Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Amnesty

I have been asked my opinion several times about Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) amnesty—letting RDOF winners walk away from their obligations without big penalties. There is no easy answer to the question. It’s certainly a timely topic, since we are seeing internet service providers (ISPs) walk away from RDOF. There are several good arguments to be made that favor some kind of amnesty.

Governor Moore Announces $19.6 Million in Broadband Awards to Provide Internet Access to 2,400 Maryland Households

Governor Moore (D-MD) announced $19.6 million in Fiscal Year 2024 awards through a new Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development program to help more Marylanders access high-speed, affordable internet. Home Stretch for Difficult to Serve Properties, administered by the department’s Office of Statewide Broadband, will provide internet access to approximately 2,400 unserved Maryland households in its first round. Home Stretch for Difficult to Serve Properties is part of the department’s new initiative to serve remaining Maryland households without internet access.

Comporium Brings Multi-Gigabit Broadband Speeds to Additional York County, South Carolina

Forty-four addresses in two rural areas of York County (SC) have gained access to Comporium’s fiber-based multi-gigabit internet service. Over the past few months, Comporium placed two miles of fiber-optic network to reach addresses off Hands Mill Highway and Kingsburry Road. This project, extending the company’s fiber-optic network, provides customers the ability to access internet speeds of up to five Gigabits per second. Comporium continues to work with state and federal agencies to find ways to upgrade service to more rural customers.

FOCUS Broadband Brings High-Speed Internet to Areas of New Hope in Perquimans County, North Carolina

FOCUS Broadband is accepting orders for high-speed internet service in the first phases of their Perquimans County (NC) broadband project. In 2022, FOCUS Broadband partnered with Perquimans County government to apply for a grant through the North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s (NCDIT) Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Grant Program.

Digital and Educational Equity: How States Plan to Partner with Educational Institutions

Digital equity cannot be fully realized without the participation of educational institutions, including K-12 public schools, community colleges, historically black and other minority serving colleges and universities, and extension programs. Many state digital equity plans embrace education and potential collaborations with educational institutions. All states acknowledge that digital equity is critical to education.

The Bad Business of BEAD

The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) provides $42.45 billion in grant funding to states via the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program (BEAD). IIJA also underscores that any state receiving these funds may not exclude local governments from applying to use these funds to build their own broadband networks.

Brightspeed expands broadband service in Johnson City (TN) area

Brightspeed launched a high-speed internet service that it hopes to reach 160,000 homes and small businesses in Johnson City, Elizabethton, Kingsport, and other surrounding communities in Tennessee. Brightspeed, which is headquartered in Charlotte (NC), is currently the nation’s fourth-largest fiber broadband builder. The company is looking to fill a need in a market where one in 10 Tennessee residents do not have access to high-speed internet. Brightspeed was one of the recipients of $162.7 million in state broadband grants that were announced by Gov.

Newsom's Broadband Cuts

In order to balance the state’s budget, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed $2 billion in cuts to broadband projects that would have expanded internet access across the state. The move outraged digital equity advocates in Los Angeles who say it could jeopardize efforts to reach some of the most vulnerable groups in the area. About 200,000 LA County households don’t have internet. “We are disappointed to see this rollback,” said Cristal Mojica of the Michelson Center for Public Policy.

AT&T paid bribes to get two major pieces of legislation passed, US government says

The US government has provided more detail on how a former AT&T executive allegedly bribed a powerful state lawmaker's ally in order to obtain legislation favorable to AT&T's business. Former AT&T Illinois President Paul La Schiazza is set to go on trial in September 2024 after being indicted on charges of conspiracy to unlawfully influence then-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D).

Minnesota internet service providers warn new legislation may stall $651 million BEAD plan

The Minnesota broadband scene is heating up as service providers rally against new legislation they say will stifle the state’s Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) plan. Minnesota was awarded over $651 million as part of the federal BEAD program. The state’s initial BEAD plan was submitted last year and is still awaiting approval from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).