Monday, June 6, 2022
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Cox Communications talked up plans to invest more than $400 million over the next three years to expand its network to underserved areas in eight states, an effort it said is part of a broader multi-billion infrastructure initiative. The operator said expansion projects are underway in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Florida, Louisiana, California, Virginia and Arizona, which will use a combination of private funding and public-private partnership investments. Thus far, it noted it has secured partnership deals to cover more than 6,000 underserved homes in Oklahoma and 3,000 underserved locations in Arizona. It also has partnership agreements in place in Virginia, with pending applications in several additional markets. All told, Cox said it plans to reach more than 100,000 unserved and underserved locations over the coming years. The operator said its plan for underserved areas is part of a broader multi-year, multi-billion network initiative which was announced in February 2022 and will see it roll out 10G service to consumers using a combination of fiber and DOCSIS 4.0 technology.
Midco is leaping ahead with Fiber Forward, an investment that uses the company’s robust fiber network and next-gen fiber tech to bring 10 Gigabit speeds to Lawrence (KS) and its surrounding communities. Over the next few years, more than 65,000 homes and businesses in Kansas will benefit from the future-proof $30 million investment. Fiber Forward will begin this year in Basehor, Eudora and Lawrence to deliver fiber upgrades, enhanced product offerings and increased performance. The upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of 2025. “Broadband deployment and improvement are critical for the future of Kansas and can unlock new opportunities for our state,” said Sen Jerry Moran (R-KS). “The investment Midco announced today to upgrade its networks in Kansas will provide a new generation of broadband service for businesses and create new opportunities to innovate and connect.”
Resound Networks, a winning bidder in the Federal Communications Commission's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction, has successfully achieved gigabit speeds using fixed wireless access (FWA) in the 6 GHz band via an experimental license. The company reached a distance of more than three miles using 160 MHz-wide channels that will become available in the band. Fixed wireless providers have big hopes for the 6 GHz band, which contains a wide swath of spectrum that will be available on an unlicensed basis. The FCC voted in 2020 to free up spectrum in the band.
House and Senate leaders released a discussion draft of a comprehensive national data privacy and data security framework. The draft legislation is the first comprehensive privacy proposal to gain bipartisan, bicameral support. The American Data Privacy and Protection Act would:
- Establish a strong national framework to protect consumer data privacy and security;
- Grant broad protections for Americans against the discriminatory use of their data;
- Require covered entities to minimize on the front end, individuals’ data they need to collect, process, and transfer so that the use of consumer data is limited to what is reasonably necessary, proportionate, and limited for specific products and services;
- Require covered entities to comply with loyalty duties with respect to specific practices while ensuring consumers don’t have to pay for privacy;
- Require covered entities to allow consumers to turn off targeted advertisements;
- Provide enhanced data protections for children and minors, including what they might agree to with or without parental approval;
- Establish regulatory parity across the internet ecosystem; and
- Promote innovation and preserve the opportunity for start-ups and small businesses to grow and compete.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is seeking the public’s input on ways to modernize the agency’s business guidance titled “.com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising.” First published in March 2013, this resource provides guidance to businesses on digital advertising and marketing. As digital deception grows in sophistication, some companies are wrongly citing the guides to justify practices that mislead consumers online. For example, firms have claimed that they can avoid liability under the FTC Act by burying disclosures behind hyperlinks, a practice that can expose consumers to financial fraud, intrusive surveillance, and other harms. FTC staff is seeking public input to ensure the guides are helping honest businesses treat consumers fairly, rather than being used as a shield by firms looking to deceive. In seeking public comment on possible revisions, staff is interested in the technical and legal issues that consumers, the FTC’s law enforcement partners, and others believe should be addressed. The FTC will seek public comment beginning June 3, 2022 and continuing through August 2, 2022. Information on how to submit comments can be found here.
Congress hasn't budged on President Biden's pick for a key tie-breaking Federal Communications Commission seat as the clock ticks down on the chance for a vote. Without confirmation of Biden's nominee, Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow & Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society], the communications regulator will remain deadlocked — hobbling efforts to enact the administration's agenda of expanding broadband access and promoting digital equity. If Sohn, a lawyer and co-founder of the tech and telecom advocacy group Public Knowledge, doesn't win a vote before summer recess, Democrats could lose their chance to fill the seat should Republicans take control of Congress in November 2022. The five-seat FCC has been at two Democrats and two Republicans since the start of the Biden administration. Sohn, seen as the progressives' pick for the agency, faced an uphill battle as opponents seized on outspoken tweets, her involvement with a company hated by the broadcast industry and the opportunity to keep the FCC at 2-2. Left-leaning public interest groups have grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of movement on Sohn's nomination. On the other side, the White House said the administration has pushed just as strongly for Sohn as it has other key nominees, with senior officials engaging with members of Congress. The issue points to a greater pattern of dysfunction in the Biden administration's ability to get executive-level positions confirmed by a Senate with a raz0r-thin Democratic majority.
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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