generating and accessing more information than ever before. This information avalanche creates challenges and opportunities. For example, good data put to good use is revolutionizing healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing, and retail. But bad data poorly analyzed can be catastrophic for policymaking. It’s time for the FCC to step into the future by using artificial intelligence tools to address the continuing lack of affordable broadband to many communities—an increasingly entrenched problem of “internet inequality,” which impacts our economy and democracy and threatens the future global competitiveness of our country.

Congress has charged the Federal Communications Commission with ensuring that every American has access to affordable high-speed internet service. To do so, we must review massive amounts of internet service provider data so we know where broadband is and is not deployed. This allows us to target federal dollars and drive further deployment as efficiently as possible. There is a lot of money at stake. The FCC’s broadband support programs distribute over $9 billion dollars annually. Achieving an accurate understanding of broadband deployment has proven to be challenging for the Commission, which utilizes a process that overstates broadband availability and has failed to catch egregiously flawed data submissions. The FCC’s data is currently not granular or accurate enough to capture the actual number of homes or businesses that truly have connectivity.

Keep reading HERE. [Emphasis added]


Solving the BB Mapping Problem

See Telecompetitor Article:

USTelecom: Fixing Carrier Data Only Solves Part of the Broadband Mapping Problem; We Know How to Solve the Other Part

6/20/19 at 7:16 PM by Joan Engebretson

As the FCC gets set to address inadequacies with the way broadband availability data is collected from service providers, USTelecom is warning that those efforts are only part of the solution to broadband mapping problems. To know which U.S. homes and businesses do not have broadband available to them, we also need to know the exact geographic coordinates of those homes and businesses. And perhaps surprisingly, that information doesn’t exist, explained Mike Saperstein, vice president of policy and advocacy for USTelecom, on a webcast today, in which the organization offered an update on the USTelecom broadband mapping initiative.

“If we map only where broadband is, we have no idea where broadband isn’t,” Saperstein said. “We don’t know physically where the unserved locations are.”

That’s important because service providers need to know the precise location within a farmer’s acreage of the family home to determine the cost to serve that home. But as slides shown during the webinar illustrate, geocoding systems often don’t show the correct location of rural homes within a farmer’s or rancher’s holdings.


Source: USTelecom

The good news, Saperstein said, is that the USTelecom broadband mapping initiative suggests that solving that part of the problem “isn’t as hard as it seems.”

USTelecom Broadband Mapping Initiative

Broadband provider organization USTelecom launched its mapping initiative in March and has been working on creating what Jim Stegeman, president and CEO of CostQuest, called a proof-of-concept “broadband serviceable fabric” for Virginia and Missouri. CostQuest specializes in data about broadband deployments and was responsible for creating the cost model that underlies the FCC’s Connect America Fund. The company is also working with USTelecom on the broadband mapping initiative.

Also participating in the initiative are several other broadband organizations and broadband service providers, including AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, ITTA – The Voice of America’s Broadband Providers and others.

USTelecom, CostQuest and other participants followed several steps to create the broadband fabric, explained Stegeman.  They began with data showing parcel boundaries (which, in general, depict the boundaries of a farmer’s or rancher’s holdings.) They augmented that data with information from tax assessors about how the land is used (commercial, agricultural, residential, etc.) and about primary and secondary structures on the land. They also brought in data showing building polygons – essentially a bird’s eye view showing the outer dimensions of every building on a farm, including garages, chicken coops and homes.

Current rules for broadband programs such as the Connect America Fund call for bringing service only to the primary location on an individual homestead (although that definition could broaden in the future). Accordingly, logic developed to analyze the data makes a determination about the location of the primary location on a property, and a specific confidence level is calculated for that determination. A designated team then reviews the data. The review process also could use crowd sourcing to hone the results, Stegemen noted.

USTelecom expects to submit full results from the pilot mapping initiatives in Virginia and Missouri to the FCC this summer and estimates that a fabric for the entire country could be created sometime in 2020. The FCC could then use the fabric in combination with shapefiles, also known as polygons, from service providers showing where the providers offer broadband to determine which U.S. locations do not have broadband available to them. Creating the nationwide fabric would cost between $10 million and $12 million by USTelecom’s estimate.

In an email response to an inquiry from Telecompetitor, a USTelecom spokesman said “We are funding the pilot as a proof of concept that the fabric can deliver a targeted view of broadband service availability. We have been keeping the FCC involved with our process and demonstrating our results to them; our hope is that they will adopt the fabric nationwide as part of their ongoing proceeding. To do so they will need to make provisions on their end (for example, a vendor that would produce the fabric.)”

More CA Broadband Blathering

CA Economic Summit: Digital Inclusion Event Sparks Commitments Around Expansion Of Broadband In California

In a day marked by creativity, candor and collaboration, broadband stakeholders came together during a “Digital Inclusion Roundtable” on last week in Sacramento to develop a set of action steps to expand high-speed broadband deployment throughout California.

The Roundtable was convened through a partnership between the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) and California Forward. Its purpose was to promote policies and practices in state agencies to advance “Digital Inclusion” for all Californians. The event drew more than 40 representatives from state and local governments, League of California Cities, Rural County Representatives of California, Broadband Regional Consortia, internet service providers, tribal interests, the California Council of Governments, and other local and regional stakeholders.

In opening remarks, Amy Tong, director and state chief information officer for the California Department of Technology, noted that statewide broadband initiatives are a priority under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration, with much energy focused on the digital divide still facing the state.

“The broadband initiative is taking on a whole new life,” Tong said. “We have done everything we can under the circumstances, but there is a lot more we can do.”

Lenny Mendonca, the Governor’s chief economic and business advisor and director of the Office of Business and Economic Development, echoed those thoughts during a noontime address. He emphasized that broadband access is critical for public safety, education, economic development and a host of other state priorities.

“We really need to have a digitally inclusive economy,” Mendonca said. “It is a priority for the governor.”

The Roundtable discussion featured lively discussion around both opportunities and barriers for expanding broadband access to underserved and unserved areas of the state. It was designed to build upon the work of CETF to integrate Digital Inclusion into all state policies and programs.

CETF is a nonprofit corporation with a goal of broadband deployment and availability to at least 98 percent of California households by 2023 and overall statewide adoption of broadband service by 90 percent of households in that same time frame. The state has made progress, with 84 percent of California households in 2016 able to access high-speed Internet at home, according to a CETF analysis of progress between 2007-2017.

But as that analysis explains, “sobering challenges” remain with a digital divide in California that includes more than 5 million residents offline at home, and 14 percent connected at home by only a smartphone. CETF’s efforts to close the divide have included, among other initiatives, a focus on incorporating broadband deployment into state transportation corridor planning guidelines and recognizing broadband as a “green strategy” for reducing impacts on the environment and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

The event was designed to assess progress following a September 2018 stakeholder meeting by the California Broadband Council and the California Department of Technology, where participants explored the concept of “strategic corridors” to support broadband deployment. The concept, which arises under the state’s statutory “Dig Once” responsibilities, seeks to establish conduit installation specifications in strategic corridors where transportation projects are being constructed but no internet service provider or public agency is prepared at the time to install conduit.

CETF President and CEO Sunne Wright McPeak noted that the September 2018 forum “was a tremendous conversation,” and that the Roundtable in Sacramento was designed to “hear from state agencies – what you have done and what you intend to do.”

Continue reading HERE. [Emphasis added]

More broadband blather!  Where is the action?  CA blathers about broadband while the states global competitors take action. Even poorer states are taking action when CA the fifth largest economy continues to talk about the problem. Elon Musk’s Starlink will available before we see any concrete action by the state of Calfornia to serve its rural citizens.

CPUC Releases California Advanced Services Fund Broadband Adoption Gap Analysis

SAN FRANCISCO, June 19, 2019 – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has released an analysis on gaps in those subscribing to high-speed broadband internet. The Adoption Gap Analysis was ordered in Decision (D.) 18-06-032 and identifies various demographic barriers to broadband adoption and provides information to support important program and grant decisions for the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Broadband Adoption Account.

The analysis concludes that income, of all the demographic barriers to adoption, is the most significant factor contributing to low adoption (subscription) rates. As a result, the analysis identifies the top ten communities with some of the lowest adoption rates and lowest incomes in California that will be prioritized for grant funding.

In addition to identifying various barriers, the analysis adds data to the online California Interactive Broadband Map ( to include various demographic data at the census tract, block group or block level.

These resources will assist decision makers, stakeholders and potential CASF applicants to 1) better understand their communities and its needs; 2) identify the area’s specific barriers and how to address them; and 3) know where to best implement Adoption projects to yield greater benefits. Applicants interested in applying for grants in the CASF Adoption Account should use these tools and resources in developing proposals. The full analysis can be found here.


AI, Broadband Amendments Catch A Ride

— House lawmakers unanimously approved several amendments dealing with broadband funding and artificial intelligence as part of the second minibus appropriations bill on Wednesday and Thursday. That includes an amendment from Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) requiring the National Science Foundation to assess the social impact of artificial intelligence research it supports.

— On the broadband front: The House signed off on language forbidding the Commerce Department’s NTIA from relying only on the FCC’s carrier-submitted data in any update to its broadband mapping as well as an amendment dictating an additional $1 million be spent on its mapping efforts. In roll-call votes Thursday, lawmakers approved by wide margins amendments that would boost funding for the USDA Re-Connect broadband loan and grant program by $55 million and funding for the Community Connect broadband grant program by $5 million.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech