Daily Digest 2/1/2023 (Schoolhouse Rock!)

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
Table of Contents

Digital Equity

Steve Forbes: Giving lower-income families a hand up will help America compete  |  Read below  |  Steve Forbes  |  Op-Ed  |  Hill, The
Broadband for Under $50? In Mississippi and Arkansas, You're Out of Luck  |  Read below  |  Eric Griffith  |  PC Magazine
Department of Commerce convenes the first Congress of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Councils  |  Department of Commerce

Broadband Funding

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $500,000 in High-Speed Internet Grant to Passamaquoddy at Pleasant Point  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  National Telecommunications and Information Administration
RUS Seeks Comment on ReConnect Program Rules  |  Read below  |  Andrew Berke  |  Public Notice  |  Department of Agriculture

Date & Mapping

Mending the Fabric: FCC Says to File Broadband Location Challenges by March 15- What About BEAD?  |  Read below  |  Joan Engebretson  |  telecompetitor
FCC Poring Over Crowdsourced Broadband Data, Chair Says  |  MeriTalk

State/Local Initiatives

PSC Now Accepting Applications for ‘Internet for All’ Planning Grants  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
How Inaccurate Broadband Maps Impact California, the Most Populous State  |  Read below  |  Roxanna Barboza  |  Analysis  |  Next Century Cities
West Des Moines’ $60 Million Plan to Span the Broadband Gap  |  Read below  |  Katie Thornton  |  Bloomberg

Broadband Service

Packet Loss and Broadband Performance  |  Read below  |  Doug Dawson  |  Analysis  |  CCG Consulting


FCC Improving Support for Digital Health in Rural America  |  Read below  |  Public Notice  |  Federal Communications Commission


Building on Uncle Sam’s “Beachfront” Spectrum: Six Ways to Align Incentives to Make Better Use of the Airwaves  |  Read below  |  Joe Kane, Jessica Dine  |  Analysis  |  Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

Mangled Voice-to-Text Messages Are Embarrassing Users  |  Wall Street Journal


Competition in the Mobile Application Ecosystem  |  Read below  |  Research  |  National Telecommunications and Information Administration
An American Industrial Strategy for US Tech Leadership: Investing in Competitiveness, Innovation, and Equity  |  Read below  |  Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves  |  Speech  |  Department of Commerce

Platforms/Social Media

Tom Wheeler: The Supreme Court takes up Section 230  |  Brookings


National Labor Relations Board: Apple’s focus on secrecy violated employee rights  |  ars technia
Brian Merchant | The real aim of big tech’s layoffs: bringing workers to heel  |  Los Angeles Times

Government Services

Closing the Digital Divide in Government: 5 Strategies for Digital Transformation  |  Read below  |  Viral Chawda, Andy Gottschalk  |  Op-Ed  |  nextgov


Challenges in Securing Federal Systems and Information  |  Government Accountability Office


National Linear TV Advertising Spending Down 2.3% in December  |  Next TV

Company News

Comcast Reports 4th Quarter and Full Year 2022 Results  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  Comcast
Charter Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Results  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  Charter Communications
Charter Shares Rural Broadband Take Rate Success  |  Read below  |  Joan Engebretson  |  telecompetitor
Upstream demand driven by 'marketing,' not true usage, Charter CEO says  |  Read below  |  Jeff Baumgartner  |  LightReading
New Iridium “Companion” Acts More Like a Wi-Fi Hotspot Than Previous Generation Did  |  Read below  |  Joan Engebretson  |  telecompetitor
Starry plans exit from Ohio market  |  Fierce
Google Fiber eyes Boise as Idaho expansion target  |  Fierce
Ritter Extends Broadband Reach to Jackson, Missouri  |  Arkansas Business


Rep Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) Selected To Chair House Cybersecurity Subcommittee  |  House of Representatives

Stories From Abroad

Japan plans to auction spectrum, rather than give it for free  |  Fierce
Today's Top Stories

Digital Equity

Steve Forbes: Giving lower-income families a hand up will help America compete

Steve Forbes  |  Op-Ed  |  Hill, The

People in need don’t want a handout; they want a hand-up that will enable them to improve their circumstances and lead more productive, successful lives. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is giving workers, students, and families the hand-up they need to compete in the connected 21st-century digital economy. Created in 2021 as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and administered by the Federal Communications Commission, the ACP gives eligible families a monthly discount of up to $30 to pay for broadband service, along with an initial, one-time grant of $100 they can use to help purchase a computer, laptop or other electronic devices that will enable them to connect to the internet. Extending this effective program, whose funding is set to expire in the next 18 months, should be a priority for the 118th Congress. Online connectivity is an absolute necessity for modern families. Without it, kids can’t do their homework or attend online classes, wage earners can’t look for jobs or work from home, and ultimately, the US will fail to keep up with our global competitors if we fail to connect all Americans. The benefits of extending the ACP far outweigh the costs. The program yields an undeniably positive economic impact, experienced by 14 million households and climbing. When the government supports programs that empower Americans to lift themselves up, we all benefit.  

[Steve Forbes is chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media]

Broadband for Under $50? In Mississippi and Arkansas, You're Out of Luck

Eric Griffith  |  PC Magazine

Every few years, BroadbandNow dives into the cost of internet plans across 2,000 US-based internet service providers (ISP) and how they compare to the median incomes of households across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. BroadbandNow is again checking who in America has broadband—defined as a connection with a minimum of 25Mbps for downloads and 3Mbps for uploads—and how many can get it for less than $50 per month. The answer is still: not everyone. And the data clearly show that prices are down for higher-income areas (probably because of increased competition in densely populated regions). In 10 states, less than half the population can get service costing lower than $50 a month: Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Montana, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, and Wyoming. Only four areas—Delaware, Hawaii, Connecticut, and Washington DC—have hit 100% availability. 

Broadband Funding

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $500,000 in High-Speed Internet Grant to Passamaquoddy at Pleasant Point

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded $500,000 to the Passamaquoddy at Pleasant Point as part of the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP).  With funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), this grant from the Internet for All initiative will support affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet access for 243 Passamaquoddy Tribal households and community anchor institutions, providing qualifying high-speed Internet service for 60 months. (This new grant brings the total of the TBCP to over $1.734 billion awarded to 133 Tribal entities.)

RUS Seeks Comment on ReConnect Program Rules

Andrew Berke  |  Public Notice  |  Department of Agriculture

The United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service seeks comment on its update of Rural eConnectivity Program (ReConnect Program) regulation to ensure that requirements are clear, accurate as presented, and in compliance with Federal reporting requirements. The changes to ReConnect rules include:

  1. The definition of non-funded service area (NFSA) was updated to include telecommunications as well as broadband as a type of service. The program requires applicants to report revenues for all types of data, video, and/or voice services that are offered in the NFSA, so updating the definition should make it clearer that the revenues reported should be inclusive of all services.
  2. Non-federal entities should submit a single audit for the previous year from the date the application is submitted while other entities will be required to submit a comparative audit. The language did not make it clear that non-federal entities that are subject to the Single Audit Act are only required to provide one year of audited financial statements during the years when they have received more than $750,000 in federal assistance.
  3. Applicants must have Tribal consent from the appropriate Tribal official if services are proposed on or over Tribal Land.

: You may submit comments, identified by docket number RUS–22- Telecom-0056 and Regulatory Information Number (RIN) number 0572–AC62 through https:// www.regulations.gov  Comments due on or before March 31, 2023.

Data & Mapping

Mending the Fabric: FCC Says to File Broadband Location Challenges by March 15- What About BEAD?

Joan Engebretson  |  telecompetitor

The Federal Communications Commission is encouraging state and local governments and broadband providers to file bulk challenges to the commission’s broadband serviceable location database by March 15, 2023. Bulk challenges received by that date are most likely to be addressed in time to be reflected in the next update to the broadband serviceable location database, also known as the “fabric.” The next update to the fabric is scheduled to be available on June 30, 2023. The FCC made its recommendation in a public notice. The notice confirms what we heard from NTIA recently—that the broadband serviceable location fabric will not be updated until June 30. That’s the same date when NTIA plans to announce how much money each state will get from the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. In other words, no changes will be made to the locations database in time for the state allocations. The NTIA has denied requests to delay the June 30 date for the state allocations.


PSC Now Accepting Applications for ‘Internet for All’ Planning Grants

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin is now accepting applications for multiple federally funded grant programs to assist in the state’s broadband and digital equity planning efforts. In December 2022, Gov. Tony Evers (D-WI) and the PSC announced the state will receive nearly $6 million to plan for the deployment and adoption of affordable, equitable, and reliable high-speed Internet throughout the state. This investment, awarded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), is part of the ‘Internet for All’ initiative under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The ‘Internet for All’ initiative includes the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program and Digital Equity Program; both programs will help build broadband infrastructure and promote digital equity in the state. Once the planning stage is completed, Wisconsin will begin to implement the statewide plans over the next several years. Wisconsin could expect an allocation of $700 million to $1.1 billion to implement these plans under BEAD. Additional federal funding will help to implement the state’s digital equity plan to ensure all residents have access to a reliable, affordable internet connection. More details, including eligibility criteria, can be found here.

How Inaccurate Broadband Maps Impact California, the Most Populous State

Roxanna Barboza  |  Analysis  |  Next Century Cities

Not too long ago, the Federal Communications Commission released updates to its national broadband maps. For years, the FCC’s maps have been criticized for inaccuracies. That prompted state entities to collect their own broadband data, including the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). While CPUC should be applauded for its leadership in mapping and tackling digital inequities statewide, the new maps it released in December show that disadvantaged communities in California are still being left behind. In July 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) signed historic broadband legislation into law to help bridge digital divides and provide reliable and affordable Internet access to all Californians, (SB 156). Before the money could be allocated to last-mile infrastructure projects, the CPUC had to release a Priority Area Map to facilitate the effective and equitable distribution of program funds statewide. In December 2021, the map was completed, but excludes some communities with the highest need, including those in Los Angeles, from being eligible for digital divide funds. If the CPUC Maps are not revised, Los Angeles’ least connected neighborhoods – and others – may be completely left out of the broadband investments they need. The public has the opportunity to challenge CPUC’s map and contribute feedback on what should be considered priority areas.

West Des Moines’ $60 Million Plan to Span the Broadband Gap

Katie Thornton  |  Bloomberg

Nearly 1,000 miles of fiber-optic conduit is being laid in West Des Moines (IA), bringing lightning-fast internet to every home and business, thanks to a $60 million municipal bond and a novel public-private partnership. Laying fiber lines is costly, messy work: Companies offering fiber service must drill and install conduit on every street in the service area before beginning to offer service and recoup costs. In 2020, West Des Moines entered a partnership with Google Fiber. But unlike previous cities that have participated in the decade-old initiative, West Des Moines is building the fiber conduit network itself, in exchange for Google Fiber promising to lay its fiber lines in front of every home and business in the city — not just in areas the company believes will be profitable. Additionally, the conduit network is not being built only for Google: The city can lease space in the multi-lane tunnels to several internet providers, who will feed their own fiber lines through the existing conduit. 

Broadband Service

Packet Loss and Broadband Performance

Doug Dawson  |  Analysis  |  CCG Consulting

In a recent article, Joe Madden wrote an article looking at the various wireless technologies he has used at his home in rural central California. Over time he subscribed to a fixed wireless network using Wi-Fi spectrum, cellular LTE broadband, Starlink, and a fixed wireless provider using CBRS spectrum. Madden was able to analyze his broadband performance in ways that are not easily understood by the average subscriber. He came to an interesting conclusion – the difference in performance between various broadband technologies has less to do with speed than with the consistency of the broadband signal. The average speed tests on the various products varied from 10/2 Mbps on fixed wireless using Wi-Fi, to 117/13 Mbps on Starlink. But what Madden found was that there was a huge difference in consistency as measured by packet loss. Fixed wireless on Wi-Fi had packet loss of 8.5%, while the packet loss on fixed wireless using CBRS spectrum dropped to 0.1%. The difference is stark and is due to the interference that affects using an unlicensed spectrum compared to a cleaner signal on a licensed spectrum. The winner of the packet loss comparison is fiber, which typically has an incredibly low packet loss and also a quick recovery rate for lost packets. The bottom line from the article is that speed isn’t everything. It’s just one of the characteristics that define a good broadband connection, but we’ve unfortunately locked onto speed as the only important characteristic.


FCC Improving Support for Digital Health in Rural America

Public Notice  |  Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission approved a number of proposals for the Rural Health Care (RHC) Program to make it easier for healthcare providers to receive support, reduce delays in funding commitments, and improve the overall efficiency of the program. Reliable high-speed connectivity is critical for rural healthcare providers to serve patients in rural areas that often have limited resources, fewer doctors, and higher rates for broadband and telecommunications services than urban areas. These actions will resolve petitions for reconsideration on issues from the August 2019 Promoting Telehealth Report and Order, and adopt proposals from the February 2022 Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. These actions include:

  • Granting petitions for reconsideration to restore the prior rate determination rules and eliminate rules requiring the Rates Database for the Telecom Program;
  • Amending the RHC Telecom Program invoicing processes to eliminate the Health Care Provider Support Schedule and move invoice submission until after services have been provided;
  • Amending the internal cap application and prioritization rules to promote efficiency, reduce delays in funding commitments, and prioritize support for the current funding year;
  • Dismissing as moot Applications for Review of the Bureau’s guidance to the Universal Service Administrative Company regarding the Rates Database.

The Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted seeks comment on:

  • Fine-tuning the rules for determining rural and urban rates in the RHC Telecom Program;
  • Reinstating the cap on support for satellite services in the Telecom Program that existed before the adoption of the Rates Database;
  • Making it easier for health care providers to receive RHC Program funding as soon as they become eligible; and,
  • Revisions to data collected in the Telecom Program.


Building on Uncle Sam’s “Beachfront” Spectrum: Six Ways to Align Incentives to Make Better Use of the Airwaves

Joe Kane, Jessica Dine  |  Analysis  |  Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

The federal government’s use of spectrum dates back to the beginning when radio frequencies were used to communicate—and so does the policy question of how to apportion spectrum access between government and private uses. The federal government has important missions that require the use of the electromagnetic spectrum. But federal spectrum lacks market discipline and profit motives, so it does not tend toward efficient use. Six proposals to improve upon this include the following:

  1. Reform the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act: Removing the limitation of an agency being unable to use SRF money to buy improved equipment that may use spectrum more efficiently would foster the adoption of more advanced technology during the relocation process; it would also incentivize agencies to use the SRF since clearing spectrum would come with the potential for upgraded equipment.
  2. Create a Market for Persuasion by Selling Overlay Licenses: Policymakers should auction more overlay licenses to create profit opportunities for those who can persuade federal agencies to vacate some spectrum by paying for relocation, upgrading equipment, or otherwise protecting the incumbent use. 
  3. Improve the Quality of Federal Receivers: The federal government should reduce its spectrum footprint by increasing the quality of its receivers and migrating bespoke services to commercial 5G networks wherever possible. 
  4. Assert White House and Congressional Leadership: The executive branch should take a more active role in managing agencies’ spectrum use, both through better accounting for the costs of federal uses and by making increasing commercial spectrum capacity a high-level priority. 
  5. Increase the Compatibility of Federal Services with Commercial Networks: The federal government should increase the compatibility of federal services with commercial networks. Federal users can also become better stewards of the spectrum by investing in services that run on a commercial spectrum rather than bespoke federal systems. Just as the federal government procures other mission-critical supplies from private contractors, it should seek to, for example, leverage existing 5G networks for its communications systems.
  6. Price Agency Spectrum: Agencies’ budgets should reflect the costs of maintaining access to the wavelengths they use. It is a problem inherent to federal spectrum use that individual agencies and their employees bear no responsibility for the alternative uses they preclude by maintaining their own rights to a spectrum band. More executive-branch management of the federal spectrum—specifically, management that checks internal agency inertia in favor of overall spectrum policy and efficiency—could improve this process.


Competition in the Mobile Application Ecosystem

After broad outreach, and input that included more than 150 comments from a diverse array of stakeholders, NTIA identified two key policy issues hindering a more competitive app ecosystem: 1) Consumers largely can’t get apps outside of the app store model, controlled by Apple and Google. This means innovators have very limited avenues for reaching consumers. 2) Apple and Google create hurdles for developers to compete for consumers by imposing technical limits, such as restricting how apps can function or requiring developers to go through slow and opaque review processes. While the current app store policies do offer some benefits to consumers, including the potential for tighter security controls, NTIA that the costs far outweigh the benefits and that privacy and security protections can still be achieved in a more competitive environment. NTIA recommends several changes to improve the app ecosystem for users, including:

  • Consumers should have more control over their devices. They should be able to choose their own apps as defaults, use alternative mobile app stores, and delete or hide pre-installed apps.
  • App store operators should not be able to “self-preference” their apps in an anticompetitive manner. Operators should not be able to favor their own apps in how they appear in search results or discriminate against other apps that are similar to their own.
  • Operators should lift restrictions on alternative ways for consumers to download and install apps. While still preserving appropriate latitude for privacy and security safeguards, legislative and regulatory measures should prohibit restrictions on sideloading, alternative app stores and web apps.
  • Addressing limits on in-app purchasing options. This can be done by banning requirements that developers use the app store operators’ in-app payment system.

An American Industrial Strategy for US Tech Leadership: Investing in Competitiveness, Innovation, and Equity

Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves  |  Speech  |  Department of Commerce

The United States and our allies are in a high-stakes technology competition with authoritarian adversaries. How this competition plays out will profoundly shape our economic security – our ability to innovate, grow exports, create jobs of the future, and provide opportunities to all our people. It will also shape our national security – our ability to protect our advantages while preserving our freedoms and democratic values at home and abroad. And let us not be mistaken, who leads on technology will shape the future of a stable, inclusive, rules-based world order – whether one based on democratic norms like the free flow of information, data privacy, and an open internet, or the alternative. Government, business, and educational institutions need to work together to expand workforce pipelines, train workers to fill high-paying jobs, expand access to finance to small business and small manufacturers, and ensure that historically underserved communities have the tools to participate and thrive in the economy. To this end, we are deploying nearly $50 billion under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to bring affordable, reliable high-speed internet to every American, with a dedicated focus on equitable access so that unserved and underserved communities aren’t left behind.

Government Services

Closing the Digital Divide in Government: 5 Strategies for Digital Transformation

Viral Chawda, Andy Gottschalk  |  Op-Ed  |  nextgov

Change is seldom easy. Yet for government and public sector executives, the need to modernize has never been greater, as there is a growing digital divide between constituent expectations and what many governments can offer. As government and public sector agencies continue on their digital transformation journey, here are five strategies to adopt moving forward: 

  1. Have a customer-centered design mindset when introducing new technology so that users will find new platforms and applications easy to use and will embrace them;
  2. Begin treating data like a product to be shared enterprise-wide rather than continually duplicated in siloed departments;
  3. Accelerate the use of a development, security, and operations—DevSecOps—approach to creating new software applications, embedding security into them from the outset;
  4. Continue to modernize technology stacks to include SaaS platforms, advanced cloud, AI, and edge computing capabilities—as well as strong data management capabilities—and make it easy for end users to access the data insights they need for decision-making;
  5. Embrace modularity and containerization to help with the challenge of modernizing large and complex legacy systems and applications. Modularity refers to dividing large software applications into smaller modules, while containerization refers to running those applications in an isolated environment.

Modernization is now more important than ever to bridge the digital divide and meet constituents’ rising expectations.

[Viral Chawda is a principal and head of government technology at KPMG U.S., and Andy Gottschalk is a partner for health and government solutions at KPMG U.S.]

Company News

Comcast Reports 4th Quarter and Full Year 2022 Results

Press Release  |  Comcast

Comcast reported results for the quarter and year that ended December 31, 2022. Highlights in Comcast's broadband developments include the following:

  • Cable Communications Total Customer Relationship Net Additions Were 75,000 and Total Broadband Customer Net Additions Were 250,000;
  • Cable Communications Wireless Customer Line Net Additions Were 1.3 Million, the Best Annual Result on Record; Surpassed 5 Million Customer Lines in Just 5 Years;
  • Cable Communications Started Rolling Out Multi-Gig Broadband Speeds in Markets Across the US and Announced the Launch of Even Faster, Multi-Gig Symmetrical Speeds Beginning in 2023;
  • Cable Communications Customer Relationships of 34.3 Million and Broadband Customers of 32.2 Million Were Consistent with the Prior Quarter. Excluding the Negative Impact of Hurricane Ian, Estimated Total Customer Relationship Net Losses Were 36,000 and Total Broadband Net Additions Were 4,000.

Charter Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Results

Press Release  |  Charter Communications

Charter Communications reported financial and operating results for the three and twelve months that ended December 31, 2022. Charter's broadband highlights are as follows:

  • Fourth quarter total residential and small and medium business ("SMB") Internet customers increased by 105,000. As of December 31, 2022, Charter served a total of 30.4 million residential and SMB Internet customers, with 344,000 total Internet customers added in 2022;
  • Fourth quarter total residential and small and medium business ("SMB") Internet customers increased by 105,000. As of December 31, 2022, Charter served a total of 30.4 million residential and SMB Internet customers, with 344,000 total Internet customers added in 2022;
  • Full year 2022 free cash flow of $6.1 billion decreased from $8.7 billion in the prior year, due to capital expenditures associated with Charter's rural construction initiative and higher cash taxes;
  • Internet revenue grew by 3.9% year-over-year to $5.6 billion, driven by growth in Internet customers during the last year, promotional rate step-ups, reduced bundled discounts and rate adjustments, partly offset by lower bundled revenue allocation;
  •  Based on Ookla's Speedtest Global Index median fixed download speeds for Q4 2022, which indicates that Spectrum Internet continues to deliver faster speeds than its competitors;
  • Fastest Overall Speed claim based on Global Wireless Solutions' combined cellular and Wi-Fi speed test results in Spectrum service area where Wi-Fi is available. Cellular speeds vary by location.

Charter Shares Rural Broadband Take Rate Success

Joan Engebretson  |  telecompetitor

Charter President and CEO Chris Winfrey hopes to complete the company's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF)-funded rural broadband deployment ahead of time. Charter made broadband available to 200,000 new rural locations in 2022, according to Winfrey. The Charter rural take rate for “passings open at least six months” is “ahead of expectations at about 40%,” he said. Charter was one of the largest winners in the RDOF rural broadband program. Funding was awarded through a reverse auction, with funding for an area going to the company that committed to making service available to unserved locations for the lowest level of government support. Charter won over $1 billion in the auction. The company also won state and local broadband funding grants in 2022 and expects to win more in 2023. In December 2022, Charter said it had applications for state and local funding pending for 300,000 locations. Winfrey said Charter is likely to participate in the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) rural broadband funding program, but he added that the decision will hinge on program rules. “The rules still haven’t been clarified,” he said. “They need to be right for us to invest and we think they will.”

Upstream demand driven by 'marketing,' not true usage, Charter CEO says

Jeff Baumgartner  |  LightReading

Charter Communications is upgrading its widespread hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks to support faster speeds. But the demand for lofty upstream speeds is not being driven by actual customer usage, according to CFO Chris Winfrey. "The upstream demand today is much more of a marketing campaign as opposed to any real product demand," said Winfrey. Upstream usage soared during the early stages of the pandemic as people worked and schooled from home, but downstream usage still exceeds upstream usage by a wide margin. However, fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) competitors have put a heavy emphasis on symmetrical, multi-gigabit speeds. Among recent examples, Frontier Communications launched symmetrical 5-Gig speeds across its FTTP footprint, a follow-up to its debut of symmetrical 2-Gig speeds last year. Charter will participate in the delivery and marketing of faster speeds over HFC under a multi-step "network evolution" plan that will provide multi-gigabit downstream speeds across the board alongside an initial focus on symmetrical speeds of 1 Gbit/s.

New Iridium “Companion” Acts More Like a Wi-Fi Hotspot Than Previous Generation Did

Joan Engebretson  |  telecompetitor

Satellite operator Iridium is calling its new Iridium Go Exec device a “satellite access companion.” The device is designed to act more like a Wi-Fi hotspot in comparison with the previous generation device called simply Iridium Go. The new device is also more compact and connects more quickly, according to Iridium. End users will be able to use up to four smartphones and other Wi-Fi devices simultaneously with the device, which is available for sale now. Importantly, users will also be able to use many of the apps that they are accustomed to using on those devices. The device connects to the internet in approximately two seconds, in comparison with the 45 seconds that would have been required previously. A one-megabyte photo can be uploaded in six minutes and downloaded in 90 seconds, Iridium said. The Iridium Go Exec is supported by low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites, which have less latency in comparison with traditional geostationary satellites. Iridium also has its own deal with Qualcomm to support satellite messaging for smartphones.

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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 Grace Tepper (grace AT benton DOT org) — we welcome your comments.

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