PEW Trust: State Broadband Policy Explorer — Laws governing high-speed internet access

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.

Link to California is HERE

 

SpaceX Working on Fix for Starlink Satellites So They Don’t Disrupt Astronomy

Space News has the details:

President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said the Starlink brightness problem caught the company by surprise

LOS ANGELES — One of the Starlink satellites in the next batch of 60 that SpaceX plans to launch in late December will be treated with a special coating designed to make the spacecraft less reflective and less likely to interfere with space observations, SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell said Dec. 6.

“We are going to get it done,” Shotwell said during a meeting with reporters at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne.

SpaceX already has deployed 120 satellites that beam high-speed internet, and thousands more will be launched over the next few years. Soon after the first launch in May, astronomers noted that the satellites were extremely bright, prompting concerns that the constellation will interfere with scientific research and views of the night sky.

Shotwell said the next batch has one satellite “where we put a coating on the bottom.” She noted that this is just an experiment and could not predict if it will work. “We’re do trial and error to figure out the best way to get this done,” said Shotwell.

Continue reading HERE.

 

Only One-Third of Rural California Households Have Home Internet Access

Only a third of rural California households have internet access, compared to 78% of urban households, limiting the number of students who can finish online homework assignments, according to an EdSource analysis of California Public Utilities Commission data. While low-income families are the most likely to lack internet access because the additional payment is too much, there’s also a lack of service providers and options. The lack of internet access feeds both the homework gap and an achievement gap between rural districts and their wealthier counterparts, though California has invested millions to improve internet access both in schools and communities.

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.

Starlink Update: Terminal Pre-Sales

According to an LA Times roundtable discussion with Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX CEO, there will be terminal pre-sale.

When SpaceX’s broadband service starts mid-2020, the initial experience will be “bumpy,” company President Gwynne Shotwell said Friday.

However, she said she expects SpaceX to mature as an internet service provider by 2021.

The company will take pre-sales for customer service, similar to what fellow Elon Musk-led company Tesla Inc. has done for new vehicles, Shotwell said during a media roundtable at the company’s Hawthorne headquarters. And early customers will be part of that learning curve.

“We’re not going to fib and say it’s going to be the best thing ever,” she said. “When you get service, it’s going to be great. But it’ll be bumpy for a while.”
SpaceX has already launched two rounds of 60 satellites each. The company expects it will need 24 launches, with about 1,440 satellites, to have enough to provide full global coverage. SpaceX has not yet determined customer pricing.

Shotwell said subsequent launches will see satellites with experimental coatings to reduce their brightness in the sky, which has been a concern for astronomers who fear the satellites could affect telescope images. The satellites are in low-Earth orbit and there could be a lot of them — SpaceX has asked an international regulatory group for permission to eventually operate as many as 30,000 satellites.

Continue reading HERE.

I am saving my quarters for a pre-purchase of a Starlink terminal. Yea, I use to save my pennies, but I live in California, which distorts reality.

No New Radiation Threats from 5G

No new radiation threats from 5G

5G doesn’t pose new cellphone radiation threats, according to the FCC, which spent six years reviewing the issue and receiving public feedback. The regulator voted unanimously this week to keep in place standards for how much exposure to the radio-frequency energy cellphones and antennas emit is safe. The rules cover consumer devices, and the 5G infrastructure used on cell towers and rooftops, as the four major U.S. wireless carriers race to roll out the next-generation of wireless networks.

FCC Finally Discovers Coverage Maps are Broken

The FCC discovered they can not fix something if they do not know where it is broken. The nation’s broadband maps are truly broken, as any rural cell phone user can attest.

Through the investigation, staff discovered that the MF-II coverage maps submitted by Verizon, U.S. Cellular, and T-Mobile likely overstated each provider’s actual coverage and did not reflect on-the-ground performance in many instances. Only 62.3% of staff drive tests achieved at least the minimum download speed predicted by the coverage maps—with U.S. Cellular achieving that speed in only 45.0% of such tests, T-Mobile in 63.2% of tests, and Verizon in 64.3% of tests. Similarly, staff stationary tests showed that each provider achieved sufficient download speeds meeting the minimum cell edge probability in fewer than half of all test locations (20 of 42 locations). In addition, staff was unable to obtain any 4G LTE signal for 38% of drive tests on U.S. Cellular’s network, 21.3% of drive tests on T-Mobile’s network, and 16.2% of drive tests on Verizon’s network, despite each provider reporting coverage in the relevant area.

The Full FCC Staff report is HERE.

 

5G from Space Won’t Solve All Slow Internet Problems, Analysts Warn

earth-surrounded-by-starlink-satellites

HOUSTON — New phones will get faster internet than ever before thanks to improved 5G technology, but don’t expect to get blazing-quick speed overnight, a panel of analysts warned.

A discussion at space company forum SpaceCom here in late November went over the benefits and drawbacks of 5G, which is already available in limited markets in the United States and will expand even further in 2020. SpaceX and Amazon are among the companies racing into space to deploy satellites to support 5G.

Continue reading HERE