Daily Digest 8/18/2022 (BEAD Program Planning Funds)

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
Table of Contents

Broadband Funding

NTIA Announces All States and Territories Have Submitted Applications for BEAD Program Planning Funds  |  Read below  |  Press Release  |  National Telecommunications and Information Administration

Digital Inclusion

New Research Finds Extending School, Library Networks Key to Connecting Households  |  Read below  |  Raul Katz  |  Research  |  Schools Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition

Broadband Infrastructure

The New Open-Access  |  Read below  |  Doug Dawson  |  Analysis  |  CCG Consulting


Fort Worth, Texas, Partners With Cisco to Expand Wi-Fi Connectivity  |  Read below  |  Katya Maruri  |  Government Technology
Bexar County, Texas, approves $25 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to expand broadband  |  Read below  |  Troy Kless  |  KENS
Two Initiatives to Foster Local Broadband Solutions  |  Read below  |  Ry Marcattilio-McCracken  |  Press Release  |  Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Governor Cooper (NC-D) Reestablishes Andrea Harris Equity Task Force to Continue Work to Address Underserved Communities  |  NC.Gov

Archtop aims to build XGS-PON oasis in fiber deserts of New York State  |  Fierce


Dish sets sights on high power Citizens Broadband Radio Service tests  |  Read below  |  Monica Alleven  |  Fierce


Omnispace aims to connect 5G mobile phones to satellite network  |  Read below  |  Linda Hardesty  |  Fierce
Subsidy blow for Elon Musk raises questions over orbital broadband  |  Read below  |  Peggy Hollinger  |  Editorial  |  Financial Times


FTC threatens to sue firm allegedly revealing abortion clinic visits  |  Washington Post
A Mother, a Daughter and an Unusual Abortion Prosecution in Nebraska  |  New York Times

More on Platforms

Tech Companies Are Relinquishing Some Control of Online Ads to Users  |  Wall Street Journal

TikTok outlines its plan to combat misinformation ahead of the 2022 midterms  |  TikTok

How Meta Is Planning for the 2022 US Midterms  |  Meta

Gen Z TikTok creators are turning against Amazon  |  Washington Post
Amazon Tests TikTok-Like Feed in App  |  Wall Street Journal

Op-ed: Twitter Becomes a Tool of Government Censorship  |  Wall Street Journal


Reps Nadler and Thompson ask federal law enforcement officials for specifics on the government’s access to and use of Americans'  |  House of Representatives


US chipmakers hit by sudden downturn after pandemic boom  |  Financial Times

From iPhones to AirPods to MacBooks: The Apple Gadgets You Should—and Shouldn’t—Buy Right Now  |  Wall Street Journal


Don’t be too quick to blame social media for America’s polarization – cable news has a bigger effect, study finds  |  Conversation, The

Pay TV Cord-Cutting Accelerates as Cable and Satellite Providers See Losses Across the Board  |  Hollywood Reporter


President Biden's three-headed cybersecurity team  |  Axios

FirstNet Authority Board Approves Fiscal Year 2023 Budget For Agency Operations, Network Investments  |  FirstNet Authority

Today's Top Stories

Broadband Funding

NTIA Announces All States and Territories Have Submitted Applications for BEAD Program Planning Funds

Press Release  |  National Telecommunications and Information Administration

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that all states and territories have submitted applications for initial planning funds as part of the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, which is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative. The BEAD Program enables states and territories to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs. In total, President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) provides $65 billion to ensure all Americans have access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet. Initial planning fund applications for the BEAD program were due by August 15, 2022. NTIA will evaluate the applications and make awards available as expeditiously as possible. Within 270 days of the receipt of planning funds, states and territories are required to submit a Five-Year Action Plan, which will help establish goals and priorities for high-speed internet service and serve as a comprehensive needs assessment.

Summary on Benton.org

Digital Inclusion

New Research Finds Extending School, Library Networks Key to Connecting Households

Raul Katz  |  Research  |  Schools Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition

The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition and New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI) released a new report and case studies demonstrating the effectiveness of connecting low-income students and households to the internet by extending school, library, and other “anchor institution” networks into the community. The case studies show that both large and small school districts, including Council Bluffs (Iowa) and Fresno (California), are using a variety of wireless technologies and partnerships to permanently close the homework gap. During the pandemic, an estimated 15 to 17 million students were cut off from remote learning due to a lack of home connectivity. In response, SHLB, OTI and other advocates petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to allow off-campus use of services funded by E-Rate and permit local schools and libraries to use these funds to directly connect student households to affordable broadband. The case studies describe how changes in wireless technology allow anchor institutions to become hubs for extending affordable internet service to the surrounding community, often by partnering with the private sector. Lead researcher, Dr. Raul Katz of Telecom Advisory Services, concludes that building broadband networks “to-and-through” anchor institutions is often the most cost-effective and financially sustainable option to connect students in rural and underserved areas, challenging a narrative that claims this approach is too costly.

Summary on Benton.org


The New Open-Access

Doug Dawson  |  Analysis  |  CCG Consulting

In the open-access network model, an entity owns a fiber network and allows other broadband providers to use the network to compete for customers. The most common owners of open-access networks are local governments. The network owner makes a big investment in the network and sells individual connections to broadband providers. This is an interesting operating model for an ISP because it doesn’t have to make any significant capital outlays to be able to provide gigabit bandwidth over a fiber network. In the traditional open-access model, the network owner not only owns the fiber, but also the electronics needed to reach customers and they maintain the network and are responsible for repairs and periodic electronics upgrades. However, new open-access models don’t fit the traditional open-access model. In the "conduit model" an entity builds an empty conduit where well-capitalized broadband providers must put forth significant investments to reach and service end users through fiber. In the "dark fiber leasing model" a city builds widespread fiber infrastructure and then leases said fiber infrastructure to broadband providers so they can provide end-to-end broadband servicing. The biggest difference between these models is the size of investments needed to maintain and operate these networks--dark fiber leasing is the least capital and investment-intensive option for broadband providers. 

[Doug Dawson is president of CCG Consulting.]

Summary on Benton.org


Fort Worth, Texas, Partners With Cisco to Expand Wi-Fi Connectivity

Katya Maruri  |  Government Technology

Fort Worth, Texas, is partnering with Cisco Systems to offer free Wi-Fi within five of the city's underserved neighborhoods, potentially providing Internet access to as many as 40,000 residents this fall. The outbreak of COVID-19 exposed connectivity challenges in Fort Worth, illustrating the importance of residents having access to a reliable Internet connection at home to participate in education, healthcare and employment opportunities. The idea is that the five neighborhoods — Ash Crescent, Como, Northside, Rosemont and Stop Six — will receive free Wi-Fi under an expanded city network called CFW Neighborhood, which is already active at libraries and community centers in Fort Worth, an approach new research has found value in. This new public-private partnership will basically extend the existing network much further, making it cover the homes in the five neighborhoods, too, which are home to roughly 40,000 residents. To achieve this, the city is using radio technology to amplify the existing fiber-optic infrastructure. The city decided to expand wireless internet connectivity because of how quick the process is to expand Wi-Fi networks compared to traditional fiber infrastructure deployment.

Summary on Benton.org

Bexar County, Texas, approves $25 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to expand broadband

Troy Kless  |  KENS

Bexar County (Texas) commissioners approved allocating $25 million from American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds to expand broadband internet access. Elmendorf Community Library is one of several anchor institutions struggling with the digital divide in Bexar County and San Antonio. The caretaker of the Elmendorf Community Library says people come in daily to access the internet or use the equipment inside. Twenty percent of residents in San Antonio and Bexar County have barriers accessing the internet, which means 20% of people who can’t work from home, who cannot do school at home. Additionally, there is a request for a proposal (RFP)--due October 6th--to see which internet service providers either have plans to build broadband infrastructure in these areas, currently have infrastructure in place, or want to partner with the county and the city to deploy the infrastructure. SA Digital Connects, the primary facilitator of the public-private partnership approach in the area, estimates there are 5,422 households in those areas that are disconnected due to a lack of infrastructure. SA Digital Connects also hopes those funds can be dedicated to educating people on digital literacy.

Summary on Benton.org

Two Initiatives to Foster Local Broadband Solutions

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken  |  Press Release  |  Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Two new programs will help leaders and local government officials address their community’s needs in practical, efficient, clear-eyed ways, with sensitivity to all the things that make their community unique: the "Urban Digital Equity Bootcamp," (UDEB) and the "Let's Get Going Broadband Program" (LGGB).

  • Modeled after the Tribal Broadband Bootcamp, and having learned lessons from the Digital Equity Leadership Lab and Broadband Accelerate approaches, the UDEB is a two-day event that will develop skills and relationships as well as the needed expertise and partnerships to set and achieve digital equity goals. The UDEB will begin in the fall.

  • The LGGB helps cities and counties struggling to find the best tools and methodologies needed to address infrastructure and digital inclusion. This eight-week, cohort-based program is designed to help local governments, elected officials, nonprofits, foundations, and digital equity advocates orient themselves and develop solutions. The LGGB will begin begin in September.

See more information about the programs here.

Summary on Benton.org


Dish sets sights on high power Citizens Broadband Radio Service tests

Monica Alleven  |  Fierce

Dish Wireless is asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for permission to conduct field experiments to evaluate high power Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) operations and its impact on current operations in the band. The application is notable given that Dish was the second largest bidder in the CBRS auction in 2020 and has been lobbying for a higher power level for the band. T-Mobile, Charter Communications and the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) oppose increasing power levels. Dish’s application for special temporary authority (STA) says the 3.5 GHz tests would be conducted in the Boulder (Colorado) area, to evaluate coverage, throughput and spectral efficiency. If approved, the tests would evaluate the impact to current General Authorized Access (GAA) and Priority Access License (PAL) operations if the in-band emission requirement of -25 dBm/MHz is waived to align with the adjacent C-band, or 3.7 GHz, according to the application. Dish and T-Mobile dispute the timing of the shutdown of Sprint’s CDMA network. Also, they disagree over power levels in the CBRS band. In a filing with the FCC last month, Dish reiterated the benefits of raising the maximum authorized power levels in the CBRS band, saying it would provide carriers and consumers “enormous benefit” by enabling more efficient use of the spectrum, lowering the costs of deployment and ensuring that the U.S. has mid-band spectrum allocations that are comparable to the large 5G frequency bands available in most of Europe and the rest of the world, where 3.5 GHz is widely deployed for 5G.

Summary on Benton.org


Omnispace aims to connect 5G mobile phones to satellite network

Linda Hardesty  |  Fierce

Omnispace, based in Tysons, Virginia, wants to be the first company to deliver a global 5G non-terrestrial network with connectivity directly to mobile devices from its low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The company believes the future of communications is hybrid — where satellites extend and augment terrestrial mobile networks. Despite competition from similar companies — such as AST SpaceMobile — Omnispace’s Chief Commercial Officer Brian Pemberton said that what differentiates Omnispace is that from the beginning it has taken a standards-based approach. The company has been working with the 3GPP to operate its future satellite constellation in accordance with non-terrestrial network (NTN) specifications as defined by the 3GPP in its Release 17 for 5G.  Both Omnispace and AST SpaceMobile plan for their satellite networks to be combined with terrestrial mobile networks to provide ubiquitous mobile device connectivity. Omnispace announced a partnership with Philippine wireless operator company, Smart Communications, who is interested in using 5G connectivity in remote areas, incorporating Internet of Things and sensors for use in monitoring weather disturbances and natural calamities, and augmenting network coverage for disaster relief. 

Summary on Benton.org

Subsidy blow for Elon Musk raises questions over orbital broadband

Peggy Hollinger  |  Editorial  |  Financial Times

The Federal Communications Commission withdrew nearly $900 million in subsidies that had been granted to satellite operator Starlink to bring the internet to 642,000 remote, rural locations. The FCC subsidy was key anchor revenue for a new satellite broadband constellation that has to heavily subsidize customer terminals — priced in most markets at $599 — in order to expand the service. The FCC, in reversing a December 2020 decision, called proposals from Starlink and another subsidy candidate “risky," and questioned Starlink’s ability to deliver a reliable and affordable offer. The latest decision cast a cloud not only over Starlink, which may still appeal, but over the many satellite broadband hopefuls around the world that are making a business case out of connecting the world’s 2.9 billion unconnected people. Acknowledging that “Starlink’s technology has real promise,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel indicated the agency was not willing to “publicly subsidize its still developing technology.” Any government considering subsidies for new low earth orbit (LEO) broadband providers will have to weigh this trade-off between the cost and sustainability of an unproven business model and rapid internet access for the underserved.

Summary on Benton.org

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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.

© Benton Institute for Broadband & Society 2022. Redistribution of this email publication — both internally and externally — is encouraged if it includes this message. For subscribe/unsubscribe info email: headlines AT benton DOT org

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Benton Institute
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