Trump’s Multi-Pronged Attack on the Internet

By Susan Crawford, New York Times Op-Ed Contributor, April 17, 2017; Original article here.


S4WT Comment: Susan Crawford, a professor at Harvard Law School and the author of “Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age." wrote this prescient article in 2017. The Trump FCC is nearly done with its industry-friendly/consumer-unfriendly agenda and the worst is before us right now: S.3157: The STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act of 2018 — which is attempting to eliminate local control of public rights-of-way across the US. I can think few ideas — or legislation — that is more un-American.


If there’s one thing that brings Americans together, it’s our hatred of the giant companies that sell us high-speed internet data services.

Consumers routinely give these five giant Cable and Telecom companies —

  1. Comcast
  2. Charter (now Spectrum)
  3. AT&T
  4. Verizon
  5. CenturyLink

. . . basement-level scores for customer satisfaction. This collective resentment is fueled by the sense that we don’t have a choice when we sign up for their services.

By and large, we don’t.

These five companies account for over 80 percent of wired subscriptions and have almost total power in their territories. According to the Federal Communications Commission, nearly 75 percent of Americans have at most one choice for high-speed data.

2018 Net Inclusion Conference Keynote: Susan Crawford

Also view the Dividing Lines Documentary and Web Site

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Why Democrats Should Embrace Internet for All

Voters across the political spectrum believe Internet access is a right.

By Sean McElwee, Ganesh Sitaraman and Jon Green, August 1, 2018 | Original The Nation Article here

In 2017, the Tennessee state legislature passed a bill designed to expand Internet access in rural areas. At first glance, this might seem have seemed like an amazing display of public service. The challenge that Tennessee and other states face is real: 34 million Americans lack high-speed Internet access, according to a 2016 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Report. Forty percent of these Americans are in rural areas.

In reality, this was just a dressed-up corporate handout. The bill provided $45 million in subsidies for Comcast and AT&T to provide rural Internet access—and to make matters worse, the companies are only required to offer 10Mbps rates, hardly high-speed service.

But what if the government decided access to the Internet was a basic right, and that profit motives didn’t have to be a central part of the equation? As a new generation of politicians is asking whether it’s time for some new ideas, a public option for Internet access—call it “Internet for All”—might fit the bill. According to our research, it appeals to voters in both the deepest blue and the deepest red districts across the country.

And one Democratic primary candidate hopes it can propel him to the biggest surprise win in a Michigan primary since, well, the last time Michigan had a major Democratic primary.

The lack of access to high-speed Internet service is an underrated and serious problem in America. Not only does a significant part of the country lack such access, many more people don’t have a choice in their provider.

  • Almost 60 percent of neighborhoods (developed census blocks, in the FCC’s technical parlance) have either no high-speed Internet access or only one option.

  • Almost 90 percent of neighborhoods have no access at all to Internet speeds of 100 Mbps. Without competition, monopolies can jack up the prices while cutting back on service.

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Telcos Canceled Fiber to the Home and Created the Digital Divide

Adapted from an ARS Technica article by Jon Brodkin, 7/31/18 | Original article here

AT&T and Verizon have generally built fiber only where they face competition.

You already knew that home broadband competition is sorely lacking through much of the US. Much of this misery was created because our State Public Telecom Utilities (controlled by AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink and Frontier) failed us:

  • Since the mid-1990’s, these State Public Telecom Utilities collected tens of billions of dollars from landline customers for the express purpose of upgrading copper Wirelines to Fiber Optic Wirelines.

  • The parent/holding companies of these State Public Telecom Utilities — AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink and Frontier — pocketed the money, but never delivered the promised Fiber Optic service.

  • The parent/holding companies fraudulently transferred these funds from these State Public Telecom Utilities to their private Wireless subsidiaries to build out 4G/LTE.

  • This fraud has been well-documented at the FCC for decades, but the FCC functions as a branch office of AT&T and Verizon and the FCC aids and abets this fraud of the American people.

US Population Offered ISP Service by Telcos
(millions of people)

Telco ISP Total DSL Fiber % Fiber
AT&T 122.5 114.7 7.8 6%
Verizon 55.2 21.9 33.3 60%
CenturyLink 49.1 15.3 3.8 8%
Frontier 30 20 10 33%

The telcos have mostly avoided upgrading their copper networks to fiber —except in areas where they face competition from cable companies. These details are in "Profiles of Monopoly: Big Cable and Telecom," a report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The full report is available at this link.

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Australia: Nationwide Class Action Suit over RF-EMR Hazards of 4G/5G Densification Scheme

by Darius Leszczynski and the Environment and Communities Safe from Radiation Assn. Inc. (ECSFR), July 30, 2018 | Original article here.

In the 1980’s, when the 1G mobile technology was commercialized, things were easy for the Telecom industry. Users of the expensive and cumbersome technology were few and, therefore, the number of those aware of the health hazards from pulsed, data-modulated, Radio-frequency Electromagnetic Microwave Radiation (RF-EMR) exposures was small. The knowledge about the biological and health effects of microwaves was available, but not many were aware of it.

Today, 40+ years later, with 4G/5G densification planning to be deployed on a massive scale, things are different. There is now a large number of users of the already existing 3G and 4G technology who are aware of the safety, privacy and property value hazards that 4G/5G densification brings to neighborhoods. The planned addition of 5G and IoT applications will make these numbers soar. Everyone will be forced to co-exist with 5G and the IoT, whether or not they are willing to be exposed 24/7 to the RF microwave radiation from these Close Proximity Microwave Radiation Antenna – Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (CPMRA-WTFs).

The knowledge of the harms of RF-EMR energy emitted by the Wireless communication devices and infrastructure has increased over the 40 years. The WHO agency, IARC, classified in 2011 RF-EMR energy emitted by the 3G and 4G devices as a possible human carcinogen (Group 2B IARC classification). Since then, additional studies in humans (epidemiology) and in animals (toxicology) have indicated that this radiation energy should be classified as a human carcinogen (Group 1 classification).

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World’s First Big 5G Deal: Nokia and T-Mobile Agree to $3.5 Billion Contract

By Eric Auchard; July 30, 2018; Original article here.

Terms of the deal call for Nokia to supply a range of 5G hardware, software and services that will allow T-Mobile to capitalize on licensed airwave to deliver, broad coverage on 600 megahertz spectrum and ultra high-speed capacity on 28 gigahertz airwaves in densely trafficked urban areas.

T-Mobile US named Nokia to supply it with $3.5 billion in next-generation 5G network gear, the firms said on Monday, marking the world’s largest 5G deal so far and concrete evidence of a new wireless upgrade cycle taking root. No.3 U.S. mobile carrier T-Mobile — which in April agreed to a merger with Sprint to create a more formidable rival to U.S. telecom giants Verizon and AT&T — said the multi-year supply deal with Nokia will deliver the first nationwide 5G services.

The T-Mobile award is critical to Finland’s Nokia, whose results have been battered by years of slowing demand for existing 4G networks and mounting investor doubts over whether 5G contracts can begin to boost profitability later this year. 5G networks promise to deliver faster speeds for mobile phone users and make networks more responsive and reliable for the eventual development of new industrial automation, medical monitoring, driverless car and other business uses. But cash-strapped Telecom operators around the world have been gun-shy over committing to commercial upgrades of existing networks, with many seeing 5G technology simply as a way to deliver incremental capacity increases instead of new features.

  • Nokia will supply T-Mobile with its AirScale radio access platform along with cloud-connected hardware, software and acceleration services, they said in a statement.

  • The network equipment business, which is led by three big players — China’s Huawei HWT.UL, Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson (ERICb.ST) — has struggled with flagging growth since the current generation of 4G mobile equipment peaked in 2015.

Petaluma Sets Cell Phone Tower Policy

by Yousef Baig, July 27, 2018 | Original Argus Courier article here | Petaluma Municipal Code

2018-0716: Petaluma City Council Regulates So-Called “Small Cell” Cell Towers

As the demand for data and cell service increases, broadband providers are currently taking steps to boost the power of wireless signals by installing new cell towers and “small cell facilities” all over the country.

Rather than getting caught flat-footed, Petaluma officials recently took proactive measures to rework the telecommunications chapters of the municipal code, implementing zoning ordinances with strict regulations for when wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon try to expand in the city.

Last week, the city council enhanced a series of requirements approved by the planning commission earlier this year that amends the city’s guidelines for cellular equipment. Around Sonoma County, cities like Santa Rosa have been dealing with the fallout from construction of small cell facilities, which are various antennas that can be attached to utility poles and operate at high frequencies to deliver data faster.

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Letters to the Editor in South Dakota and Hawaii

Thune/Schatz’ ‘Streamline Cancer’ Bill

By Nina Beety, Monterey, CA., Jul 22, 2018 | Original Yankton Daily Press/Dakotan Letter to the Editor here.

Sen. Thune’s S.3157 allows 4G/5G “small cell” towers in front of homes and schools in the public’s right-of-way, stripping much of the regulatory authority from communities.

This flood of “small cell” towers — every 2-20 homes — is reckless. Sen. Thune ignores decades of research showing biological disruption and harm from this radiation. The U.S. National Toxicology Program found it causes cancer after only two years of exposure. Children are especially vulnerable, as are bees, birds, and trees. Thune ignores this and over 230 scientists and physicians who called on the EU and the UN in 2017 to halt 5G, saying wireless radiation is a serious public health hazard.

California communities are rallying against these “small cells”, putting up yard signs, banners, organizing protests, and addressing hearings to stop them. Verizon’s plan to put a “small cell” at the Pacific Grove High School was called “unacceptable” and “appalling” by the principal. SB.649, a proposed CA State Bill allowing the so-called "Small Cells" throughout California was vetoed after widespread opposition.

Sen. Thune wants a Congressional hearing on the bill this month. The National League of Cities opposes this horrible bill. Stop S.3157.

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Firefighters Living Next to Cell Towers Suffer Neurological Damage

Original ‘Smart Meter Harm’ article here. Original Susan Foster letter here.

A. Pulsed, data-modulated, Radio-frequency Electromagnetic Microwave Radiation (RF-EMR) exposure levels measured were well within what the FCC commercial guideline for RF-EMR exposures

"The fire station cell tower measured at 1/1000th to 2/1000th of the allowable FCC limit of non-ionizing radiation. That means the towers could be almost 1000 times more powerful than the level the firefighters were exposed to, and still be considered within FCC guidelines. And yet even at these levels of radiation, we found brain abnormalities and measurable neurological deficits."

President, Los Angeles County Firefighter’s Union, Local 1014, Opposes Cell Towers

Result: LA County suspends decision to construct the cell towers! Congratulations local 1014!

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Senate Hearing On The Race to 5G

  • Focus: Exploring Spectrum Needs
  • Committee: Senate Commerce
  • Webcast: Wed, July 25, 2018 at 10:00 am ET — view webcast

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on July 25, 2018 at 10:00 am ET in 253 Russell Senate Office Building on “The Race to 5G: Exploring Spectrum Needs to Maintain U.S. Global Leadership.” The committee webcasts its hearings on its website — the hearing starts at 31:35 in the video.

Senator John Thune (R-SD):

"There is much more to do. We will address ways to reduce barriers to [4G/5G densification] deployment in the near future. Senator Schatz and I introduced the STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act a few weeks ago that reflects many months of hard work of meetings with stakeholders from across the country and of negotiation. It is still a work in progress, as we try to bring the benefits of [4G/5G densification] to American consumers, reap the benefits of 5G leadership of America and respect the important role that state and local governments play in deployment decisions."

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL):

"I want to say something about infrastructure. It’s true that 5G networks are designed around denser wireless infrastructure, made up of many small cell facilities. The Chairman has a bill, [S.3157], on this siting process. We’ve all received passionate feedback on this [bill] and I want us to have a
robust conversation about the bill at a future hearing that must include participation by local government and all the interested stakeholders.
"

Really, Sen. Thune . . . how does Senate Bill 3157, as written, actually “respect the important role that state and local governments play in deployment decisions?”

Watch the video carefully . . . Senator Thune’s nose grew when he read these words handed to him by ALEC/Verizon/AT&T.

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2018 Verizon-NY Settlement

By Bruce Kushnick, July 19,2018; Original article here.

Fiber Optics to Underserved Areas; Repairs of the State Utility Networks

New Networks Institute (NNI) & the IRREGULATORS just helped to get 32,000 fiber optic lines installed by Verizon-New York in underserved areas as well as have the state utility be required to do long needed repairs of the copper networks  that are still in use. The State claims that there are still 2.14 million ‘voice-only’ access lines in service. We estimate that this settlement is valued at $300 million to $1/2 billion in additional spending by Verizon in New York State over time.

Note: This claim of the number of copper-based access lines is low for many solid reasons.

In state after state, Verizon decided to simply use the State Telecom Utility companies as a cash cow to fund its other subsidiary companies and other lines of business and let the copper networks deteriorate  —  while charging customers billions for upgraded fiber networks that they never got. While Verizon started to do ‘FiOS’ fiber-to-the-home, they stopped in 2010. Verizon transferred the funds to construct fiber optic lines from the the State Telecom Utility companies to their private, Wireless subsidiaries, in order to build cell towers for the 4G/LTE Wireless network. All of these cross-subsidies resulted in massive artificial losses for State Telecom Utility companies, resulting in more landline rate increases and an excuse to ‘shut off the copper’.

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