Daily Digest 3/28/2024 (Joseph Isadore Lieberman)

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
Table of Contents


Starlink mobile plans hit snag as FCC dismisses SpaceX spectrum application  |  Read below  |  Jon Brodkin  |  Ars Technica, Federal Communications Commission
CBRS spectrum comes into play with BEAD  |  Read below  |  Linda Hardesty  |  Fierce
Rural FWA operators start to 'edge-in'  |  Read below  |  Jeff Baumgartner  |  Light Reading


Michigan aims to scrub coverage overstatements from its BEAD map  |  Read below  |  Linda Hardesty  |  Fierce
Nebraska Public Service Commission Awards Winning Bids in 2024 Reverse Auction  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  Nebraska Public Service Commission
Google Fiber Offers Updates on GFiber Markets, Including Some Not Announced Before  |  Read below  |  Joan Engebretson  |  telecompetitor
T-Mobile expands its Florida fiber ambitions with help from Tillman  |  Read below  |  Linda Hardesty  |  Fierce

Artificial Intelligence

NTIA Artificial Intelligence Accountability Policy Report  |  Read below  |  Ellen Goodman  |  Research  |  National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Every US federal agency must hire a chief AI officer  |  Vox
The Fight for AI Talent: Pay Million-Dollar Packages and Buy Whole Teams  |  Wall Street Journal
A.I. Leaders Press Advantage With Congress as China Tensions Rise  |  New York Times
Transformed by AI: How generative artificial intelligence could affect work in the UK – and how to manage it  |  Institute for Public Policy Research
AI Seen As a ‘Game Changer’ for the Access Network  |  telecompetitor
Managing Artificial Intelligence-Specific Cybersecurity Risks in the Financial Services Sector  |  Department of the Treasury

Platforms/Social Media

Unsafe: Meta Fails to Moderate Extreme Anti-trans Hate Across Facebook, Instagram, and Threads  |  GLAAD
Social Media May Be Fueling Gen Z's Negative Views on Gender  |  Morning Consult


The Disney Plus-Hulu merger is way more than a streaming bundle  |  Vox


Profile Management Application, a technique that boosts the data efficiency of DOCSIS 3.1 networks by up to 40%, is gaining stea  |  LightReading
Corning's new multi-strand fiber connector helps ISPs lay cable in small spaces  |  Fierce

Stories From Abroad

Orange, Masmovil complete merger in Spain  |  Fierce
Has China Lost Its Taste for the iPhone?  |  New York Times
Russia Amps Up Online Campaign Against Ukraine Before U.S. Elections  |  New York Times
Today's Top Stories

Starlink mobile plans hit snag as FCC dismisses SpaceX spectrum application

Starlink's mobile ambitions were dealt at least a temporary blow when the Federal Communications Commission dismissed SpaceX's application to use several spectrum bands for mobile service. SpaceX is seeking approval to use up to 7,500 second-generation Starlink satellites with spectrum in the 1.6 GHz, 2 GHz, and 2.4 GHz bands. SpaceX could still end up getting what it wants but will have to go through new rulemaking processes in which the FCC will evaluate whether the spectrum bands can handle the system without affecting existing users. In the dismissal, the FCC said the SpaceX requests "do not substantially comply with Commission requirements established in rulemaking proceedings which determined that the 1.6/2.4 GHz and 2 GHz bands are not available for additional MSS [mobile-satellite service] applications."

CBRS spectrum comes into play with BEAD

Linda Hardesty  |  Fierce

Wireless internet service providers (WISPs) hit a homerun when federal officials clarified that areas covered by broadband running on Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum could be marked as served for purposes of BEAD. Many folks in the fiber broadband community are not familiar with wireless internet service and the rules regarding wireless spectrum. But CBRS spectrum has become a factor in the FCC’s national broadband map, and it is affecting the determination of BEAD-eligible locations. The first BEAD rules from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said that for wireless broadband, only service providers who owned their own licensed spectrum could apply for BEAD funds in unserved locations. But later, the NTIA clarified its rules and said that service providers who had access to general authorized access (GAA) CBRS spectrum could apply for BEAD funds in unserved locations. Previously, GAA CBRS spectrum had been considered as unlicensed. But after the rule change, it is considered as licensed-by-rule.

Rural FWA operators start to 'edge-in'

Jeff Baumgartner  |  Light Reading

For rural operators, fixed wireless access (FWA) technologies have served well to "edge-out" and deliver services to areas that can't be reached by cable and fiber networks cost-effectively. But thanks to the beneficial economics of FWA paired with some of the capabilities packed into the latest generation of equipment, those operators are also looking to "edge-in" and bring wireless broadband to pockets of urban markets that aren't adequately covered by wireline networks, said Bill Baker, CEO of Nextlink Internet, a provider of wireline and wireless broadband in parts of eight states. FWA rollout costs are low, and deployments of the customer premises equipment (CPE) are driven on a success-based model. Unlike fiber buildouts, FWA deployments only need 1-2 percent of the market share to be financially viable, which makes it easier for formally rural-focused operators to expand into urban markets.

Michigan aims to scrub coverage overstatements from its BEAD map

Linda Hardesty  |  Fierce

The Michigan High Speed Internet Office kicked off its BEAD challenge process this week, and it’s doing everything in its power to scrub the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) map of locations where providers are overstating their coverage. The state is receiving a historic $1.56 billion BEAD funding allocation—the fourth highest in the nation. Starting March 26, it is accepting challenges to the FCC's broadband map for the state through its interactive state challenge portal until April 25. However, the state is aware of potential misrepresentations on its broadband map. Specifically, questions have arisen about Mercury Broadband’s fixed wireless access (FWA) coverage in 12 counties in Michigan. Mercury has claimed practically ubiquitous FWA coverage in those counties. Mercury made similar statements about its coverage in Kansas, which were left on the FCC map after the challenge process, leaving unserved or underserved areas ineligible for BEAD funding.

Nebraska Public Service Commission Awards Winning Bids in 2024 Reverse Auction

Press Release  |  Nebraska Public Service Commission

The Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) issued an Order awarding nearly $21 million to winning bids for broadband buildout to more than 1,100 unserved Nebraska households as a result of its 2024 Reverse Auction. The 2024 reverse auction was designed to provide broadband capable voice service to rural areas where telecommunication carriers Frontier and Windstream have traditionally provided only voice service by redistributing Nebraska Universal Service Fund (NUSF) support that was either unused or withheld from the two companies. Bidding in the reverse auction began on January 22 with the final round held on March 11. Four entities were ultimately awarded bids in the reverse auction. The winning bidders consisted of Great Plains Communications, the Hamilton Consortium, Midstates Communications and Pinpoint Communications. More details on the areas that were awarded bids can be found on the Commissions broadband map at https://broadbandmap.nebraska.gov

Google Fiber Offers Updates on GFiber Markets, Including Some Not Announced Before

Joan Engebretson  |  telecompetitor

Blink and it’s easy to miss Google Fiber news. In March, the company offered progress reports on multiple GFiber markets, including some that hadn’t been previously announced. On March 11, the company said it was working in Pocatello and Chubbuck, Idaho. On March 18, the company noted that service was available in an apartment and condo building in Hillsborough, North Carolina, which is near Duke University. This is the first location where service will be available in Hillsborough. On March 19, the company said the City of Blue Springs, Missouri city council approved a license agreement to allow GFiber to expand into the community. Blue Springs is located 19 miles east of Kansas City, which was Google Fiber’s first market more than a decade ago. 

T-Mobile expands its Florida fiber ambitions with help from Tillman

Linda Hardesty  |  Fierce

Tillman Fiber is expanding its fiber networks in Florida, and it has confirmed that it’s “collaborating” with T-Mobile on the project. The fiber network expansion will serve four areas of the state, including the cities of St. Petersburg, Fort Myers, Naples, Pensacola, Miami, Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Kissimmee. We already knew that Tillman was working with T-Mobile in the Florida counties of Pinellas and Polk, which includes St. Petersburg and Lakeland. But today’s news shows that T-Mobile is also planning to offer fiber in counties in and around Miami and in the Florida Panhandle, among others. Tillman builds open access fiber networks, and it confirmed that this expansion will also be open access. This means that after the networks are deployed, Tillman will lease their use to T-Mobile and other service providers, who will in turn serve broadband to end customers.

NTIA Artificial Intelligence Accountability Policy Report

Ellen Goodman  |  Research  |  National Telecommunications and Information Administration

Alongside their transformative potential for good, artificial intelligence (AI) systems also pose risks of harm. These risks include inaccurate or false outputs; unlawful discriminatory algorithmic decision making; destruction of jobs and the dignity of work; and compromised privacy, safety, and security. Given their influence and ubiquity, these systems must be subject to security and operational mechanisms that mitigate risk and warrant stakeholder trust that they will not cause harm. Participants in the AI ecosystem—including policymakers, industry, civil society, workers, researchers, and impacted community members—should be empowered to expose problems and potential risks, and to hold responsible entities to account. AI system developers and deployers should have mechanisms in place to prioritize the safety and well-being of people and the environment and show that their AI systems work as intended and benignly. To achieve real accountability and harness all of AI’s benefits, the United States—and the world—needs new and more widely available accountability tools and information, an ecosystem of independent AI system evaluation, and consequences for those who fail to deliver on commitments or manage risks properly.

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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), Grace Tepper (grace AT benton DOT org), and Zoe Walker (zwalker AT benton DOT org) — we welcome your comments.

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