FCC's Lifeline overhaul sets fire to a bridge over the digital divide

[Commentary] The Federal Communications Commission took its first major step toward overhauling the controversial Lifeline program in a move that will punish not just low-income citizens but perhaps small, innovative service providers as well.  Yes, Lifeline was once teeming with fraud, waste and abuse. Yes, the program still has significant flaws. And yes, companies that fail to provide adequate services should be forever barred from Lifeline for preying on some of our most vulnerable citizens.

T-Mobile advised to stop using ‘fast’ and ‘reliable’ in FWA ads

The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs told T-Mobile to stop claiming its T-Mobile Home Internet service is “fast” and “reliable.” Of course, that didn’t go over well at T-Mobile, which is appealing parts of the NAD decision that came after a complaint was lodged by rival Comcast. NAD told T-Mobile to discontinue claims that its home internet service is “fast” or “high speed” or modify its advertising to avoid conveying a message that the service will be “fast” or “high speed” for all fixed wireless access (FWA) customers. T-Mobile Home Internet (T-HINT) customers

IdeaTek still sees room to grow rural broadband across Kansas

In recent years, a variety of government broadband funding programs have emerged to address what many people living in small towns knew long before: Rural markets were both under-served and under-appreciated by big technology companies, and not just for broadband, but for just about any technology product or service that comes to mind. IdeaTek, a computer services company that was founded in 1999, pivoted in 2005 into providing internet services, initially dial-up and later DSL, and, by 2007, a small number of fiber-to-the-home connections in five small Kansas towns.

Vermont anchors 100/100 broadband model, municipal approach

Vermont, one of the least populated states in the US, has to contend with plenty of broadband-related challenges. But state legislation and municipal providers have made bridging the digital divide a little easier. Robert Fish, the Deputy Director of the Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB), said Vermont’s issues are the same as those elsewhere in the country.

Several cities deploy community Wi-Fi in US despite lack of national vision

It’s rather surprising that despite the fact that billions of dollars are about to be distributed to US states from the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act for the purpose of closing the digital divide, there are no major government initiatives to establish community Wi-Fi in urban areas. The only federal funds currently available to help people access Wi-Fi are through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides discounts for internet service to eligible low-income households.

Could the 2023 Farm Bill deliver even more broadband funding?

Congress already allocated $65 billion for broadband in 2021 via the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), but as negotiations over the 2023 Farm Bill get underway some are angling for even more cash to boost rural broadband. According to the Congressional Research Service, the Farm Bill is a sprawling piece of legislation covering agricultural and food programs that are revisited every five years or so. The last Farm Bill was passed in late 2018, meaning it is up for renewal in the back half of 2023.

WISPA says NTIA BEAD rules could lead to $8.6B waste

Time is running out for wireless internet service providers (WISPs) to change the government’s mind about unlicensed spectrum. With pressure mounting, Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) CEO David Zumwalt sent a fresh letter to the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) warning its current rules could lead to $8.6 billion in broadband subsidy money being spent on areas that are already covered by fixed wireless access services using unlicensed airwaves.

Buried vs. aerial—fiber firms try to balance growth with resiliency

US fiber companies are furiously expanding their network footprints to accommodate growing demand from consumers and businesses for high-speed broadband.