C|NET: Why Rural Areas Can’t Catch A Break On Speedy Broadband

Everyone agrees on the mission to connect more people. But no one can agree on how to do it.

C|NET BB

 

 

This is part of CNET’s “Crossing the Broadband Divide” series exploring the challenges of getting internet access to everyone.

 

 

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In previous generations, communities thrived based on their proximity to infrastructure like roads, railways, airports and rivers to distribute goods. Today, it’s about having access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet. Communities without access will simply wither and die, says Jonathan Chambers, a former FCC official and partner at the Washington-based consulting firm Conexon, which works with electric co-ops looking to deliver rural broadband service.

People will vote with their feet and move away from places that do not provide high-speed internet access,” he said. “They will leave, and that community will not survive.”

[…]

But the biggest barrier to getting broadband in certain areas of the country is low population density. Broadband providers simply won’t offer service if they can’t get enough customers to pay for it.

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The advent of 5G wireless, which promises to bring increased speeds and network responsiveness, is also unlikely to reach rural communities.

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Market forces are what will drive the deployment of 5G,” said Blair Levin, who oversaw the FCC’s National Broadband report in 2010 and who served as chief of staff to Clinton-era FCC Chairman Reed Hundt. “The 5G economics are very different than they are for 4G. And cities, because of their density, are in a much better position to drive 5G deployment than rural communities.”

[…]

“Even if you make it cheaper to deploy and invest in the network, if you can’t sustain a business because the population density is too low, it doesn’t really matter,” Brake said.

[…]

. . . 5G, which needs hundreds of radios to cover relatively short distances, is likely prohibitively expensive to make sense for rural areas.

There’s also the use of unlicensed TV broadcast spectrum called white spaces. Microsoft, which holds several royalty-free technology patents for using this spectrum, announced a program in July 2017 to connect 2 million people in rural America by 2022 through partnerships with telecom companies. The company promised to have 12 projects up and running in 12 states in the next 12 months.

The FCC has set rules for the use of white space spectrum and established an administrator of a national database to identify channels that can be used by devices accessing the shared spectrum. But there have been problems with the database’s accuracy, and there’s not yet an ecosystem of devices, which means it could be a while before the technology is widely used by consumers.

Full Article is HERE.  Color highlights added.

 

 

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Intel Promotes 5G Technology on POLITICO

“5G is not simply about the next generation of connectivity, where transmission speeds are faster and latency is reduced. 5G offers the ability to connect billions of smart devices with billions of other smart devices, creating virtually unlimited computing everywhere.”

– Sandra Rivera, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Network Platforms Group at Intel

More HERE
Question: Will rural citizens have access to “virtually unlimited computing everywhere.”Will small rural communities have billions of smart devices?  I would like to see Intel make the case that their technology will bring ubiquitous computing to rural communities.

AT&T AirGig Power Line Broadband?

AT&T has started initial discussion with suppliers for a commercial deployment of its Project AirGig, which delivers wireless broadband over powerlines. In a Monday press release, the company also detailed its plans for additional trials and research into surface-wave systems, which could help AirGig integrate better into a 5G future.

Because AirGig sends the signal across power lines, it can reach more users in rural and suburban areas. According to our sister site CNET, the deployment of AirGig could bring 100-megabit rural broadband by 2021, opening up new remote work and telecommuting opportunities for professionals around the US.

“We’ve applied for more than 500 patents for AirGig and conducted field trials both in and outside the United States,” Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs and CTO, said in the release. “And today, we’re confident that we’re on the cusp of a technology that could potentially help to solve the digital divide in this country.”

The rest of the article is HERE.

All previous attempts to use power lines to deliver broadband have failed. Why should this one be any different? Your thoughts?

FCC Prepares to Push Forward With Streamlining 5G Deployment

A Federal Communications Commission member announced a proposed order Tuesday that would limit the fees municipalities can charge providers to deploy fifth-generation wireless infrastructure, as well as shorten application review periods.

Commissioner Brendan Carr, a Republican, highlighted his plan in a speech before the Indiana Senate—Indianapolis having recently been selected by Verizon to pilot 5G residential service later this year.

Carr said his plan would save providers $2 billion in unnecessary fees and streamline small cell deployments in both cities and underserved rural and suburban communities of all sizes. But an advocate for local government voiced concerns about the as-yet-unreleased order.

“I understand he is trying to offer a compromise to local government, but unfortunately it is just too much federal overreach,” Angelina Panettieri, principal associate for technology and communications at the National League of Cities, told Route Fifty.

Details at Route Fifty.

5G Is Not Going To Microwave Your Brain

With the transition to a new networking technology, some familiar scare stories are reemerging. You might even have seen a few in the comments here. “5G will give you cancer,” “mmWave technology leads to brain tumors,” and “smartphones are microwaving our bodies,” or so the stories go.

It’s all hogwash. Details HERE.

This chart tells the story, cell phone use increased, but cancers did not. This would indicate there is no immediate connection.

cellphone_cancer_rates

Your thoughts?

5G Is Going to Take Big Investment, How will it be Recovered?

There is growing discussion about the investment required to implemented 5G and how that investment is going to be recovered. Caroline Chan, Intel VP and GM of the 5G Infrastructure Division on the edge of 5G.

“How do 5G use cases benefit the enterprise?” she pondered during a panel conversation hosted by Cradlepoint in Austin, Texas, during a week of colocated 5G conferences. “That’s my personal interest–the enterprise edge. We all know that 5G, the way that we talk about, is going to take a lot of investment. Where are we going to get the return on investment?” Chan noted her involvement in 5G groups that look specifically at vertical use cases for automotive and industrial automation, for example. “The trick is, if you want to get more money, more than just a SIM card, you have to have enterprise,” she said.

More HERE.

My question is who is going to provide the investment for rural 5G? How will that investment go to be recovered, there are few automotive and industrial plants to automate and control through low latency IoT-type devices in rural communities? Low latency IoT applications is a core sales feature of 5G. How may low latency industrial applications exist in rural communities what would produce the revenue streams needed to recover the investment mentioned by Chan?

Rural communities need to examine their 5G expectations and consider some alternatives. Over 750 rural communities across the country have or are developing community fiber networks. More details HERE.

Digital Cities: Building the New Public Infrastructure

Broadband section of white paper by CISCO.

Laying the Foundation: Public Wi-Fi and Next-Gen Broadband

At just 3 percent or, $59 billion, of Digital Value at Stake, public Wi-Fi and broadband offer modest direct value for cities. But that low percentage belies far more significant indirect benefits, which is why public Wi-Fi and broadband underpin our discussion of digital capabilities.

Direct benefits of municipal networks come mainly through avoiding the high costs of leased lines and carrier-provided network services. In some cases, such as the City of Santa Monica’s, the city itself acts as an Internet service provider to residents and local businesses, drawing in additional revenue.

Barcelona’s more than 300 miles of fiber optic cable, for example, enable its many smart services, including water, energy, waste, and transportation management, as well as open government. This network is critical to smart lighting, public Wi-Fi, and the city’s nearly 20,000 smart utility meters.

Santa Monica’s mayor, Tony Vazquez, stresses that the city’s extensive investment in fast broadband “returned significant benefits for our community health, safety, education, and wellbeing as well as for stimulating and sustaining our local economy.” He cites CityNet as the catalyst for a vibrant startup community that has been dubbed “Silicon Beach.”

Virginia Beach, Virginia, is laying hundreds of miles of fiber optic cable to link almost 100 municipal buildings with high-speed broadband. City officials anticipate that the network will promote economic and educational opportunities, while speeding emergency response times and enabling traffic management. It is also supports their strategy of bridging the “digital divide” to fight inequality.

As of 2017, Seoul is offering free Wi-Fi in every public place, including subway cars and buses. The city sees public Wi-Fi as a cornerstone of its Open Data Plaza, an online channel where information is shared on everything from economic opportunities to available parking spaces.

Guayaquil is expanding its fiber-optic network and will soon provide free Wi-Fi to the entire city. One of the many benefits has been a telemedicine capability that allows patients in local clinics to receive expert diagnoses from major hospitals.

Full paper can be downloaded HERE.

Rural communities need to fully examine the benefits of a public network as an economic development tool. Build it and the entrepreneurs will come.