Recognizing the importance of high-speed broadband Internet access, Congress in 1996 tasked the Federal Communications Commission with “encourag[ing] the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans.” To ensure the Commission took this obligation seriously, Congress required the Commission to report on its progress each year.
Chairman Pai has circulated a draft 2018 Broadband Deployment Report to his colleagues and below are the key findings and additional information.
The 25/3 speed benchmark is maintained. The draft report finds that the current speed benchmark of 25 Mbps/3 Mbps remains an appropriate measure by which to assess whether a fixed service provides advanced telecommunications capability.
Mobile services are not full substitutes for fixed services — there are salient differences between the two technologies. Both fixed and mobile services can enable access to information, entertainment, and employment options, but there are salient differences between the two. Beyond the most obvious distinction that mobile services permit user mobility, there are clear variations in consumer preferences and demands for fixed and mobile services.
One can read all the comments for this docket by following the following link, which unfortunately seems to not present all comments in order of receipt, but prioritizes comments from large companies and influential groups “above the fold”.
"Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment"
Be sure not to miss this letter from Attorney Harry Lehmann, which supplements his collection of substantial letters which proved effective at helping to secure a veto from Gov. Jerry Brown for CA SB.649, The Cellphone-Towers-on-Light/Utility-Poles-in-Residential-Neighborhoods Bill.
The following is another powerful comment that uncovers why FCC Docket 17-84 is so wrong-headed and will not stand.
Please include my comment in opposition to proceedings on the expediting and expansion of 4G/5G networking onto public right of way and poles, and the stand-down of copper-lines in both urban and rural areas .
I request that a 30-day extension to comments be granted on these proceedings, with a 30-day extension to replies on comments. Further, I request a moratorium on these and other expansion of 4G/5G networking policy recommendations by the FCC until such time that evidence can be shown that these two docket items, and expansions like them when implemented, can comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and 42 U.S.C 12101 et seq.
by Karl Bode Jan 4th 2018 6:29am; Original article here
FCC Prepares To Weaken Broadband’s Definition To Hide Competitive and Coverage Issues
From the not-particularly-subtle dept . . .
Under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, the FCC is required to consistently measure whether broadband is being deployed to all Americans uniformly and "in a reasonable and timely fashion." If the FCC finds that broadband industry is failing at this task (you may have noticed that it is), the agency is required by law to "take immediate action to accelerate deployment of such capability by
Removing barriers to infrastructure investment" and
"Promoting competition in the telecommunications market."
Of course given that the Telecom sector is the poster child for regulatory capture, this mandate often gets intentionally lost in the weeds. This is usually accomplished by simply pretending the lack of competition doesn’t exist. Or worse, by meddling with broadband deployment metrics until the numbers show something decidedly different from the reality on the ground. It’s a major reason why broadband ISPs (and the lawmakers who love them) whine incessantly every time we try to update the definition of broadband to a more reasonable and modern metric.
Streamlining and Expediting Requests to Locate Broadband Facilities in Rural America
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to promote better access to broadband internet service in rural America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. Americans need access to reliable, affordable broadband internet service to succeed in today’s information-driven, global economy. Currently, too many American citizens and businesses still lack access to this basic tool of modern economic connectivity. This problem is particularly acute in rural America, and it hinders the ability of rural American communities to increase economic prosperity; attract new businesses; enhance job growth; extend the reach of affordable, high-quality healthcare; enrich student learning with digital tools; and facilitate access to the digital marketplace.
It shall therefore be the policy of the executive branch to use all viable tools to accelerate the deployment and adoption of affordable, reliable, modern high-speed broadband connectivity in rural America, including rural homes, farms, small businesses, manufacturing and production sites, tribal communities, transportation systems, and healthcare and education facilities.
by Karl Bode Jan 12 2018, 8:00am; original article here.
Harvard Study Shows Why Big Telecom Is Terrified of Community-Run Broadband
— Community-owned internet service providers are cheaper and better.
A new study out of Harvard once again makes it clear why incumbent ISPs like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T are so terrified by the idea of communities building their own broadband networks. According to the new study by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, community-owned broadband networks provide consumers with significantly lower rates than their private-sector counterparts.
The study examined data collected from 40 municipal broadband providers and private throughout 2015 and 2016. Pricing data was collected predominately by visiting carrier websites, where pricing is (quite intentionally) often hidden behind prequalification walls, since pricing varies dramatically based on regional competition.
In many markets, analysts couldn’t make direct comparisons with a private ISP, either because the ISP failed to meet the FCC’s 25 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up standard definition of broadband (a problem for countless telcos who refuse to upgrade aging DSL lines), or because the ISP prequalification website terms of service “deterred or prohibited” data collection.
By David Ruiz, January 11, 2018; Original article here.
House Fails to Protect Americans from Unconstitutional NSA Surveillance
The House of Representatives cast a deeply disappointing vote today to extend NSA spying powers for the next six years by a 256-164 margin. In a related vote, the House also failed to adopt meaningful reforms on how the government sweeps up large swaths of data that predictably include Americans’ communications.
Because of these votes, broad NSA surveillance of the Internet will likely continue, and the government will still have access to Americans’ emails, chat logs, and browsing history without a warrant. Because of these votes, this surveillance will continue to operate in a dark corner, routinely violating the Fourth Amendment and other core constitutional protections.
“About” collection is an invasive type of NSA surveillance that the agency ended last year, after years of criticism from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which provides judicial oversight on Section 702. This type of collection allows the NSA to tap the Internet’s backbone and collect communications that are simply “about” a targeted individual. The messages do not have to be “to” or “from” the individual. The new proposal to expand Section 702 regrettably includes a path for the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence to restart “about” collection. It is a model that we saw in an earlier Section 702 reauthorization bill in 2017. Read Github’s letter opposing this bill here.
by Bruce Kushnick 01/11/2018 01:53 pm ET; original article here.
Verizon Has Invested in 470+ Companies/Entities, Worldwide
When you pay your Telecommunications bills, do you ever wonder where all the money goes? Verizon Communications, Inc. had a 5% or more interest in these 470+ companies/entities at the end of 2016. While the company pleads poverty and claims it can’t afford, or won’t, build out and maintain their networks, have funds been transferred for investments worldwide, including to Bulgaria, Iran, India or Estonia?
Or worse, in the Net Neutrality decision, how can the FCC quote research that uses the construction budget of the entire holding company, which has hundreds of companies, to claim that ‘Title II’ harmed the ISP investments in US broadband deployment? (And what does NCC Charlie, NCC Delta and NCC Echo Company do, exactly?)
Note: This is a partial list and doesn’t include Yahoo, for example, which closed in June 2017. (Source: Verizon NY 2016 Annual Report, published June 2017.)
Federal Court dismisses Crown Castle NG East LLC’s complaint and finds that the City of Rye, NY properly undertook a SEQRA review of Crown’s request to install dozens of mini cellphone tower’s throughout the City.
On Friday December 8, 2017, Judge Briccetti granted the City’s motion to dismiss Crown Castle’s complaint finding that the City did not violate the 1996 Telecommunications Act (“TCA”) when it rendered a Positive Declaration under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.
According to Rye Mayor Joseph A. Sack:
“This Order recognizes the importance of a diligent review process that includes a review of the potential environmental impacts of installation of small cells. The City considered varying points of view and to have Judge Briccetti affirm that we have acted in accordance with federal law is gratifying.”
Patrick Shannon, an attorney who specializes in government regulation:
The issue is not over. What we really need now is to reform our process of government so that the citizens have a meaningful opportunity to participate in the process. We are going to seek reforms to ensure that that happens.
Verizon has the option to appeal to the full City Council within 15 days.