Infrastructure

Frontier Backs Down Slightly on Challenges to RDOF Eligible Areas

Frontier told the Federal Communications Commission it would “welcome the inclusion” of the census blocks where it claims to newly offer broadband service into the upcoming Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). Seeking to “clarify” its position, Frontier indicated that it would not fight to exclude the 17,000 census blocks in question despite maintaining that it does offer 25/3 Mbps speeds in those areas.

5 steps to get the internet to all Americans

We have incorporated the internet as a critical part of our personal and professional lives. This is not going to change. The COVID-19 crisis has sped us forward to a paradigm shift in which we rely on the internet to bring economic and social activity to us—rather than us going to them. Yet, tens of millions of Americans do not have access to or cannot afford quality internet service. The United States has an internet access problem, especially in rural areas. The existing program to extend broadband has become a corporate entitlement for incumbent telephone companies.

Alaska telecom finishes state’s first overland fiber-optic link to the Lower 48

A subsidiary of Matanuska Telephone Association has finished construction of the first overland fiber-optic cable connecting Alaska to not-Alaska. Having the cable means Alaska is no longer solely dependent upon a series of subsea cables for high-speed Internet and telephone service. Alaska’s subsea cables are vulnerable to earthquakes, and an overland connection offers a “geographically divers

Key Elements of State Broadband Programs

States play a crucial role in efforts to expand broadband to the millions of Americans who still lack access to this vital service. Nearly all states have responded to the growing demand for reliable, high-speed internet by creating broadband offices or designating responsibility for broadband to a state agency, task force, or council. While their structures might vary, state programs share many similarities, including working with local officials and other stakeholders to close gaps in service, managing data on broadband access, and administering grant programs.

Ending the digital divide

The issue of high-speed broadband access has been a concern in Lawrence County (OH) and rural parts of the nation for some time and, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for connectivity has only become more apparent.

COVID-19 has only intensified the broadband gap

Broadband already powers much of our modern lives, but COVID-19 has acted as an accelerant, a fuel of sorts that has driven many essential activities online. The most significant way to move the dial for Americans without broadband is by changing policy at the federal, state and local level, not only for more funding but to remove roadblocks so that broadband can reach rural and underserved Americans faster.

Extending Broadband Access in Rural and Native Communities During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Representatives of rural and Native communities share stories about the experience of lacking a broadband connection when the service is necessary to work, study, and obtain healthcare, safely. These brief anecdotes illustrate the negative impact that substandard service or lack of service has on the safety and wellbeing of rural and Native communities in general, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors offer the Federal Communications Commission 12 recommendations:

Short-Term Recommendations

Little-known internet network plans Western Colorado expansion to link students, nonprofits to supercomputers

GigaPop, long exclusive to universities and federal research labs, offers unthinkably fast speeds and access to the brightest minds — and their data. And now, this decades-old network wants to expand to connect as many western Colorado educational institutions, K-12 classrooms, nonprofits, health care services, and community organizations it can, from Denver to Durango and Grand Junction. The idea that an exclusive research network could spread to the Western Slope and connect students, telemedicine patients and telecommuters is being pitched as BiSON West.

Broadband network capacity strong but provider challenges persist

Companies say internet network capacity has stayed strong the last two months, but some providers are struggling to repay loans, provide internet routers, or find enough personal protective equipment to protect workers from COVID-19. Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai told the House Communications Subcommittee May 19 one reason the networks have been able to handle the traffic increase is because of investments and improvements in broadband infrastructure in recent years. “Since 2016, for example, Internet speeds are up over 80%.

Cooperatives Fiberize Rural America: A Trusted Model For The Internet Era

This report illustrates the remarkable progress cooperatives have made in deploying fiber optic Internet access across the country. It features updated maps that show areas already covered by cooperative fiber networks, areas where cooperative fiber networks expanded between June 2018 and June 2019, and areas where cooperatives are currently building out new infrastructure. A few important takeaways: