Todd Shields

FCC Conducting ‘Thorough’ Investigation Into AT&T Outage

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it’s conducting a “thorough” investigation of the February 22 wireless network outage at AT&T Inc. that interrupted mobile service for hundreds of thousands of subscribers in cities around the US.

Biden’s FCC Revives the Longest-Running Policy Fight in Tech

The Federal Communications Commission is heading into the next round of Washington’s longest-running fight over technology policy. On Oct. 19 the agency is slated to take a preliminary vote to reassert its authority to regulate broadband providers, clearing the way to pass a version of the net neutrality rules that it eviscerated during the Trump administration.

Low-Income Americans Benefit From Cheap Internet. So Do Comcast and Charter

In 2021, US lawmakers created a $14.2 billion fund to help low-income families across America pay for internet service they would otherwise struggle to afford. Since then, nearly 19 million households have come to rely on the subsidy — which provides $30 or more in monthly bill aid, helping to narrow the long-standing digital divide that has placed low-income families at a disadvantage for everything from educational services to employment opportunities.

President Biden's Broadband Plan Runs Headlong Into ‘Buy American’ Mandate

President Joe Biden made clear in his 2023 State of the Union address that as the US spends billions of dollars on new broadband connections, “we’re going to buy American.” But that aspiration is easier said than done. While there seems to be enough domestic fiber optic cable to connect communities, the electronic components such as routers that transform glass strands into data highways are made mainly in other countries.

FCC Investigates Broadband Providers Over Coverage Claims

The Federal Communications Commission is investigating whether broadband-service providers exaggerated their level of coverage to authorities preparing to distribute billions of dollars in subsidies. At issue are claims by carriers that they already provide high-speed internet service to rural and other underserved areas where it’s not actually available. The Biden administration is awarding $42.5 billion to increase access in these locations. Areas served and unserved are being marked on a map compiled by the FCC.

Verizon, T-Mobile Overstate Claims With $43 Billion at Stake

Tiny Gerlach, NV, looks like the ideal place to receive some of the $42.5 billion in Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) funding targeted to provide internet access to underserved areas. There’s just one catch: The town of 161, gateway to the state’s Black Rock Desert, already has broadband access, according to a government map showing that T-Mobile US Inc. provides service there.

An $8 Billion Phone Subsidy for Poor Is Targeted by Conservative Group

The $8.6 billion Universal Service Fund, a linchpin of US communications funding since the late 1990s, helps more than 8 million people afford phone and internet service. The conservative advocacy group Consumers’ Research filed lawsuits in three US courts saying the program should be invalidated because its funding is set by regulators, rather than by Congress, which has taxing authority. There’s a high chance one of the courts will strike down the program in 2023, shifting the battle to the Supreme Court, where justices skeptical of US regulatory agencies could hand the challengers a win.

Baltimore Looks to Expand Internet Access by Building Its Own Network

Baltimore has an audacious goal to build a city-owned broadband service that could give its poorest residents equal access to digital resources for education, medical services and jobs. The plan lands the port city an hour from the nation’s capital squarely in the middle of a national debate over who deserves a chunk of the $95 billion in federal funding Congress allocated to close the digital divide. It also pits local officials against Comcast, the cable giant that already serves the city. “Access is too important to leave to the market and private actors.

Pilots Detect Possible Interference Since 5G Rollout — And Regulators Are Investigating

US safety regulators have received more than 100 pilot reports of possible interference from 5G wireless signals -- including three near Chicago O’Hare International Airport -- since the new mobile phone service began less than two weeks ago. The reports of anomalies on aircraft devices known as radar altimeters are being reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Interference from the new 5G service has been ruled out in many of the cases, and it remains unclear whether the others indicate a safety hazard or just pilots being overly cautious.

Telecom Companies and Airlines Agree to Share Data in an Effort to Resolve 5G Dispute

Leading telecommunications and aviation trade groups have agreed to share data in an effort to resolve a tense standoff over a new 5G service that threatens to disrupt flights. The groups said in a joint statement that they would exchange “available data from all parties to identify the specific areas of concern for aviation.” The statement was issued by CTIA, which represents the cellular industry, Aerospace Industries Association and Airlines for America.