President Trump to hold WH Meeting on 5G and Rural Broadband (Updated 04-12-19)

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Looking forward to seeing the results of this meeting.  Rural broadband needs all the public attention it can get.  In the scheme of things, rural communities will be the last to get 5G unless some government action is taken to change the ROI for the telecom providers.

Update 04-12-19:  From POLITICO Morning Tech

5G IN THE WHITE HOUSE — Pai is slated to head to the White House this afternoon for a 5G-themed meeting with Trump, as Margaret reported for Pros. The afternoon event will focus on U.S. efforts to build the next-generation networks and comes amid feuding by Trump advisers on how best to advance the technology. The meeting is also expected to include a rural broadband funding announcement, according to an administration official. Remember: Pai briefed Trump on American leadership in 5G last week, and Trump also heard from AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson about his company’s progress.


The State Of Our Maps

— Senate Commerce holds a hearing this morning on the steps needed to improve the accuracy of broadband mapping data, particularly in rural communities where the lack of reliable information has become a source of frustration for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Panel Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) has criticized the FCC’s handling of the issue and, six months ago, contemplated the use of a congressional spending bill to force the commission to revisit the problem. “Flawed and inaccurate maps ultimately waste resources and stifle opportunities for economic development in our rural and underserved communities,” Wicker said in an opening statement shared with MT.

— Witnesses include USTelecom President Jonathan Spalter, who is leading his own mapping initiative. (Charter Communications and Microsoft both outlined their own concerns with the mapping process and suggestions for improvement in blog posts this past week.)

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

Lawmakers Revive Broadband Bill

— The ACCESS BROADBAND Act, which aims to expand broadband access in underserved areas, is now back in both chambers, lawmakers announced in a news release Wednesday. Reps. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) tout bipartisan support for the reintroduction of the measure, H.R. 1328 (116), which would also create an Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), meanwhile, are backing a Senate version. The bill passed the House but not the Senate in the previous Congress.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

The Press Release is HERE.

Bill Text is HERE   I am not sure this legislation and the organization it creates is going to solve any rural broadband problems. No mention of broadband mapping.

Presidential Candidate: Klobuchar Touts Broadband For 2020

— Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) last year turned heads in the tech sphere by suggesting Democrats could “run on” and even “win on” wonky-but-important issues like rural broadband on the 2020 campaign trail. On Thursday, she put that theory to the test by unveiling a major infrastructure proposal that seeks to “connect every household to the internet by 2022.” According to a blog post, the “plan will help close the urban-rural divide by creating accurate broadband maps to identify areas that lack adequate access … and provide greater incentives for existing providers to use funds to upgrade their networks to cover unserved and underserved areas.”

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

From the Amy Klobuchar web site:

Amy is proposing a bold, trillion-dollar plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure, invest in our future, and create millions of good-paying American jobs.

Broadband Infrastructure Proposal:

Connect every household to the internet by 2022. Roughly one in four rural Americans say access to high-speed internet is a major problem. That’s why as President, Amy will connect every household in America to the internet by 2022. Amy’s plan will help close the urban-rural divide by creating accurate broadband maps to identify areas that lack adequate access, focus on bringing high-speed internet infrastructure to areas most in need, and provide greater incentives for existing providers to use funds to upgrade their networks to cover unserved and underserved areas. Broadband creates jobs, opens new economic opportunities, and allows America to compete and succeed in an increasingly digital world.

I would like to have more information on the How. Throwing money at the problem has not solved it yet.


FCC Says Digital Divide Narrowed

— FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Tuesday that the agency’s annual broadband deployment report shows that the number of Americans who lack access to high-speed internet service dropped by 25 percent, from 26.1 million at the end of 2016 to 19.4 million at the end of 2017. The figure, an FCC spokesman said, reflects revised data provided by carriers for 2016. (MT readers may recall that last year’s report put the 2016 figure at 24.7 million.) The full report for this year is not yet public.

— Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel quickly disagreed with the report’s conclusion that broadband deployment is happening on an adequate and timely basis. “Millions of households — in rural and urban communities — have no access to high-speed service. That’s a fact.” The FCC said the data shows an improvement in rural parts of the country, with approximately 5.6 million gaining access in rural America.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

I will wait for the full report to see how the numbers were collected. If they used the Federal Broadband Maps or the Telco Self Reporting, there is a high probability the FCC numbers are wrong.

Broadband Campaign Issue?

Broadband on the brain: Even before launching her presidential bid on Sunday, Klobuchar was already talking up the importance of rural broadband as a 2020 campaign issue. The Minnesota senator told The New Yorker in December that Democratic candidates could “run on” and even “win on” issues like expanding broadband access in rural areas. In Congress, Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Broadband Caucus, has co-sponsored bills aimed at boosting federal agencies’ efforts to widen broadband access.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

What do you think, is rural broadband is a winning campaign issue?

Why we need to rethink education in the artificial intelligence age

Some Brookings Institute insight into the future of US education with the recognition that our education system is not meeting the STEM challenge, nor are our communications networks, especial in rural areas and low-income neighborhoods meeting the challenge. Without Government initiatives, the US is falling behind and our global leadership is at stake.

Read the whole article HERE.