Chairman Pai Response to Rep. Welch Regarding Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee Recommendations
On Jan 22, Rep Peter Welch (D-VT) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urging him not to act on recommendations from the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) until the group reaches a consensus on how best to spur broadband deployment and define the FCC's goal of bringing "reasonably comparable" broadband service to rural America.
Public Knowledge filed reply comments on the Federal Communications Commission’s recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry entitled, “Bridging the Digital Divide for Low-Income Consumers.”
North Dakota is somewhat of an anomaly in today’s broadband world, where so many lack access to high quality broadband. The largely rural state has some of the best, if not the best, state-wide fiber connectivity in the country. It’s about to get better. Dakota Carrier Network (DCN), a regional fiber network operator owned by several independent telcos, has committed to enable a 100 Gig backbone for the network that serves schools, colleges, and government agencies by 2019.
Companies like OneWeb and Elon Musk’s Starlink have been moving forward on ambitious plans to make internet available to every person on earth, which is a noble goal considering an estimated 4.3 billion people don’t have internet access. The problem is that there’s a natural incentive for a private satellite company to engage in “spectrum warehousing,” or highballing the amount of satellites it asks the government to allow it to shoot up. The company’s request may get approved on paper, but the companies may drag their feet sending up those satellites, or never send them up at all.
The Chinese internet’s race to go low: lower income, lower-tier cities and lower internet-service penetration. China’s relatively young internet industry is facing a mature-market problem: User growth for popular online services such as instant messaging, search, online news and video has fallen to single digits. Online population growth has hovered around 5% to 6% annually since 2014, which is only slightly higher than in mature economies. Unlike in many developed markets, a vast number of Chinese are unconnected.
Frustrated with repeated delays costing taxpayers millions of dollars, the Kentucky Senate has voted to effectively end a project that would bring high-speed internet capability to one of the poorest states in the country. But officials in Gov. Matt Bevin's administration warn it would likely cost more to kill the project than it would to finish it.
New rural broadband funding is included in the $1.3 trillion congressional omnibus bill. The bill calls for an additional $600 million to be distributed through the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). The funding authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to create a pilot program within RUS that distributes the new funding in the form of grants and loans. There are details to be worked out, but the authorization calls for “expedited” delivery of the program. A few conditions were mandated by the funding bill. They include:
Legislation to reauthorize the Federal Communications Commission, boost mobile broadband, and provide additional funds, as needed, for broadcasters' moves to new spectrum in the post-incentive auction repack has been included in the must-pass omnibus spending bill, which must pass by March 23 to avoid another government shutdown. The RAY BAUM Act (which incorporated Sen.
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) sent a letter signed by over 60 House members to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, urging him to protect the Lifeline program which provides access to phone and broadband services to over 13 million low-income Americans, the majority of whom earn less than $10,000 a year.
USDA Seeks Applications for Funding to Increase Access to E-Connectivity/Broadband in Unserved Rural Areas
The US Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for grants to fund broadband infrastructure projects in unserved rural communities. USDA is accepting applications through May 14 in the Community Connect program. Grants from $100,000 to $3 million are available to state and local governments, federally-recognized tribes, nonprofits and for-profit corporations. Applicants must be able to provide a 15 percent match on the desired grant amount.