Charlemont, a small MA town, has rejected an offer from Comcast and instead plans to build a municipal fiber broadband network. Comcast offered to bring cable Internet to up to 96 percent of households in Charlemont in exchange for the town paying $462,123 plus interest toward infrastructure costs over 15 years.
USTelecom, the telecommunication industry lobby group that represents AT&T and Verizon, has consistently claimed that network neutrality rules hurt broadband investment. Yet the same lobby group has released data showing that fiber deployment grew significantly while net neutrality rules were in effect. Even more surprising is that USTelecom also recently claimed that an increase in broadband network investment that happened before the net neutrality repeal was somehow caused by the repeal that hadn't yet taken effect.
On Nov 4, the Federal Communications Commission released broadband speed test data for the first time in two years, after ignoring months of inquiries about why the annual speed test reports hadn't been released since Ajit Pai became chairman. The FCC's Measuring Broadband Program hadn't issued a new report since December 1, 2016. Now, the FCC has released a draft of two Measuring Broadband America reports, one for 2017 and one for 2018.
The Federal Communications Commission has once again refused a New York Times request for records that the Times believes might shed light on Russian interference in the net neutrality repeal proceeding. The Times made a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request in June 2017 for FCC server logs and sued the FCC in September 2018 over the agency's ongoing refusal to release the records. The court case is still pending, but the Times had also appealed directly to the FCC to reverse its FoIA decision.
The Federal Communications Commission is planning to raise the rural broadband standard from 10Mbps to 25Mbps in a move that would require faster Internet speeds in certain government-subsidized networks. The FCC's Connect America Fund (CAF) distributes more than $1.5 billion a year to AT&T, CenturyLink, and other carriers to bring broadband to sparsely populated areas. Carriers that use CAF money to build networks must provide speeds of at least 10Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads. The minimum speed requirement was last raised in Dec 2014.
Nearly two years have passed since the Federal Communications Commission reported on whether broadband customers are getting the Internet speeds they pay for. In 2011, the Obama-era FCC began measuring broadband speeds in nearly 7,000 consumer homes as part of the then-new Measuring Broadband America program. Each year from 2011 to 2016, the FCC released an annual report comparing the actual speeds customers received to the advertised speeds customers were promised by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, AT&T, and other large Internet service providers (ISPs).
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson urged Congress to pass network neutrality and consumer data privacy laws that would prevent states from issuing their own stricter laws. "There are a number of states that are now passing their own legislation around privacy and, by the way, net neutrality," Stephenson said.
Verizon Wireless says it will not move faster on building its 5G cellular network despite a Federal Communications Commission decision that erased $2 billion dollars' worth of fees for the purpose of spurring faster 5G deployment. The FCC's controversial decision in Sept angered both large and small municipalities because it limits the amount they can charge carriers for deployment of wireless equipment such as small cells on public rights-of-way.
Attorneys General of Texas, Arkansas, and Nebraska help FCC kill net neutrality and preempt state laws
The Federal Communications Commission's repeal of network neutrality rules has received support from the Republican attorneys general of TX, AR, and NE. The three states filed a brief Oct 19 in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, urging judges to reject a lawsuit filed against the FCC by 22 other states.
Verizon Wireless service is back up and running "essentially everywhere" throughout the area hit by Hurricane Michael, the company said. "Verizon engineers and fiber crews have been working around the clock after unprecedented damage to our fiber infrastructure caused by the most intense storm in history to make landfall in the Panhandle," Verizon's announcement said.