Utilities To FCC: Stay Off Our Spectrum

— The Utilities Technology Council issued a lengthy and fierce rebuke to Thursday’s FCC vote to proceed to a rulemaking on expanding the use of 6 GHz spectrum, which advocates like Public Knowledge celebrate for its potential use for unlicensed technology like Wi-Fi.

— Broadband broadside: “Although we understand the need for expanded wireless broadband, the risk of radio frequency interference to utilities’ mission-critical networks outweighs the potential benefits from unlicensed use of the band,” said Joy Ditto, who leads the utility trade group. “We are greatly concerned that the proposed rulemaking as drafted would not sufficiently mitigate potential interference to utility systems from these new unlicensed operations.” She argues “there are other spectrum bands more suitable to achieve the Commission’s goals.”

Advertisements

Today: White House Spotlights 5G

— The White House National Economic Council is bringing together government officials, carriers, chip makers and trade groups for a look at the future of next-generation 5G technology. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is expected to give remarks about his agency’s work to support 5G services, and both Republican Commissioners Brendan Carr and Mike O’Rielly are planning to attend. The lone Democratic commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel, was not invited. The summit comes amid growing backlash from local officials over the agency’s approval of a plan to streamline the deployment of small cells across the country to support 5G — an order that will override local regulations.

— House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) expects to discuss the broadband provisions wrapped into Ray Baum’s Act, enacted into law this spring as part of omnibus funding legislation. He said the Trump administration is striking a better balance on 5G than earlier in the year, when a National Security Council staffer floated a proposal to nationalize 5G. “I think they’re rightfully concerned about cybersecurity and most importantly, we want the U.S. and U.S. companies in the lead globally,” Walden told John on Thursday. “So we’re not having to take somebody else’s technology — I’d rather have our companies in the lead, in the forefront, and I believe they are.”

— NEC Director Larry Kudlow will discuss 5G’s impact on the future of the economy, and will argue that the administration’s tax reform and deregulatory policies have helped lay the foundation for the technology, according to an NEC official.

— Other speakers include Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who will also deliver a keynote address, as well as NTIA Administrator David Redl and Deputy CTO Michael Kratsios. The event will include sessions on spectrum, rural broadband deployment, security and applications of 5G technology. About 150 people are expected to attend, including representatives from trade groups such as CTIA, the Consumer Technology Association, the Wireless Infrastructure Association, and companies including Intel and Charter.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

Fact Sheet Explains Why “Satellite Is Not Broadband” But?

Community Networks Newsletter

As a nation our goal is ubiquitous broadband coverage so every person, regardless of where they live, can obtain the fast, affordable, reliable Internet access necessary for modern times. For people in rural areas, where large national wireline providers don’t typically invest in the infrastructure for high-quality connectivity, satellite Internet access is often their only choice. In our Satellite Is Not Broadband fact sheet we address some of the reasons why depending on satellite Internet access to serve rural America is a mistake.

Download Fact Sheet HERE.

Analysis:

The data sheet is correct satellite broadband is expensive, it suffers from high latency and from weather interruptions.

Latency is the time it takes for a signal to get from the ground to satellite and back to the ground again. It is not a big issue when you’re sending emails or trying to view a static webpage. However, for online education, telehealth and virtual reality high latency can be a showstopper for any service requiring real-time communications.

SpaceX has proposed to reduce the latency issue with it’s Starlink Program. SpaceX’s idea is to put its satellites into much lower orbit than usual, in order to cut the latency of the services. A typical internet satellite in geostationary orbit is more than 22,000 miles above ground. According to SpaceX’s FCC filings, the company wants to put its Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit, between 684 and 823 miles in the air.

Space x wants to initially deploy 800 satellites in low Earth orbit, in order to cover “initial U.S. and international coverage.” Then it wants to throw over 7,000 more into the sky at “Very Low Earth Orbit” (VLEO, in this case around 211 miles up) to fill in the blanks as needed.

Also, SpaceX is not the only satellite company seeking to provide broadband services. OneWeb, Telesat, and Space Norway have also received the FCC’s go-ahead for similar low altitude satellite services. The competition should reduce the price and smaller low altitude satellites will reduce the latency problem, but all will have to deal with the weather.

Given the Telco focus on 5G which is not a rural friendly technology due to the low user density which makes the return on investment questionable, low altitude satellite may be the only options for rural communities for a long time. Getting taxpayers to pay for the fiber networks that 5G needs to cover rural communities are going to be a tough nut to crack.

Verizon Promises Truly Unlimited Home 5G

Verizon’s new wireless home broadband, launching on Oct. 1 in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Sacramento, will come with no caps, no throttling, and no deprioritization.

LOS ANGELES—Verizon has plenty of room to deliver the wireless home broadband experience everyone really wants, chief network officer Nicki Palmer told us at Mobile World Congress Americas today.

That means Verizon 5G Home—launching on Oct. 1 in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Sacramento—will offer all you can eat speeds over 300Mbps with no caps, throttles, or deprioritization, at $50 per month for Verizon Wireless customers and $70 per month for others.

Full article HERE.

What about rural 5G? Verizon is focusing on mmWave 5G, that is not the best technology for rural applications.

Field Level Broadband Mapping Proposal

I have been working on the problem of broadband mapping accuracy since the summer of 2013 when the Gold County Broadband Consortia collected broadband survey forms at the Nevada County Fair. Plotting the information gathered at the Fair revealed some significant gaps in the California Broadband Maps. 

The GCBC worked with the California Public Utilities Commission staff to came up with a standard form which could handed out at community meetings to collect field level information on actual broadband coverage in the GCBC areas of responsibility, Sierra, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado Counties and eastern part of Alpine County The form was eventually put online, producing a spreadsheet that with a little clean up could be forwarded directly to the CPUC for inclusion on broadband maps.  Sample online map is HERE.

The problem of collecting field level data which show the real broadband coverage is a significant challenge for state and federal agencies responsible for producing accurate broadband maps. Maps which are essential for policy making and the equitable distribution of broadband subsidies.  I have been thinking about the problems for some time and propose the following solution.

In 1867, Oliver H. Kelley, an employee in the Department of Agriculture, founded the Grange. The Grange’s purpose was to provide farmers with an organization that could assist them with any difficulties that arose. One of the latest difficulties is the lack of broadband in rural communities. 

Rural Granges places them in the right location to participate in a grassroots field level broadband data collection program. Broadband access is becoming a component of modern agriculture, and the national Grange organization has highlighted the need for agricultural access to this critical infrastructure.  Granges have a vested interest in making sure broadband maps accurately reflect the real coverage.

According to the  National Grange Organization:

“. . .America’s most pressing broadband problem: our national need to expand high-speed Internet access across rural and underserved areas.”

State agencies responsible for broadband maps should consider developing a grassroots field level data collection program in conjunction with the State and County Granges in those counties with poor broadband coverage. The Granges collect the data in the field and state agencies consolidate the data in spreadsheets, create shape-files for submission to FCC/NTIA for publication of field level broadband data. 

With granges all across America, this program could be replicated in all states with large gaps in broadband coverage. This real-world data will help solve the national broadband mapping accuracy problem. 

This is a sketch of an idea, with lots of work and coordination ahead to create a fully functional program. Your thoughts?

This Technology Is About to Change the World–But No One Is Talking About It

Marc Emmer at Inc. Magazine

5G will drive artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and change the world forever.

You’ve heard it all before. Augmented reality, virtual reality, AI, robots, blah, blah, blah.

5G is the ugly duckling of technology, yet it is the one that will radically change the world. According to the MIT Technology Review, 5G is a “technological paradigm shift, akin to the shift from the typewriter to the computer.”

Here are seven ways small and mid-market businesses will benefit.

1. 3D
One technology that has not broken through is holographic projection, the technology offered in head-mounted displays. While technologies such as Google Glass were a flop, they were introduced prematurely. The business implications for 3D are enormous.

In the near future, business meetings will be held in 3D, allowing for more meaningful modeling, use of CAD drawings, and more “lifelike” presentations. Imagine the use of holographs for purposes of proving an illustration of how a product could work, or in sales training. 3D will be a new world.

2. Enhanced Video
Companies will have access to higher resolution video with low latency. While this has implications for everything from video games to marketing, perhaps the most immediate impact will be in recruiting. Companies use video for recruiting, but in a clumsy fashion and usually only as a supplement for face-to-face interviews. Enhanced video will allow companies to expand the reach of whom they recruit and promote a faster process.

3. Opportunities for Telecommunication Companies
World War III has broken out in telecommunications, where Qualcomm has developed a modem that will deliver 5G. But the company is saddled by ongoing anti-trust issues with the EU, Apple and others. To date, the major cell phone carriers have not announced plans for 5G-enabled phones to be released in the near future.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the telecommunications industry employs over 760,000 workers, many of whom will take part in the rollout of 5G and related technologies. The greatest opportunities emerge when there is chaos in a market, and this market defines chaos.

4. Healthcare
Today’s implanted wireless devices are unreliable. MIT News says the use of Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare-enabled devices will dramatically expand, allowing patients and care providers real-time data and more predictive care.

5. Smarter Homes and Cities
5G will be the spark to ignite IoT as home and business devices like security, lighting and audio will become more capable and cheaper to operate. Companies in this space will thrive.

Companies in 5G-enabled cities will have an advantage over those who do not. AT&T is rolling out 5G in phases, beginning with this year’s watered-down version expanding into 140 markets.

6. Connectivity for Customers
According to The International Journal of ICT Economy, Governance and Society, 5G will provide connectivity to 90 percent of the world’s population by 2027. Companies offering payment systems, healthcare and business services to the third world will have access to new markets and customers.

7. Autonomous Vehicles
Hype about autonomous vehicles has been muted by recent accidents that highlight their unreliability. For roadways to support millions of autonomous vehicles will require more reliable networks. 5G will allow autonomous vehicles to better detect hazards, communicate with other vehicles, interact with smart signage and follow more precise maps.

If you live in a rural community, this is all pie in the sky that you will never see unless you go to the big city an visit a family relative who can give you a demonstration. 5G is highly dependent on a robust and expensive infrastructure to bring the broadband signals to the antenna and return them to the server farms for some AI inferencing and data storage.

Rural communities do not have broadband access today because they lack the backbone infrastructure to bring the network into the community, and the reason is cost. The 5G infrastructure is more complex and more costly than the missing 4G infrastructure. So who is going to pay for the 5G infrastructure? The same people that did not bring you the 4G infrastructure because it cost too much. 5G companies are ROI driven; they are not in the charity business.

If you are a rural community decision maker do not believe the 5G hype, it will never happen in your community if the telcos have to build the costly infrastructure. Build a community network and sell the bandwidth to the 5G providers.

What no one is talking about is the infrastructure cost of 5G!

Rural Broadband Economics: A Review of Rural Subsidies

INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY
This paper, commissioned by NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association and USTelecom – The Broadband Association, examines communications networks, road networks, and electric power networks as three key network infrastructure industries; and the resulting vulnerability in low-density rural areas with the highest need for targeted subsidies.
In establishing sound public policy (and rules implementing that policy) regarding broadband deployment in high cost and rural areas, it is useful to first consider the economics of investments. In particular, the economics of network investment in rural areas is germane. Networks in general exhibit economies of density; that is, costs per user (or usage unit) are lower in high density areas. As one moves to more rural areas, with any network, the costs per user become increasingly high, eventually leading to unsustainable business models to provide network services.

In this respect, there are similarities between networks in communications, electric power, roads, natural gas distribution, water distribution, and sewer networks. By the very nature of network economics, each industry exhibits economies of density and each reaches a point at which un-subsidized provision of service in low-density areas is not viable. The causes of higher costs in low-density areas are discussed in this paper using communications examples. In addition, the scope of low-density areas in the United States are considered.
The importance of subsidies to networks in low-density areas is described for each of the major U.S. network industries. The importance of subsidies depends in large part on whether there are substitute methods of providing similar services (e.g., wells for water, propane tanks instead of nature gas networks, septic systems instead of sewer networks).

Links to the full PDF can be found at USTELECOM website HERE.