Daily Digest 11/25/2020 (Margaret Guilfoyle)

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
Table of Contents


House Commerce GOP Leaders Request Audit on Rural Broadband Pilot Program  |  Read below  |  Rep Greg Walden (R-OR), Rep Bob Latta (R-OH)  |  Letter  |  House Commerce Committee
CWA seeks regulatory conditions in Connecticut on Frontier's bankruptcy reorganization  |  Read below  |  Mike Robuck  |  Fierce
Maine launches statewide internet speed test initiative  |  Read below  |  Edward Murphy  |  Portland Press Herald


5G Wireless: Capabilities and Challenges for an Evolving Network  |  Read below  |  Hai Tran, Vija D'Souza  |  Research  |  Government Accountability Office
OneWeb exits bankruptcy and is ready to launch more broadband satellites  |  Read below  |  Jon Brodkin  |  Ars Technica
Dish to Offer Cloud-Based Business Messaging on its 5G Network  |  telecompetitor


ZTE Petition for Reconsideration of Security Threat Designation Denied  |  Read below  |  Lisa Fowlkes  |  Public Notice  |  Federal Communications Commission


Members of Congress finding agreement on a tech antitrust agenda  |  Read below  |  Ashley Gold  |  Axios
Social media companies all starting to look the same  |  Axios
Facebook Researchers Found Its ‘Political Whitelist’ Influenced Misinformation Spread  |  Information, The
YouTube temporarily suspends, demonetizes One America News Network  |  Axios
Sen Blumenthal and four Democratic Sens press Facebook, Twitter on misinformation efforts ahead of Georgia runoff  |  Hill, The
Facebook Struggles to Balance Civility and Growth  |  New York Times

Chips with That?

Apple's new Mac chip turns heads and promises bigger changes  |  Read below  |  Ina Fried  |  Axios


A flood of coronavirus apps are tracking us. Now it’s time to keep track of them.  |  Technology Review
Most Americans Object to Government Tracking of Their Activities Through Cellphones  |  Wall Street Journal


Parks Associates — 31% Of US Broadband Homes Subscribe to 4 Or More Streaming Services, Double A Year Ago  |  MediaPost


Trump bump: NY Times and Washington Post digital subscriptions tripled since 2016  |  Axios


Where the youngest new faces coming to Congress stand on tech  |  Read below  |  Alexandra Levine  |  Politico
Former FCC Chairman Genachowski Makes Case for Nationalized 5G Network, Outlines Biden Priorities  |  telecompetitor

Stories From Abroad

Think Remote Learning Is Hard? Try Using a Phone in an Indian Village  |  Wall Street Journal
Europe Doubles Down on Data Protection to Ward Off Silicon Valley, Chinese Influence  |  Wall Street Journal
Today's Top Stories


House Commerce GOP Leaders Request Audit on Rural Broadband Pilot Program

Rep Greg Walden (R-OR), Rep Bob Latta (R-OH)  |  Letter  |  House Commerce Committee

House Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH), and Republican subcommittee members wrote to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an audit of and asking several questions about the Rural eConnectivity Pilot Program within the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA). The representatives say they have concerns about overbuilding, interagency coordination, and the mismanagement of appropriated funds. The letter was signed by Reps Walden, Latta, Pete Olson (R-TX), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Billy Long (R-MO), Bill Flores (R-TX), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Tim Walberg (R-MI), and Greg Gianforte (R-MT).

CWA seeks regulatory conditions in Connecticut on Frontier's bankruptcy reorganization

Mike Robuck  |  Fierce

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) is seeking conditions be imposed by the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) in regards to Frontier's Chapter 11 reorganization plan. PURA is tasked with reviewing Frontier's bankruptcy plan. CWA is trying to make sure the bankruptcy plan improves services and keeps jobs in Connecticut.

Maine launches statewide internet speed test initiative

Edward Murphy  |  Portland Press Herald

The Maine Broadband Coalition launched the speed testing initiative Nov 23. In addition to finding out their own upload and download speeds, users will help the coalition identify slow spots around the state where the speeds are not up to snuff. That will help the group determine where upgrades are needed or places where the internet is largely inaccessible. In addition to neighborhood bragging – or bemoaning – rights, the speeds will be shared with the coalition, which will assemble the results on maps to show where Mainers are getting high-speed access and where their connections are falling short.


5G Wireless: Capabilities and Challenges for an Evolving Network

Hai Tran, Vija D'Souza  |  Research  |  Government Accountability Office

The Government Accountability Office was asked to assess the technologies associated with 5G and their implications. This report discusses (1) how the performance goals and expected uses are to be realized in U.S. 5G wireless networks, (2) the challenges that could affect the performance or usage of 5G wireless networks in the U.S., and (3) policy options to address these challenges.

The report also highlights key challenges to 5G and present policy options to address them. For example, 5G is expected to greatly increase data transmission, which would require more radio frequency spectrum—a scarce resource. To help, policymakers could promote research into more efficient use of radio spectrum. GAO developed six policy options in response to these challenges, including the status quo. They are presented with associated opportunities and considerations in the following table. The policy options are directed toward the challenges detailed in this report: spectrum sharing, cybersecurity, privacy, and concern over possible health effects of 5G technology.

OneWeb exits bankruptcy and is ready to launch more broadband satellites

Jon Brodkin  |  Ars Technica

OneWeb has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy under new ownership and says it will begin launching more broadband satellites in December 2020. Similar to SpaceX Starlink, OneWeb is building a network of low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites that can provide high-speed broadband with much lower latencies than traditional geostationary satellites. After a launch in December, launches will continue throughout 2021 and 2022, and OneWeb is now on track to begin commercial connectivity services to the UK and the Arctic region in late 2021 and will expand to delivering global services in 2022.


ZTE Petition for Reconsideration of Security Threat Designation Denied

Lisa Fowlkes  |  Public Notice  |  Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau denied a petition for reconsideration of the Bureau’s June 30, 2020 order designating ZTE as a company posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain. After reviewing the record, the Bureau found no basis for reconsideration. As a result, the FCC’s $8.3 billion a year Universal Service Fund cannot be used to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify, or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by ZTE as well as its parents, affiliates, and subsidiaries.


Members of Congress finding agreement on a tech antitrust agenda

Ashley Gold  |  Axios

House Democrats and Republicans are finding common ground on a set of principles for countering tech monopolies that they believe could drive a bipartisan push in the new Congress to update antitrust law. Representatives from both parties are finding it easier to agree on antitrust policy ideas than on proposals about content moderation and liability, where the two parties couldn't be further apart despite agreeing on the need for change. Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel have zeroed in on at least four ideas:

  1. More funding for key antitrust enforcers, chiefly the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department, so they can take on wealthy, heavily lawyered tech companies.
  2. Changing the burden of proof for proposed mergers so that companies whose market share passes a certain threshold are assumed to be monopolies and must prove their deal does not harm competition.
  3. Data portability requirements for platforms, so that consumers can move their information from one service to another.
  4. Prohibitions on platform bias and "self-preferencing," which is when information services display their own listings above those of competitors.


Apple's new Mac chip turns heads and promises bigger changes

Ina Fried  |  Axios

For now, Apple's new M1 chip — fast, power-smart, and literally cool — is just a major hardware upgrade that's winning rave reviews. But down the road, the M1 will pave the way for new Apple devices that could bridge the divide between Mac and iPhone/iPad computing and transform the devices we use every day. he M1's success is a shot across the bow to Apple's competitors, and not just to Intel, whose semiconductors Apple is leaving behind after 15 years. Microsoft and Qualcomm have been trying — and struggling — to make a similar leap with Windows, but the M1's success shows that Apple still holds on to its innovation lead. Apple's success should be a wakeup call not just to Intel but also to Microsoft and Qualcomm.


Where the youngest new faces coming to Congress stand on tech

Alexandra Levine  |  Politico

Eleven new lawmakers under the age of 45 were elected to the 117th Congress,  joining other under-45s leading on tech issues, including Silicon Valley Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO). Here’s what to know about some of the newcomers’ views on and ties to tech:

  • Republican Madison Cawthorn, who at 25 will become the youngest member of Congress after winning in North Carolina's 11th District, has already positioned himself as a crusader against tech market power and alleged anti-conservative social media bias.
  • Republican Nancy Mace, who pulled off something of a surprise victory in South Carolina's 1st District and was the first woman to graduate from The Citadel, has also planted a flag in the tech bias debate. 
  • Democrat Sara Jacobs, who won in California’s 53rd Congressional District, is the granddaughter of tech billionaire Irwin Jacobs, founder and former chairman of the telecom giant Qualcomm.
  • Democrat Cori Bush, who won Missouri’s 1st Congressional District to become the state’s first Black congresswoman, made economic justice a top campaign issue, taking aim at the billionaires who’ve become even bigger billionaires during the pandemic.

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Benton (www.benton.org) provides the only free, reliable, and non-partisan daily digest that curates and distributes news related to universal broadband, while connecting communications, democracy, and public interest issues. Posted Monday through Friday, this service provides updates on important industry developments, policy issues, and other related news events. While the summaries are factually accurate, their sometimes informal tone may not always represent the tone of the original articles. Headlines are compiled by Kevin Taglang (headlines AT benton DOT org) and Robbie McBeath (rmcbeath AT benton DOT org) — we welcome your comments.

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