National Broadband Plan is vital to future net vitality

[Commentary] Eight years ago today, the US National Broadband Plan was released, as mandated by a law that received bipartisan support in Congress. That plan is rooted in a critical understanding of ongoing, dynamic forces that continue to shape what is commonly known as the broadband internet ecosystem. Its three pillars — broadband applications/content, devices, and networks — are essential parts that need to work seamlessly together so that all of us can experience the full benefits of the Internet in every aspect of our daily lives.

Digital Divide in the US

The digital divide is the most critical issue of the 21st century – so this report sets out to talk about why it’s so critical and how we can close the divide. Why do we need to close the digital divide?

Commissioner Clyburn & SF Mayor Farrell Joint Statement on Broadband Access

We believe that San Franciscans and communities across the country deserve a better internet, with more choice and competition in the market than exists today. We both have been strong advocates for municipal fiber because we know that many consumers feel inadequately served by their private provider, if they are even served at all. This country has a history of allowing communities to take local control of important utilities such as water, electricity and sewer services – the internet should be no different.

A New Tool To Help Close the Digital Divide

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has said that bridging the digital divide is his highest priority. And now, we have a valuable tool that will aid in efforts to bridge the gap: a new interactive broadband map, which will help the public and policy-makers understand where there are gaps in delivering fixed broadband and much more. This new map is built on the latest data for fixed-broadband deployment, collected every six months by the FCC from providers on Form 477.

The FCC’s New Broadband Map Paints an Irresponsibly Inaccurate Picture of American Broadband

Back in 2011 the Obama Federal Communications Commission announced the creation of a $300 million broadband map using the Form 477 data Internet service providers provide the agency. At the time the map was heralded as a novel way to highlight the coverage gaps and competitive shortcomings of what is pretty clearly a broken US telecom market.  But users quickly discovered that despite the project’s steep price tag and good intentions, the map itself was almost useless.

FCC Updates And Modernizes National Broadband Map

As it works to close the digital divide, the Federal Communications Commission has updated and modernized its National Broadband Map so the map can once again be a key source of broadband deployment information for consumers, policymakers, researchers, and others. The new, cloud-based map will support more frequent data updates and display improvements at a far lower cost than the original mapping platform, which had not been updated in years. Improvements and features in the successor National Broadband Map include:

A wave of new tech could give you more choice in broadband providers

SpaceX's worldwide network of thousands of orbiting devices that can beam Internet signals down to earth from low orbit, 5G data, and more efficient use of our airwaves -- all these could boost competition in your local broadband market in the coming years. If it pays off, the result may be faster Internet speeds, better service and lower prices.

Fixed wireless is a big deal. Here’s why

[Commentary]  Companies across the gamut are investing in new fixed wireless services. And government money aimed at bridging the digital divide could help fund further fixed wireless deployments. Perhaps more importantly, a surprisingly large number of new and existing vendors are selling increasingly inexpensive equipment for fixed wireless services. But the most interesting element in fixed wireless is that it appears to be a breeding ground for new wireless technologies.

Why Broadband Competition at Faster Speeds is Virtually Nonexistent

[Commentary] A large reason for the nation’s lack of competition at faster broadband speeds is the country’s phone companies, for whom residential broadband isn’t profitable enough, quickly enough for investors’ liking. Verizon, for example, has all but given up on expanding its FiOS fiber footprint to focus on making inroads in the wireless video and advertising markets. Smaller telcos, like Windstream, CenturyLink, and Frontier, have similarly shifted their focus toward enterprise services, and tend to only upgrade aging DSL lines in the most profitable areas.

AT&T Takes on Verizon, Comcast with Gfast Deployment, Opening an Interesting Competitive Dynamic

AT&T is embarking on an interesting expansion strategy by launching AT&T Gfast based broadband service to multiple dwelling units (MDUs or apartment buildings to you and me) outside of their traditional service territory. The latest example is Boston, where AT&T announced the availability of Gfast delivered broadband services to select apartment complexes. AT&T Gfast can deliver up to 500 Mbps broadband, using existing building wiring, coax wiring in this case. AT&T is also bundling satellite-based Directv service, where available.