For our 11th year of speed testing major wireless networks across the country, we drove to 26 US cities to see if 5G lives up to the hype. The answer: Not quite yet. While Verizon regains the title of fastest mobile network in our first nationwide 4G and 5G test, the carrier still has very little coverage. And AT&T's and T-Mobile's 5G networks don't help their overall performance much.
5G may hold promise for the years ahead — but across most of America in 2020, a 5G phone does diddly squat. Testing 5G phones, I’ve been clocking download speeds that are roughly the same as on 4G LTE ones. And in some places, like inside my house and along the California highway, my 5G phones actually have been slower. Your experience with a 5G phone in 2020 is likely to be all over the map. I got searing fast 750 Mbps downloads from AT&T in one corner of downtown. But in the same spot, my 4G phone got an also extremely fast 330 Mbps.
If you live in rural Wisconsin, you know how bad the internet service can be. More than 40 percent of rural residents lack access to high speed internet, according to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin government has done relatively little to help. From 2013-2019, the state funded about $20 million in grants for expansion of broadband, an amount experts say is less than negligible.
On Feb 14, 2020, various Members of Congress wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai expressing concern that the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Order may inadvertently undermine the ability of states to help close the digital divide due to the rushed process undertaken by the FCC's adoption of the Order.
How did the birthplace of the internet become a nation where broadband is unavailable to large chunks of the population, keeping students from taking part fully in modern education and their parents from taking advantage of the modern economy? Big investments have been made in the internet in the U.S., but not uniformly or with an eye to expanding connectivity as far as possible. It’s not a task that private industry cares to take on, nor is it one that the public sector can solve on its own—not in a country with such a strident free-market ethos.
The Benton perspective is this: Everyone in America should be able to use High-Performance Broadband, by which I mean broadband connections to the home that are robust and future-proof. Broadband competition is more important than ever because—in our current crises and beyond—America has fast-forwarded into its broadband future. Yet, New York, like the nation, has too little competition in fixed broadband to ensure that all people have the advantage of competitive pricing, quality, customer service, and innovation.
We use a county-level panel dataset from 2012 to 2018 to assess the impacts of various state policies on total and rural broadband availability in the US. The primary dependent variable is the percentage of residents with access to 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload speeds via a fixed connection, with alternative specifications considering other aspects of availability such as technology type and competition. We control for the main determinants of Internet availability such as income, education, age, and population density.
NCTA-The Internet & Television Association is telling the Federal Communications Commission that it should include all makes and models of broadband in gauging competition in the communications marketplace, in comments on the FCC's framework for its next review of that marketplace. NCTA took aim at comments from Google and INCOMPAS that the FCC should only consider service with symmetrical upstream and downstream speeds or only service of at least 1 gig downstream as providing competitive service.
Ryland Sherman recently wrote an article for the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society that recommends that Congress acts to change the rules that allow landlords to block ISPs from their buildings. He also points out that any meaningful change also will require eliminating the ability of ISPs and landlords to negotiate exclusive contracts that block other ISPs from entering buildings.
In anticipation of conducting future Internet Use Surveys, NTIA is seeking recommendations from the public about how we can improve our survey and make it as relevant as possible. Are there questions we previously asked that should be changed or deleted? Are there any questions that we should be adding?