Daily Digest 7/20/2022 (Broadband Speeds)

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
Table of Contents

Digital Equity

The Joint Center Files Comments with FCC Urging Equitable Broadband Infrastructure Buildout in the Black Rural South  |  Read below  |  Spencer Overton  |  Analysis  |  Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Broadband Data/Speed

Overview of the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection Resources  |  Read below  |  Sean Stokes, Kathleen Slattery Thompson, Liam Fulling  |  Analysis  |  Keller & Heckman
United States' Mobile and Fixed Broadband Internet Speeds June 2022  |  Read below  |  Analysis  |  Ookla
A New Definition of Broadband?  |  Read below  |  Doug Dawson  |  Analysis  |  CCG Consulting
Sens Portman, Bennet, King, Manchin Applaud FCC’s Proposed Broadband Standard  |  US Senate

Broadband Funding

Mercury Wireless, Two Other Companies Get Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Authorization  |  Read below  |  Joan Engebretson  |  telecompetitor

Broadband Infrastructure

FCC Extends Pole Attachments Reply Comment Deadline to August 26  |  Federal Communications Commission

State/Local Initiatives

2022 Governor's Task Force on Broadband Access  |  Read below  |  Research  |  Wisconsin Broadband Office
Benton Foundation
Border-to-Border Broadband for Minnesota  |  Read below  |  Kevin Taglang  |  Analysis  |  Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
New York's broadband program is behind schedule and inaccurate. It's still getting another billion dollars  |  Read below  |  Mike Desmond  |  WBFO
New York City Launches First Link5G Kiosk  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  City of New York
A Plan for Middle and Last-Mile Comes Together in York County, Pennsylvania  |  Institute for Local Self-Reliance


Fiber Versus 5G: Why the Wired Connection Still Reigns  |  Read below  |  David Anders  |  Analysis  |  CNET
Verizon Beefs Up 5G Speeds and Coverage: We Have the First Test Results  |  PC Magazine


Chairwoman Roseworcel Probes Top Mobile Carriers On Data Privacy Practices  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  Federal Communications Commission


Fortinet Announces Free Training Offering for Schools at White House National Cyber Workforce and Education Summit  |  Fortinet
Cyber Companies and Universities Are Building ‘Cyber Talent Hub’  |  Wall Street Journal
Experts say US must not let EU lead on cybersecurity  |  Hill, The


Senate Votes 64-34 to Advance Chips Bill  |  Wall Street Journal

Elections & Media

Texting voters just got harder, right before the midterms.  |  Vox

Platforms/Social Media

Big Tech’s most prominent companies favored their own products as a means of stamping out competition  |  Vox
Big Tech Antitrust Bill Backers Push for Vote  |  Wall Street Journal
Facebook Shifts Resources From News to Focus on Creator Economy  |  Wall Street Journal
TikTok Engaging in Excessive Data Collection  |  Infosecurity
Twitter-Musk Trial Set for October in Lawsuit Over Stalled $44 Billion Takeover  |  Wall Street Journal


Katrina vanden heuvel | Save local news. Our democracy depends on it.  |  Washington Post

Industry/Company News

2021 Broadband Capital Expenditures Report  |  Read below  |  Research  |  USTelecom
Germany's Deutsche Telekom is poised to gain majority control over T-Mobile in US  |  Light Reading
Verizon awarded over $400 million modernization contract with FBI  |  Verizon
Netflix Locked Out Advertisers for Years, but Now Brands Have Big Plans  |  Wall Street Journal


FCC Chief Defends Proposal To Grow Agency’s Budget In 2023  |  Read below  |  Inside radio
FCC Commissioner Starks Announces Staff Changes  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  Federal Communications Commission
Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition 2021 Annual Report  |  Schools Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition
Today's Top Stories

Digital Equity

The Joint Center Files Comments with FCC Urging Equitable Broadband Infrastructure Buildout in the Black Rural South

Spencer Overton  |  Analysis  |  Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Joint Center President Spencer Overton filed reply comments with the Federal Communications Commission “to prevent digital discrimination by ensuring that Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act broadband resources are equitably deployed in the Black Rural South.” Black households in the Black Rural South are among the most unserved by broadband in the nation, and the federal infrastructure law represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix this problem. Despite this opportunity, the 22-page document explains that Southern states could “exclude Black communities in the Black Rural South from state buildout plans and deploy federal infrastructure resources in ways that expand racial disparities in broadband availability.” The reply comments also propose initial steps the FCC, the US Commerce Department, state governments, and local leaders in the Black Rural South should take to avoid inequitable deployment. The comments grow out of data from the Joint Center’s 2021 report “Affordability & Availability: Expanding Broadband in the Black Rural South,” which found that 38 percent of Black households in the Black Rural South report lacking broadband, compared to 23 percent of white households in the Black Rural South and 22 percent of all households in rural areas outside of the South.

[June 30]


Overview of the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection Resources

Sean Stokes, Kathleen Slattery Thompson, Liam Fulling  |  Analysis  |  Keller & Heckman

The Federal Communications Commission launched its Broadband Data Collection (BDC) program on June 30, 2022. As we have previously discussed in the first and second blog posts of our BDC series, all facilities-based providers of fixed and mobile broadband Internet access that have one or more end user connections in service are required to file broadband availability data in the BDC system by September 1, 2022. In this post, we highlight resources available to filers navigating the BDC system. For a comprehensive understanding of the BDC system, filers should access the BDC Help Center. This resource is a one-stop-shop for all information relating to the program. Among other resources, the BDC Help Center has a link to the BDC Filer User Guide. The Filer User Guide provides step-by-step instructions on using the BDC system and making filings. The Help Center also has a link to the BDC Availability Data Specifications. The Availability Data Specifications provide detailed information on the format of data submissions.

United States' Mobile and Fixed Broadband Internet Speeds June 2022

Analysis  |  Ookla

Speedtest by Ookla released its June 2022 mobile and fixed broadband speeds market analysis. Speedtest Intelligence reveals T-Mobile was the fastest mobile operator in the United States during Q2 2022 with a median download speed of 116.54 Mbps on modern chipsets. Verizon Wireless remained in second place and AT&T finished third. T-Mobile also had the fastest median upload speed among top mobile operators in the US at 11.72 Mbps during the second quarter of 2022. Verizon Wireless was second and AT&T finished third. Calculating median latency for the three top mobile providers in the US during the second quarter of 2022, T-Mobile had the lowest latency at 31 milliseconds (ms). Verizon Wireless was a close second at 32 ms. AT&T was third at 34 ms. In measuring the consistency of each operator’s performance, Ookla found that T-Mobile had the highest Consistency in the US during second quarter 2022, with 85.7 percent of results showing at least 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds. Verizon Wireless was second at 81.3 percent and AT&T was third at 79.7 percent. More Speedtest results can be found here.

A New Definition of Broadband?

Doug Dawson  |  Analysis  |  CCG Consulting

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel has circulated a draft Notice of Inquiry inside the FCC to kick off the required annual report to Congress on the state of US broadband. As part of preparing that report, she is recommending that the FCC adopt a new definition of broadband of 100/20 Mbps and establish gigabit broadband as a longer-term goal. First, the FCC is late to the game since Congress has already set a speed of 100/20 Mbps for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program and other federal grant programs. Another issue that has always bothered me about picking a definition of broadband is that the demand for speed has continued to grow. If you define broadband by the speeds that are needed today, then that definition will soon be obsolete. The last definition of broadband speed was set in 2015. Are we going to wait another seven years if we change to 100/20 Mbps this year? If so, the 100/20 Mbps definition will quickly become as practically obsolete as happened with 25/3. Trying to define broadband by a single speed is a classical Gordian knot – a problem that can’t be reasonably solved. We can pick a number, but by definition, any number we choose will fail some of the tests I’ve described above. I guess we have to do it, but I wish there was another way.

[Doug Dawson is president of CCG Consulting.]

Broadband Funding

Mercury Wireless, Two Other Companies Get Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Authorization

Joan Engebretson  |  telecompetitor

The Federal Communications Commission released over 80 pages of authorized bids in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction. All but part of one page were bids for Mercury Wireless, which had funding released for deployments in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas. Mercury CEO Garrett Wiseman confirmed that some of the authorizations were for gigabit fiber broadband and some were for 100/20 Mbps fixed wireless. Those were the two types of bids that Mercury Wireless made in the auction. Wiseman said these were the first RDOF authorizations the company received. The company also had winning bids in Iowa and Nebraska. The other authorized bids were for FiberLight and MEI Telecom. The latest RDOF authorizations list can be found at this link.


2022 Governor's Task Force on Broadband Access

Research  |  Wisconsin Broadband Office

The Wisconsin Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Access releases its second report. In 2022, the Task Force worked as Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), making a once-in-a-generation investment in broadband access, adoption, and affordability. Almost all of the recommendations from the first annual Task Force report still ring true, and the Task Force members believe that the goals and recommendations set within the first report should be advanced, as seen in the Policy recommendations. This year, the Task Force focused on gathering input from people and organizations that could inform the rollout of timely initiatives like the IIJA programs and state programs. The 2021 Task Force on Broadband report focused on five areas of concern--policy and legislative, funding, data and mapping, active network building and community alignment, and digital equity and inclusion--in order for broadband access to become broadly accessible, affordable, and adoptable. The Task Force focused on options for Wisconsin to leverage the many broadband planning initiatives around the state to the benefit of the state’s overall broadband goals. Additionally, the Task Force focused on policy issues that may emerge as the state and national broadband landscape shifts in the coming years. Read the report here.

Border-to-Border Broadband for Minnesota

Kevin Taglang  |  Analysis  |  Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

By statute, Minnesota's goal is that, no later than 2022, all Minnesota homes and businesses have access to high-speed broadband that provides minimum download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and minimum upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps. And, no later than 2026, all Minnesota homes and businesses will have access to at least one provider of broadband with download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 20 Mbps. Moreover, Minnesota has set state goals for how it will compare to other regions. By 2022, the state plans to be in:

  • The top five states in the nation for broadband speed universally accessible to residents and businesses
  • The top five states for broadband access
  • The top 15 when compared to countries globally for broadband penetration

On July 14, Minnesota received a $68.4 million boost from the U.S. Treasury towards achieving these goals.

New York's broadband program is behind schedule and inaccurate. It's still getting another billion dollars

Mike Desmond  |  WBFO

If you are going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars of state money on a program, clearly the goal is to do it right. New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says New York’s broadband program didn’t do it right. In a new audit released in July 2022, he says a core mistake was to rely on a system which measured success in providing availability and which isn’t accurate. Orleans County (NY) Legislature Chairman Lynne Johnson says that’s how her county received slow satellite service. Now, Orleans is making its own way by building a network on that satellite service and 911 towers and municipal service towers. The promise is availability to every home and business in the county next summer. The build out uses federal COVID money. The New York Broadband program started out as a $500 million program and went up from there, with another billion dollars in this year’s budget. DiNapoli says there have been serious problems with contractors running up to four-years behind schedule, state-wide. DiNapoli says the projects in that original half-billion dollars were supposed to be finished in 2018 and some still aren’t.

New York City Launches First Link5G Kiosk

Press Release  |  City of New York

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D-NY), Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser, and LinkNYC CEO Nick Colvin unveiled the first active Link5G kiosk, located in Morris Heights (NY). The new phase of LinkNYC — which provides free Wi-Fi, nationwide phone calls, and other digital services to New Yorkers — will offer 5G connectivity, with priority given to underserved areas throughout the five boroughs. Link5G will provide the needed infrastructure for cellular service providers to expand 5G wireless technology — the next generation of mobile phone service — across the five boroughs. Installation on the new kiosks is beginning summer of 2022. While the city is working with LinkNYC, and in close collaboration with community stakeholders, to determine exact sittings for future kiosks, 90 percent will be located in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and above 96th Street in Manhattan. In order to provide resources to historically underserved communities, priority for new builds will be given to specified equity community districts that were chosen based on lack of other broadband options, lower median annual incomes, lack of existing LinkNYC infrastructure, and high levels of pedestrian and street traffic. Once fully deployed, there will be approximately 2,000 new Link5G kiosks throughout the five boroughs, which will bring the total LinkNYC network to at least 4,000 locations citywide.


Fiber Versus 5G: Why the Wired Connection Still Reigns

David Anders  |  Analysis  |  CNET

While 5G and what it can do for your smartphone is certainly impressive, don't count on it to replace your home Wi-Fi service just yet, especially if fiber-optic internet is available in your area. The same attributes that make 5G home internet appealing -- high speed potential, decent value and simple, contract-free service terms -- are also applicable, often even more so, to fiber. Plus, you'll get faster upload speeds, better speed reliability and more plan options with fiber internet versus 5G service. That said, there may be times when a 5G home internet service makes more sense for your home than fiber, particularly if you want cheap internet or are trying to find internet in a rural area where fiber is unavailable. T-Mobile says its 5G Home Internet offering is available to over 40 million households, while Verizon touts over 30 million households for its 5G Home service. Both carriers are continuing to grow their respective 5G networks, so expect both numbers to increase. So what's the deal with fiber versus 5G? CNET explains it all, starting with an overview of how the two technologies work.

[David Anders is a senior writer for CNET covering broadband providers, smart home devices and security products.]


Chairwoman Roseworcel Probes Top Mobile Carriers On Data Privacy Practices

Press Release  |  Federal Communications Commission

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel wrote to the top 15 mobile providers requesting information about their data retention and data privacy policies and general practices. In the letters of inquiry, Chairwoman Rosenworcel asks about their policies around geolocation data, such as how long geolocation data is retained and why and what the current safeguards are to protect this sensitive information. Additionally, the letters probe carriers about their processes for sharing subscriber geolocation data with law enforcement and other third parties’ data sharing agreements. Finally, the letters ask whether and how consumers are notified when their geolocation information is shared with third parties. The letter also states, “mobile internet service providers are uniquely situated to capture a trove of data about their own subscribers, including the subscriber’s actual identity and personal characteristics, geolocation data, app usage, and web browsing data and habits.” Chairwoman Rosenworcel goes on to say, “the highly sensitive nature of this data—especially when location data is combined with other types of data—and the ways in which this data is stored and shared with third parties is of utmost importance to consumer safety and privacy.” Mobile providers have until August 3, 2022, to reply and provide a response.

Industry News

2021 Broadband Capital Expenditures Report

Research  |  USTelecom

According to USTelecom's 2021 Broadband Capital Expenditures report, America's broadband industry investment reached a twenty-year high in 2021, driving $86 billion in capital expenditures into the nation’s communications infrastructure. The improvements are making US broadband networks faster and more widely available. The 2021 capital influx is a recent high-water mark but it stands on the shoulders of decades of continued investment into America’s world-leading communications infrastructure. Since 1996, US providers have invested $2 trillion into their networks and communities. These investments are paying off for consumers. Americans use their networks to communicate in ways unimaginable in 1996—with millions trading daily commutes to online connections for nearly every aspect of modern life—and paying lower prices to do so. Broadband prices continue to drop and the value of each broadband buck for consumers has never been higher, given that the cost of nearly all other goods and services rose significantly.


FCC Chief Defends Proposal To Grow Agency’s Budget In 2023

  |  Inside radio

Congressional Republicans have raised questions about the size of the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, including growing the agency’s workforce. But FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel says the Biden administration’s proposed 4.3 percent hike that would raise the budget to $390 million is “both balanced and cost-effective” and would only make staffing levels “roughly equivalent” to the agency’s staffing in 2016. “Ensuring appropriate spending levels to support the congressional mandates is a top priority for the agency,” said Rosenworcel in a letter to GOP lawmakers. “Moreover, I believe the American people deserve a technologically savvy and capable FCC, with the resources to handle a fast-evolving communications landscape and ensure that our nation remains globally competitive.” The additional funding would grow the FCC’s total workforce, which has shrunk to some of the smallest numbers seen in decades. Biden proposes raising the FCC staff level to 1,600 in 2022, up 128 from its current 1,472 full-timers. The proposal says the additional staff is needed in order for the FCC to meet its “mission demands” in the coming year. They would be paid for by a mix of regulatory fees, spectrum auctions, and other budget authorizations given to the FCC to raise money.

FCC Commissioner Starks Announces Staff Changes

Press Release  |  Federal Communications Commission

Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks announced several changes to his team. Austin Bonner, Acting Chief of Staff and Legal Advisor for media and consumer protection issues, has departed Starks’s office. She heads to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on detail. Justin Faulb, Starks’s Wireline and National Security Advisor, will serve as Chief of Staff. Joining the office as Legal Advisor for media and consumer protection issues is Hannah Lepow. Lepow was previously an associate at Covington & Burling LLP in the Communications & Media and Data Privacy & Cybersecurity practice groups, where she worked on regulatory and transactional matters with a focus on media and consumer privacy. She received her law degree from Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar, and her undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Columbia University.

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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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