Monday, November 9, 2020
Headlines Daily Digest
Resentment displaces hope and purpose the way carbon monoxide displaces air. This fact has been reflected in the policies of any number of tyrants and demagogues. Resentment is insatiable. It thrives on deprivation, sustaining itself by magnifying grievances it will, by its nature, never resolve.
-- Don't Give Up on America, Marilynne Robinson
Elections & Media
Voters in several US cities, including Denver and Chicago, approved referendums supporting municipal broadband. 83.5% of Denverites voted to opt out of a Colorado state law that prohibits municipalities from investing in or building their own broadband network, opening the possibility of a city-owned network. Meanwhile, 90% of Chicagoans voted in favor of the city pursuing broadband internet connectivity for all residents, though that measure was also non-binding. The approvals of the referendums, while non-binding, show that a growing number of cities are taking municipally owned internet infrastructure “seriously” in a way they haven’t in the past, said Chris Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self Reliance.
Both unintentionally and by design, we have reinforced a digital caste system that continues to divide communities into the “haves” and “have-nots.” What still remains unclear is not whether we can reverse engineer the disparate impact, but whether we, as a nation, believe that every resident in every community deserves equal access to a digital society. We need a plan, the kind that reaches every corner of the US. We need a nationwide strategy for broadband access that recognizes the importance of high-performance digital infrastructure and supports widespread adoption. Above all, this needs to be a priority for every level of government, working together to encourage interagency participation and public-private partnerships that fuel innovation. Otherwise, we will continue to miss out on the productivity and imagination of the millions struggling with access.
[Francella Ochillo is the Executive Director of Next Century Cities]
TDS revealed 3Q 2020 results and both video and broadband -- specifically fiber broadband -- are leading the charge. Customers are adopting higher speeds and it’s driving revenue growth. About 12% of TDS broadband subscribers now take gigabit service. And over 38% take 100 Mbps or faster service. These higher speeds have pushed broadband ARPU up 5%. TDS now reaches 280K locations with fiber broadband, both in its incumbent territory and in its expansion territories. That translates to 34% coverage of its footprint with FTTP. Its current fiber construction plan will take total serviceable locations to 320K. TDS sees fiber penetration of between 30 – 40% in their fiber markets. TDS total broadband serviceable addresses were 823,000 at the end of 3Q 2020, with 64% served by copper DSL broadband. TDS DSL capabilities for those locations is roughly 1/3 each for the categories of 10 Mbps or less, 10 Mbps to 24 Mbps, and 25 Mbps to 100 Mbps. The company’s wireline business unit generated $173 million in revenue in 3Q 2020 (including its cable business), with an adjusted EBIDTA of $53 million. Expansion is paying off for TDS. Its current fiber broadband expansion plan has contributed an additional $15 million in revenue so far in 2020 with $20 million expected by year end.
Players large and small are now building specially designed private 5G networks. In contrast with the 5G networks celebrated during the launch of the latest iPhone, these are intended as much for machines as people. Private networks are geographically constrained areas of coverage, intended to keep a local set of sensors, machines and computers in sync, and allow communications with the rest of the world as needed. Utility companies, retailers and other large enterprises have in the past made use of private 4G cellular networks. These can be more customizable than a carrier’s existing network, and offer better reliability and security than Wi-Fi, especially over large areas. With 5G, it’s suddenly possible for many companies—even rural broadband providers—to bypass the traditional network gatekeepers and create their own 5G wireless networks, with more bandwidth than ever.
President Donald Trump fired off a missive in the wee hours Nov 6 suggesting yet again that social media platforms should be punished for labeling his tweets about vote counts as misleading and hiding a number of his posts. "Twitter is out of control, made possible through the government gift of Section 230!" he posted on Twitter. President Trump now likely has little time and few avenues to strike down a liability shield that he says gives the platform undeserved protection from legal action. It's still possible a Federal Communications Commission rulemaking could go forward during the remainder of Trump's first term, but supporters of Section 230 reform have a very short time frame to push it through. "He can continue to pressure the FCC to do something. That's the beginning and end of what he can do. This is really up to Congress and the courts," said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, senior counselor at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society.
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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