National Broadband Plan

Chairman Wheeler Responses to Members of Congress Regarding Implementation of Phase II of the Connect America Fund

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
1

On December 23, 2014, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler responded to letters from Sen John Hoeven (R-ND), Rep Jared Huffman (D-CA), and Rep Todd Rokita (R-IN) regarding the implementation of Phase II of the Connect America Fund.

Only 25Mbps and up will qualify as broadband under new FCC definition

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is proposing to raise the definition of broadband from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream to 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up.

How the FCC Plans to Stretch Budget to Support New Broadband Speed Target

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

When the Federal Communications Commission in December 2014 raised the broadband speed target for the Connect America Fund to 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream, some stakeholders questioned carriers’ ability to meet that target without an increase in the size of the fund, considering that the previous downstream speed target was a considerably lower 4 Mbps.

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The Sale of the Century? How the FCC Plans to Sell Off Part of the TV Band

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

In the Public Safety and Spectrum Act of 2012 (enacted as Title VI of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Public Law 112-96), Congress authorized the Federal Communications Commission to recover and auction a significant portion of the spectrum currently used by television broadcasters. This will be -- by far -- the most complex auction process ever undertaken anywhere, for any commodity, and poses unprecedented legal, political, engineering and technological questions. The auction is currently scheduled to take place in early 2016. The FCC has now promulgated rules for implementing the sale, and broadcasters are beginning to consider whether they should choose to participate. In addition, the National Association of Broadcasters has appealed several key aspects of the FCC’s new rules in a case which is receiving expedited consideration by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Interest in the forthcoming auction (actually, as explained below, there will be two related auctions) has surged in the wake of the FCC’s “AWS 3” auction, which began in November, 2014. That auction is for much less desirable mid-band spectrum than the low-band TV spectrum that will be at issue in the new auction. Even so, by the end of the year, the AWS 3 auction blew past the FCC’s $10.6 billion minimum “reserve” price, and bidding topped $44 billion after 139 bidding rounds. Given these developments, now is a good time to explore the history of spectrum auctions and the stunningly complicated process the FCC intends to employ. Bear in mind that this discussion is necessarily oversimplified.

Spotlight on NTIA: Mike Dame, Program Director, State and Local Implementation Grant Program

Location:
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), 1401 Constitution Ave, Washington, DC, 20230, United States
Recommendation:
1

In his current role, Mike Dame is leading a program that has provided grants to states to help them prepare for the launch of a nationwide broadband network for public safety, which is being developed by the First Responder Network Authority.

NTIA Grant Program Ensuring States are Planning for FirstNet

Location:
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), 1401 Constitution Ave, Washington, DC, 20230, United States

When Congress called for the creation of a nationwide broadband network for public safety in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, lawmakers knew it was important that states play a key role in ensuring that the network meets the needs of local first responders. To implement this goal, the law directed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to establish the State and Local Implementation Grant Program to support states as they prepare for the launch of the network.

Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I Support Authorized for Eleven Winning Bids

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

On December 19, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission issued a public notice authorizing Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I support for eleven winning bids.

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A Year in Review and a Look Ahead: Time for Lifeline Reform

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has been on the job for just over a year. And with 2014 coming to a close, we look back at the accomplishments of the FCC in his first year. Today we look at the FCC’s Lifeline program which provides discounts on monthly telephone service for eligible low-income subscribers. Universal service is the principle that all Americans should have access to communications services. Universal service policies have helped make telephone service ubiquitous and affordable, even in remote rural areas. But in a world that increasing relies on broadband Internet access, the Federal Communications Commission has found that it must reform, streamline, and modernize all of its universal service programs to transform them from safety nets into springboards, improving access to and adoption of critical advanced communications services.

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A Year in Review: Bringing Big Broadband to Better Education

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

On December 11, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission completed a comprehensive reform of the E-rate program, the nation’s largest program supporting education technology. Mandated by Congress in 1996 and implemented by the FCC in 1997, the E-rate provides discounted telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries, funded by the Universal Service Fund (USF). Over the past year and a half, the FCC has been reviewing the program to ensure that our nation’s students and communities have access to high-capacity broadband connections that support digital learning while making sure that the program remains fiscally responsible and fair to the consumers and businesses that pay into the USF. The real work of modernizing the E-rate reaches back to the earliest days of the Obama Administration.

FCC Continues E-rate Reboot to Meet Nation's Digital Learning Needs

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
5

The Federal Communications Commission approved further modernization of its E-rate program, the nation’s largest program supporting education technology. The FCC’s actions close the connectivity gap through continued efforts to lower the prices schools and libraries pay for connectivity, and by increasing the amount of support available for connections to the Internet, known as category one of the program. Based on a comprehensive record, the Order raises the spending cap on the E-rate program from the current $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion -- the first reset of the cap since it was initially set at $2.25 million in 1997, an amount that wasn’t adjusted for inflation until 2010.

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FCC Lifts E-rate Spending – Washington Reacts

Location:
Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
2

When the Federal Communications Commission takes a major action -- like modernizing the E-rate program -- there’s gonna be reaction ...

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Benton Foundation Applauds FCC's Big Broadband Boost for Education

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1560 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL, 60201, United States
Recommendation:
2

Today, the Federal Communications Commission improved education for all our young people by providing the tools to connect every school and library to high-capacity broadband -- and Wi-Fi connectivity that delivers critical education tools right to students’ desks. This is a huge win for US education. By modernizing and funding the E-rate program for the 21st century, we will connect even the smallest, the poorest and the most rural classrooms and libraries to the world through the Internet. The actions the FCC takes today are exactly what’s needed to ensure our country’s competitiveness in the 21st century. Connecting all schools to high-speed broadband will help re-establish the US as a global leader in education -- setting an example for other countries that are struggling to improve their educational systems. Now all students will have the opportunity to develop the skills they need to succeed and prosper, and to realize the American Dream.

FCC Increases Rural Broadband Speeds Under Connect America Fund

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

Broadband for rural consumers that is supported by the Connect America Fund must deliver the same speeds that 99 percent of urban Americans enjoy, the Federal Communications Commission said in a recently adopted Order. The FCC will now require companies receiving Connect America funding for fixed broadband to serve consumers with speeds of at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads. The Order makes a number of adjustments to 2011 reforms to accommodate the higher speed requirement and better target Connect America funds to efficiently expand broadband into rural areas that would not otherwise be served.

FCC Seeks Input on Incentive Auction Procedures

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

The Federal Communications Commission adopted a Public Notice seeking comment on detailed proposals for conducting the broadcast television spectrum incentive auction.

FCC Announces Entities Provisionally Selected for Rural Broadband Experiments; Sets Deadlines for Submissions of Additional Information

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

The Federal Communications Commission announces the bidders that have been provisionally selected for funding for rural broadband experiments, subject to the post-selection review process, for the rural broadband experiments.

Spectrum of Possibilities

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

The Federal Communications Commission's AWS-3 (advanced wireless services) auction is going gangbusters, exceeding some analyst predictions and pushing toward $30 billion in bids for 65 MHz of wireless broadband spectrum. Verizon and AT&T are expected to get the lion's share of that, but the wireless appetite for spectrum is large, and given the prices being paid for spectrum that is not as conducive to wireless broadband as the 600 MHz of spectrum in the broadcast band, the success of the AWS-3 auction could have major ramifications for broadcasters when their spectrum goes on the block.

CAF Target Speed: CWA Wants 10 Mbps

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
1

Perhaps unsurprisingly the Communications Workers of America would like to see the Federal Communications Commission raise the target speed for the Connect America Fund to 10 Mbps from its current 4 Mbps – a move the FCC has been considering for several months.

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The UnDigital Nation: NTIA Finds Persistent Gaps in Home Internet Use

Location:
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), 1401 Constitution Ave, Washington, DC, 20230, United States
Recommendation:
2

On October 16, the US Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a report, Exploring the Digital Nation: Embracing the Mobile Internet, which finds that over the last five years, the total number of Americans 16 and older that accessed the Internet on any device grew by 18 percent from 151 million in 2007 to 187 million in 2012 after adjusting for population growth. Broadband adoption at home increased to 72 percent of households in 2012 from 69 percent in 2011. Despite the progress in home broadband adoption, the report also identifies persistent gaps in home Internet use. In 2012, a significant portion -- 28 percent -- of American households did not use broadband at home. A lack of interest or need (48 percent) and affordability (29 percent) are the top two reasons for non-adoption. The NTIA stresses that Americans are rapidly embracing mobile Internet devices such as smart phones and tablet computers for a wide range of activities beyond just voice communications (such as checking e-mail and using social networks) and concludes that mobile phones appear to be helping to narrow the digital divide among traditionally disadvantaged groups. In this summary of the NTIA report, we focus on the reasons for non-adoption cited in the survey. As the report's authors write, “The ... discussion of the main reasons why some households declined to access the Internet at home, in order of their prevalence among 2012 [Current Population Survey] respondents, may assist policymakers as they pursue universal broadband adoption and affordable connectivity in every community in the nation.”

FCC Boosts Wireless Broadband by Easing Infrastructure Burdens

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
4

The Federal Communications Commission adopted a Report and Order that takes critical steps to promote deployment of the wireless infrastructure necessary to provide the public with ubiquitous, advanced wireless broadband services.

CAF Speed Target Could Create New Winners and Losers

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

If the Federal Communications Commission gets its way, high speed Internet access might be defined as a minimum of between 10 Mbps to 25 Mbps.

FCC Extends Deadline in Special Access Proceeding

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

On August 15, 2014, the FCC obtained Office of Management and Budget’s approval for the collection subject to changes. On September 15, 2014, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau released an order amending the collection to reflect OMB’s approval and announced a December 15, 2014 deadline by which parties are required to submit data and information. Because collection of the data must be completed and made available for review before parties can comment on the remaining questions posed in the Special Access FNPRM, the Bureau extends the deadline for filing comments and reply comments. The new comment date is April 6, 2015, and the new reply comment date is May 18, 2015.

Members of Congress seek flexibility in FCC's rural broadband requirements

Recommendation:
1

Over 40 members of Congress have asked the Federal Communications Commission to give service providers the flexibility they need to deploy high-speed broadband connections to more hard-to-reach communities under the upcoming Connect America Funding II (CAF II) program.

FCC Circulating Quartet of Incentive Auction Items

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

The Federal Communications Commission's Office of Engineering & Technology and Media Bureau have teed up three incentive auction-related items for the commissioners vetting and eventual vote.

Lawsuit puts ‘cloud’ over airwave auction

Location:
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), 1771 N Street NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
2

Broadcasters are threatening to stand in the way of next year's highly anticipated airwave auction, putting one the Obama Administration’s top priorities at risk.

Britain’s need for broadband speed

Location:
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Recommendation:
2

Since coming to office in 2010, David Cameron has striven to be Britain’s prime minister for broadband.

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E-Rate Modernization: It’s About Time

Location:
Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, One Dupont Circle, NW, Washington, DC, 20036-1133, United States
Recommendation:
2

Over the last decade, a diversity of groups, from the State Education Technology Directors Association to the LEAD Commission to the Department of Education, among many others, have advocated that the FCC modernize the E-Rate program. Now that the FCC is finally set to act, how do the prospects for improvement appear? We put that question to Blair Levin (1), who was the Chief of Staff at the FCC when the program was initially conceived and implemented, and also was the principal architect of the National Broadband Plan, which proposed a number of E-Rate related changes now being considered by the FCC. Here is his response.

FCC Adopts Rules for First Ever Incentive Auction; Will Make Available Additional Airwaves, Increase Competition For Mobile Broadband

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to implement the Broadcast Television Incentive Auction. The two-sided auction will use market forces to recover spectrum from television broadcasters who voluntarily choose to give up some or all of their spectrum usage rights in exchange for incentive payments, in order to auction new spectrum licenses to wireless providers.

Court Approves FCC Plan to Subsidize Rural Broadband Service

Location:
U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1823 Stout Street, Denver, CO, 80202, United States
Recommendation:
2

A federal appeals court upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s effort to convert its $4.5 billion program that pays for telephone service in rural parts of the country into one that subsidizes high-speed Internet service in high-cost areas.

Telecoms Praise Incentive Auction Framework

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

Broadcasters were crying foul at the Federal Communications Commission's incentive auction report and order, but telecom carriers were praising the move.

FCC Adopts Rules for First Ever Incentive Auction; Will Make Available Additional Airwaves, Increase Competition for Mobile Broadband

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
4

The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to implement the Broadcast Television Incentive Auction. The two-sided auction will use market forces to recover spectrum from television broadcasters who voluntarily choose to give up some or all of their spectrum usage rights in exchange for incentive payments, in order to auction new spectrum licenses to wireless providers.