CCG Consulting

Can the FCC Fund the ACP?

A lot of folks have been pleading with the Federal Communications Commission to pick up the tab to continue the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Folks are assuming that the FCC has the ability to take on the ACP program inside the Universal Service Fund.

FCC to Reimpose Broadband Regulation

The Federal Communications Commission will vote on reimposing Title II authority over broadband at its April 25 meeting. Here are just a few of the things that can happen after the FCC reintroduces Title II regulation:

BEAD Grant Contracts

To receive Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program funding, broadband providers will have to sign a contract with a state broadband office. The grant contract is the most important document in the grant process because it specifically defines what a grant winner must do to fulfill the grant and how they will be reimbursed. The grant contract is going to define a lot of important things:

First Look at Broadband Labels

The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Broadband Labels were implemented by internet service providers with more than 100,000 customers on or before April 10. I've looked at a lot of labels so far, and I have some observations. The first is that the labels are generally hard to find—they are not prominently displayed on provider websites because the FCC's rules say they only have to be displayed at 'points of sale.' One of the features of the labels is that a provider is supposed to provide a plain English description of its technology and network practices.

The Future of Broadband

After spending some time going over my predictions about the future of broadband, I've come to a few conclusions:

The Future of Middle-Mile Fiber

In 25 years, our broadband networks will likely be carrying at 12 to 15 times the volume of data that they carry today, and probably more. Unfortunately, there is no easy path to upgrade middle-mile networks to keep up with the expected future demand. Faster lasers can’t alone satisfy the future demand for increased middle-mile bandwidth.

The Future of the Last Mile

What does future demand for broadband speed and usage mean for last mile technologies? The fastest broadband technology today is fiber, and the most common fiber technology is passive optical network (PON), which brings broadband to local clusters of customers.

The Demand for Broadband Speed

The recent decision of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to increase the definition of broadband from 25/3 Mbps to 100/20 Mbps got me thinking about the long term trajectory of the demand for broadband speed. One way to think about future demand is to look back at the broadband speeds 25 years ago. In 1999, both telcos and cable companies offered 1 Mbps DSL broadband connection as an upgrade to dial-up—and 1 Mbps became the de facto definition of broadband at the time.

BEAD Grants and ACP

I’ve heard rumors for years that the policymakers in DC never expected the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to be permanent. The expectation of the original architects of the plan was that ISPs would bow to public pressure to fill the void when ACP ran dry. However, the giant ISPs are not likely to self-fund the discounts and smaller ISPs can’t afford to do so. I’ve seen some recent articles that argue that the Federal Communications Commission could employ the Universal Service Fund.

Are There Two Broadband Markets?

In a survey of 8,000 broadband customers nationwide, Parks Associates found that FWA cellular wireless customers feel better about the price they pay for broadband than subscribers of other technologies. The survey asked broadband customers to react to the following statement: “I receive Internet service at a fair cost / good price”. The response by technology was as follows: