FCC Mapping Hinders Broadband Grants

Hopefully by now, most communities with poor broadband will have heard about the gigantic federal grants on the way to provide broadband solutions. The largest is the $42.5 Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program that will be administered by states, with the funding and the rules established by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The federal grants give priority to locations that are unserved (broadband speeds under 25/3 Mbps) and can also be used to fund underserved locations (speeds between 25/3 and 100/20 Mbps).

NHMC Condemns FCC Commissioners’ Xenophobic Statements

Federal Communications Commissioners Nathan Simington and Brenden Carr have used their positions as leaders of a federal agency to dehumanize and disrespect the immigrant community. At the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), we believe that no human is illegal and that every person deserves dignity and respect. As such, we condemn the Commissioners’ comments and statements following the release of the Affordable Connectivity Program rules and call for higher standards of morality, empathy, and humanity from those who sit on the FCC.

Why COVID Increased The Gap Between Fixed And Wireless Internet

According to a speed test analysis released by WhistleOut, the average US internet speed increased 40 percent during the pandemic to 118.4 Mbps, versus an average of 84.5 Mbps pre-pandemic. The report, which is based on more than 717,000 internet speed tests, doesn’t explain exactly why the fixed internet became so much swifter, but it cites the fact that many US households upgraded their plans with their internet service providers, presumably to accommodate all that video streaming, those Zoom meetings, and other lifestyle changes necessitated by working and living at home 24/7.

Treasury Fund is Not Just for Rural Broadband

Federal Communications Commissioner Brandon Carr released an extraordinary statement worth reading. Carr is taking exception to the final rules from the Treasury Department concerning how communities can use the $350 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The commissioner is asking states to somehow intervene in the way that cities, counties, and towns elect to use these funds.

Public Interest Values Must Be the Foundation of a Better Internet

January marks the anniversary of a series of coordinated protests that led to the withdrawal of two proposed laws in the United States Congress: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). SOPA-PIPA showed the power of collective action, rooted in shared values, to shape the future of the internet. In the decade since the SOPA fight, new issues have risen based on the development of new innovations in technology and the challenges that they create.

Incumbent Internet Service Provider Challenges Hinder Broadband Grants

One of the most annoying aspects of the current federal broadband grants is the ability of incumbent internet service providers (ISPs) to challenge the validity of grant requests. In the typical challenge, the incumbents claim that they are offering fast broadband and that an applicant should not be able to overbuild them. The challenges put a burden on anybody filing for a grant since they must somehow prove that incumbent broadband speeds are slower than 25/3 Mbps.

Anticorporate Broadband Populists’ Real Agenda: Destroy the Current Private-Sector System

Animated by hostility toward corporations and a belief that broadband should be a public utility, populists seek to overthrow the current system and replace it with one in which government provides broadband or tightly regulates it. Their campaign strategy is to convince policymakers and the public that US broadband is a failure so they can build support for policies to weaken corporate providers and strengthen non-corporate alternatives, including government-run networks.

Gigi Sohn’s Strange Bedfellows

Does a progressive activist who wants to weaken copyright and speech protections belong on the Federal Communications Commission? President Biden thinks so, and bizarrely so do the leaders of conservative Newsmax Media and One America News Network (OAN). Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy said Newsmax is “being sidelined in favor of a small number of mega-corporations who dominate the channel line-ups.” OAN President Charles Herring hailed Sohn’s commitment to “diversity in media.” The two execs may be hoping Sohn will target Sinclair and Fox News.

The Internet Needs Fair Rules of the Road – and Competitive Drivers

In the past few weeks, the Biden Administration has finally moved forward with nominations to the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. As the agencies move forward, fully staffed at last, we hope they will both recognize the role they can play in promoting net neutrality – meaning, in preventing ISPs from taking advantage of their effective gatekeeping roles to favor some services over others. Most people think of net neutrality as the province of the FCC, at least at the federal level.

The Absurdity of Broadband …the Official Speed Definition That Is

In the midst of this historic time, I sometimes lose sight of the fact that the official broadband speed definition, at least according to the Federal Communications Commission, remains at 25/3 Mbps. I’m not sure there is anything more absurd in the broadband industry than this outdated definition. Some would argue it was already outdated when it was established back in 2015, as a benchmark to measure national broadband progress.