T-Mobile Rolls Out ‘Foundational Layer’ of 5G Wireless, Launches Two Compatible Devices

 

Details on GeekWire.com

The money quote for rural users:

Critics claim that the marketplace will become less competitive if T-Mobile’s mega-merger with Sprint is allowed to go through. But the companies say that the deal will help them improve wireless service, particularly to rural and underserved communities.

The money quotes for the mmWave technophobes is this is a low-band roll out, with mid-band next. These are are all frequencies currently in use, mmWave does not have much application in rural communities.

CPUC to Hold Communications en Banc to Discuss the Future of California’s Communications Grid

SAN FRANCISCO, December 5, 2019 – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is hosting an En Banc on the future of California’s communications grid to address how the state’s processes and regulations will need to evolve to stay relevant to Californians.

WHAT: CPUC Communications Division’s En Banc: “A Provider Perspective on the Future of California’s Communications Grid”

WHEN: Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: CPUC Auditorium, 505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102; also available via webcast at http://www.adminmonitor.com/ca/cpuc

BACKGROUND

The communications market is changing rapidly. What began as a statewide, copper-based telephone network of franchise monopoly local exchange companies has evolved into a diverse, multi-provider and multi-technology broadband network that relies on copper, fiber optic, wireless, and satellite infrastructure.

This En Banc is the second in a series of stakeholder engagement opportunities envisioned by the CPUC’s Communications Division to address how the state’s processes and regulations will need to evolve to stay relevant to Californians. The public is invited to this En Banc to hear providers’ perspectives regarding the state’s communications grid, challenges, and future work relating to network resiliency, reliability, affordability, and consumer protection.

There will be an opportunity for public comments at the En Banc.

For more information, including a final agenda please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov/CDenbanc.

Source: CPUC Mailing List[lightly edited]

I am wondering if “satellite infrastructure” includes the introduction of LEO satellites capable of providing ubiquitous fiber quality broadband to rural users across California. I suspect that the CPUC is only thinking of HughesNet and Viasat, the only providers of rural broadband today.

FCC Announces Plan to Launch $9 Billion 5G Fund for Rural America

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai intends to establish the 5G Fund, which would make up to $9 billion in Universal Service Fund support available to carriers to deploy advanced 5G mobile wireless services in rural America. This investment would be allocated through a reverse auction and would target hard-to-serve areas with sparse populations and/or rugged terrain. The $9 billion Fund also would set aside at least $1 billion specifically for deployments facilitating precision agriculture needs. The 5G Fund would replace the planned Mobility Fund Phase II, which would have provided federal support for 4G LTE service in unserved areas.

Press Release HERE.

 

OneWeb Brings Fiber-Like Internet for the Arctic in 2020

Space Daily has the details:

OneWeb, whose goal is to connect everyone everywhere, today announced the details of its Arctic high-speed, low-latency internet service. OneWeb will deliver 375 Gbps of capacity above the 60th parallel North. With service starting in 2020, there will be enough capacity to give fiber-like connectivity to hundreds of thousands of homes, planes, and boats, connecting millions across the Arctic.

The dense, flexible coverage of OneWeb’s polar-orbiting satellites coupled with its high-speed service and low latency capabilities will provide a superior connectivity experience to the 48% of the Arctic currently without broadband coverage. In fact, OneWeb most recently proved its system’s capabilities through HD video streaming tests last month with its first six satellites that showcased extreme low latencies under 40 milliseconds and high speed services.

A global network, OneWeb’s Arctic service will be deployed significantly earlier and provide 200 times more capacity than planned systems. Substantial services will start towards the end of 2020, with full 24-hour coverage being provided by early 2021, supplying unprecedented blanket coverage to every part of the Arctic Circle.

Continue reading HERE.

Good place to start, where there is no competition.

 

In South Dakota Today (09-05-19)

SOUTH DAKOTA FIELD TRIP — Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) is today convening a Senate Commerce telecom subcommittee field hearing in Sioux Falls to discuss the best ways to expand broadband connectivity to rural communities. Expect plenty of talk about the benefits of internet access, with representatives from local broadband and telemedicine providers, wireless tower builders and university officials as well as Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, the agency’s point person on 5G wireless matters. (He’s been traveling South Dakota since Tuesday).

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

 

Northeastern and Upstate California Connect Broadband Update

Published in Center for Economic Development News, Summer 2019

The Northeast and Upstate California Connect Consortia continues working throughout its 10-county region with the goal of improving high speed internet connectivity throughout rural Northern California. Led by Consortia Manager David Espinoza, the team has been actively engaging its communities to gather necessary data and information to meet the needs of its businesses and residents. Below are the most recent highlights of Consortia activities over the last quarter:

  • Consortia continue working with local governments to discuss potential CASF infrastructure applications in priority areas and to discuss best policy approaches for counties and towns to support expansion of broadband infrastructure and services. Consortia attended a Lake County Economic Development Meeting in Kelseyville (April 17th and June 25th, 2019) to discuss a Master Broadband Plan for Lake County.
  • Consortia worked to identify CASF priority unserved areas in each consortia county (using latest CPUC broadband availability data from March 1st, 2019) and shared these priority unserved areas information with incumbent, competitive and new entrant ISPs assessing potential project applications for CASF infrastructure grants and complementary USDA Reconnect Program grants.
  • Consortia reached out to ISPs in all 10 counties and provided detailed information on the rules and application process along with relevant data/information which helped ISPs to carry out business assessments. Also generated detailed maps of eligible areas including potential funding eligibility score (from 60% to 100%).
  • Additionally, consortia reached out to CAF2 grantees that might be interested in complementary CASF projects in unserved priority areas next to CAF2 areas.
  • Consortia provided assistance to ISPs to prepare CASF Infrastructure Applications, including providing data/information (broadband and demographics) relevant to geographic project areas and requesting letters of support from local governments, elected officials, anchor institutions and community based organizations.
  • As a result, of these efforts, two ISPS, Frontier Communications and Plumas Sierra Telecom, filed a total of six projects to serve around 1,100 unserved households in hard to reach rural areas in the counties of Modoc, Lassen and Plumas.
  • Consortia was present in the following broadband meetings in Sacramento: CETF Board of Expert Advisors Roundtable (March 7th, 2019), California Broadband Council Meeting (March 21st and July 18th, 2019), CPUC CASF Workshop (April 29, 2019), CPUC CD En Banc (May 20, 2019) and CETF-CAFWD Digital Inclusion Roundtable.

How YOU can help:

Gathering accurate information regarding internet speeds from businesses is critical to proving the case that improved broadband service is needed in rural California. You can help by  download the CalSPEED application to your desktop computers and run the CalSPEED speed tests daily.   CalSPEED desktop data validates internet speed and capacity, information that is critically needed to move potential projects forward.

For additional information about the Upstate California Connect Consortia, visit www.upcalbroadband.org

For more information about the Northeast California Connect Consortia, visit www.necalbroadband.org. Or, contact the Consortia Manager David Espinoza via email at despinozaaguilar@csuchico.edu.

RCRC: Democratic Presidential Candidates Release Rural Platforms

Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential election continue to rollout their policy platforms for rural America.  Several presidential hopefuls spent the past week and a half in Iowa and are seizing the opportunity to appeal to rural voters across the United States.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg from South Bend, Indiana released his rural policy proposal this week which centered around an $80 billion investment in rural broadband.  Buttigieg’s call for investment in rural internet access echoes his competitors’ platforms including Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), who each promised massive investments in rural broadband if elected into office.  Buttigieg’s plan for rural America would also invest in improved broadband mapping and several economic development programs to foster job growth in rural areas.

These policy proposals inform rural voters how each candidate’s administration would benefit rural America.  The inclusion of rural broadband is a noticeable trend among policy platforms from 2020 candidates, suggesting that rural broadband deployment will be a significant issue for rural voters.

Yes, broadband access is becoming a significant political issue, but I would not put a lot of stock in campaign promises, they seem to be forgotten once the election is over.

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.

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

 

The Pew Charitable Trust Broadband Policy Explorer

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ state broadband policy explorer lets you learn how states are expanding access to broadband through laws. Categories in the tool include: broadband programs, competition and regulation, definitions, funding and financing, and infrastructure access.

As you choose categories, a 50-state map illustrates which states have adopted such laws. The state broadband policy explorer includes state statutes related to broadband as of Jan. 1, 2019.

Download the Explorer HERE.

PEW also published:  No One Approach Fits All States in Efforts to Expand Broadband Access Activities, regulatory authority, funding vary by jurisdiction

Here is a screenshot of the California listing with some useful URLs:

Screen Shot 2019-08-02 at 1.16.49 PM