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FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel And the Mantle of Michael Copps | Wetmachine | Tales of the Sausage Factory

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel And the Mantle of Michael Copps | Wetmachine | Tales of the Sausage Factory | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moved forward on the transition of the phone system by adopting an order at its February open meeting. By a 5-0 vote, in addition to a number of other important first steps, the FCC adopted a set of governing principles for the transition. The principles focus on core values: Universal Service, Consumer protection, Competition, and Public Safety.


The principles did not just drop out of thin air.  Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel first proposed them in this speech in December of 2012. While few have noticed, Rosenworcel continued to quietly, and effectively push this framework, culminating in a unanimous vote with broad approval from both corporations and public interest groups.


More amazing for this hyper-partisan and contentious times, the principles capture both progressive values and conservative values, traditionally shared by Republicans and Democrats alike. The idea that access to communications services is so essential to participation in society that the Federal government has a role in making sure that ALL Americans have affordable access goes back to the New Deal and Section 1 of the Communications Act. But the basic precept is even older, going all the way back to Founding Fathers. Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the express power ”to establish post offices and post roads” in recognition that ensuring that all Americans can communicate with each other is what helps make us a single country and one people — a core conservative value. As the arteries of commerce and the means of communication have evolved from post roads and post offices to steam trains and telegraphs to the automobile and the telephone, we have continued to preserve this idea of universal service to All Americans as a core traditional value of what it means to be an American.


But as essential and shared as these values are, no one was talking about them as the basis for the Phone Transition, or how to bring them forward into what Chairman Wheeler calls “The Fourth Network Revolution,” until Commissioner Rosenworcel started the conversation. From the time AT&T first proposed a “sunset of the Public Switched Telephone Network” during the National Broadband Plan in 2009 until Rosenworcel’s December 2012 speech, no one even talked about values – let alone proposed that a set of fundamental values needed to guide the transition. The conversation remained mired — and stalled — in myopic focus and bickering on the details of specific regulations. Commissioner Rosenworcel understood well before anyone else that the best way to move forward, and the way to keep the process firmly centered on the public interest, required reaffirming our fundamental values as the first step.


Mind you, Commissioner Rosenworcel has not been the only one pushing a public interest framework as the necessary first step to move us forward and a guide to what to keep, what to change, and what to throw away altogether.  I and my employer Public Knowledge have been pretty active on that front ourselves, as have others.  But while advocacy can create the space for policymakers to do the right thing, someone with the power to actually propose and push policy needs to actually champion the public interest and move the flag forward.


It is difficult to appreciate today how daunting the challenge was a year ago for then newly-confirmed Commissioner Rosenworcel to turn the conversation from a debate about “regulation” and “deregulation” for its own sake to remembering why we care in the first place and what we hope to accomplish.


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NTIA Creates First Interactive Map to Help Public See the Digital Divide across the Country

NTIA Creates First Interactive Map to Help Public See the Digital Divide across the Country | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it
The NTIA unveils a cool new tool. I’ve showing a screenshot of MN, focusing in on Itasca County… Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a new publicly available digital map that displays key indicators of broadband needs...
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Pandemic Colors View of Broadband Deployment | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

Pandemic Colors View of Broadband Deployment | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Broadband deployment is still a work in progress, but it’s progressing at a pace that does not require regulatory intervention to speed it up.

That is what the Federal Communications Commission is signaling, but not without some caveats from the Republican majority, amplified by the COVID-19 spotlight on the need for universal broadband ASAP.

It is a conclusion being challenged by critics of the pace of broadband deployment, who argue that old definitions of reasonable deployment should not hold in the new normal of a pandemic.

 

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MO: Early broadband build-out leaves some rural areas prepared for online work and school |  Anna Brugmann / Columbia Daily Tribune | LakeNewsOnline.com

Two years after Gov. Jay Nixon created the Missouri Rural Broadband Initiatives and nearly seven years before Missouri would codify a rural broadband grant program into law, Co-Mo Electric Cooperative was building for the future.

“Moniteau (County) was the first place where we first put down fiber,” Co-Mo Connect Marketing Coordinator Gene McCoy said.

Fiber internet is what Sean Vanslyke of Semo Electric Cooperative in southeast Missouri calls future proof.

 

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NAB to FCC: Don't Muck Up White Spaces Compromise | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

NAB to FCC: Don't Muck Up White Spaces Compromise | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The National Association of Broadcasters is warning the FCC not to mess with the hard-fought compromise broadcasters struck with Microsoft over freeing up more white spaces spectrum for 5G, particularly in rural areas, while not interfering with broadcasters sharing the spectrum band. 

White spaces are the vacant spectrum between TV station signals. 

In comments on the FCC's white spaces proposal, which was unanimously adopted Feb. 28, the National Association of Broadcasters signaled three moves that would threaten that compromise, discouraging the FCC from "introducing novel interpretations of its longstanding rules that will jeopardize existing and future television service.".

 

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Blue Ridge Mountain EMC Transforms Broadband Have-Nots Into Broadband Haves | Sean Buckley | Broadband Communities Magazine | BBCMag.com

Blue Ridge Mountain EMC Transforms Broadband Have-Nots Into Broadband Haves | Sean Buckley | Broadband Communities Magazine | BBCMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Electric cooperatives have given hope to the rural broadband market, and Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation (BRMEMC), in the broadband industry for more than 17 years, has earned the right to call itself a pioneer in that emerging space.

Several electric co-ops in the Southeast have contacted BRMEMC for advice about how to deploy a broadband network. BRMEMC, founded in 1938, is a member-owned electric cooperative headquartered in Young Harris, Georgia, serving more than 53,000 member-customers. The provider currently offers electric and FTTH broadband services to Fannin, Towns and Union counties in northern Georgia and in Clay and Cherokee counties in western North Carolina.

BRMEMC’s broadband journey is far from typical.

 

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Parking Lots Have Become a Digital Lifeline | Cecilia Kang | The New York Times | NYTimes.com

Parking Lots Have Become a Digital Lifeline | Cecilia Kang | The New York Times | NYTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

As the sun set on a recent evening in Rutherfordton, N.C., the author Beth Revis drove her green S.U.V. into the parking lot of a closed elementary school and connected to the building’s free Wi-Fi. Then, for the third time since the coronavirus pandemic had taken hold, she taught a two-hour writing class from her driver’s seat.

Ms. Revis, 38, held a flashlight to her face with one hand. In the other, she held a selfie stick with her smartphone attached, looking at the device to speak to her students.

Getting the internet in her area, about 70 miles west of Charlotte, had always been a headache, Ms. Revis said. “But during the pandemic,” she said, “it has turned from a mild inconvenience to a near impossibility.”

For Ms. Revis and many others across the country, parking lots have been a digital lifeline during the pandemic.

 

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Pentagon Chief Chides FCC on Ligado Approval as GPS Threat | Todd Shields & Tony Capaccio | Bloomberg.com

Pentagon Chief Chides FCC on Ligado Approval as GPS Threat | Todd Shields & Tony Capaccio | Bloomberg.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said regulators had used incomplete data in approving Ligado Networks LLC for a mobile network that the military says threatens interference to GPS.

The Federal Communications Commission relied on Ligado-funded test results that used 14 receivers, but U.S. agencies examined 80 devices and found Ligado’s operations would cause harmful interference, Esper said in a May 1 letter to Senator James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

 

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Businesses are hinting at 5G rollout delays | Jon Porter | TheVerge.com

Businesses are hinting at 5G rollout delays | Jon Porter | TheVerge.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Mobile carriers, network suppliers, and analysts are warning that the rollout of 5G networks could be delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The warnings came as businesses reported their quarterly earnings, in which they outlined what effect the ongoing crisis could have on their bottom lines. The full impact of the pandemic won’t be known until the June numbers are in, but right now, the US 5G rollout appears to be in better shape than Europe, with China’s deployment seemingly right on track.

Concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on 5G network rollouts aren’t new. After all, Huawei warned that 5G’s European rollout would “certainly be delayed” back in March, although it said the effect wouldn’t be as significant in the UK. We’ve also already seen 5G spectrum auctions delayed in a number of European countries including Portugal, Austria, Spain, France, and the Czech Republic. But as more businesses comment on the pandemic, its overall impact is starting to become clearer.

 

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In a Few Weeks, Telehealth Has Gone from Pre-COVID19 Convenience to Life or Death Necessity | David Jelke | BroadbandBreakfast.com

In a Few Weeks, Telehealth Has Gone from Pre-COVID19 Convenience to Life or Death Necessity | David Jelke | BroadbandBreakfast.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it
There will be an outcry if the telehealth tools are taken away from Americans following the coronavirus pandemic, said Mei Kwong, executive director of the Center for Connected Health Policy, at a webinar hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation on Wednesday.

Ann Mond Johnson, another panelist and CEO of the American Telemedicine Association, argued that during the ordeals of pandemic telehealth has gone from a “pre-COVID convenience” to a “life-or-death” necessity.

Telehealth, also known as telemedicine refers to receiving remote consultation from a medical provider, and it has the transition from in-person appointments to telehealth appointments have been fast during coronavirus. Johnson has witnessed practices that have “converted over to virtual literally over a weekend.”

The government has responded to the demand for telehealth by “removing many barriers,” said Johnson.
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CenturyLink Asks FCC for CAF Deployment Deadline Extension, Citing COVID-19 Issues | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor.com

CenturyLink Asks FCC for CAF Deployment Deadline Extension, Citing COVID-19 Issues | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

CenturyLink has warned the FCC that the company may not meet deadlines for completing broadband deployments funded through the CAF (Connect America Fund) program. In a meeting with senior commission officials this week, CenturyLink representatives attributed the deployment delays to the COVID-19 pandemic and asked the commission for a deployment deadline extension.

In a letter that CenturyLink sent to the FCC summarizing the meeting, the company noted a range of reasons why the pandemic was causing CAF deployment delays, including:

 

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Sen. Capito: FCC Sec. 706 Report Shows Improvement, But... | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

Sen. Capito: FCC Sec. 706 Report Shows Improvement, But... | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.) said the FCC's recent Sec. 706 report on the deployment of advanced telecommunications shows improvement, but it is clear the FCC needs better data. 

The report, released last week, concluded that the digital divide is continuing to close and advanced telecommunications continues to be deployed to all Americans on a reasonable and timely basis.  

The commission vote to issue the report was 3-2, with the Democrats dissenting.

 

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The coronavirus pandemic is breaking the internet | Sascha Meinrath Opinion | TheHill.com

The coronavirus pandemic is breaking the internet | Sascha Meinrath Opinion | TheHill.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Have you noticed that Netflix has been having streaming issues while you’re binge-watching your favorite show? How about connectivity problems during a Zoom call? Or longer-than-usual wait times when loading up a page while online shopping? Have you had trouble downloading big work files? These aren’t one-off problems. And, today, they are often symptoms of a much larger issue — something is going terribly wrong with residential connectivity across the United States.

 

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Electric Co-ops Request Expedited Rural Broadband Subsidies From FCC | Katie Kienbaum | MuniNetworks.org

Electric Co-ops Request Expedited Rural Broadband Subsidies From FCC | Katie Kienbaum | MuniNetworks.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Earlier this month, more than 70 electric cooperatives joined consulting firm Conexon in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to speed up planned rural broadband funds in response to the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In comments filed with the FCC, Conexon called upon the agency to accelerate phase one of the $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) reverse auction, planned for later this year, in order to connect rural communities and bolster local economies affected by the current crisis.

 

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More than 30 firms join alliance calling for 'open' 5G systems | AFP | Techxplore.com

More than 30 firms join alliance calling for 'open' 5G systems | AFP | Techxplore.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A new coalition of tech and telecom firms is calling for open-standards 5G wireless systems which don't rely on a single supplier.


More than 30 technology and telecom firms unveiled an alliance Tuesday to press for "open and interoperable" 5G wireless systems that eliminate the need for a single supplier.

The move comes amid heightened global debate over politically sensitive deployment of the ultrafast fifth-generation networks in a market led by Chinese-based Huawei, along with European-based Nokia and Ericsson.

The new Open RAN Policy Coalition said an open-standards system with competitive bidding for various components in a "radio access network" would avoid depending on any single technology supplier.

 

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Bridging the digital divide for rural communities more critical than ever | Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO.), Opinion | TheHill.com

Bridging the digital divide for rural communities more critical than ever | Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO.), Opinion | TheHill.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Life in the age of COVID-19 is something Americans have had to quickly learn how to navigate. Schools and many businesses remain shut down, much of our commerce is now taking place online, and doctors, nurses, first responders, and transportation workers have rightly assumed heroic status for their service on the front lines of this battle.

We are also learning what tools are essential to the continued well-being of our communities and the survival of our economy. One of the most vital tools is access to broadband internet service. Broadband access was a concerning issue in many rural North Missouri communities and elsewhere throughout the country before the pandemic, but now the problem is even more pressing.

 

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For These Federal Employees, Telework Means Productivity Is Up, Their Backlog Is Down | Brian Naylor | WBUR News | WBUR.org

For These Federal Employees, Telework Means Productivity Is Up, Their Backlog Is Down | Brian Naylor | WBUR News | WBUR.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to work from home, and that includes employees of the federal government. The numbers vary by agency, but at the Social Security Administration, some 53,000 workers are doing so.

Get the editor's can't miss stories of the week, and tips for navigating life – and weekends – during the coronavirus outbreak. Sign up now.

Social Security field offices are closed. But the shutdown hasn't stopped the agency from processing claims for new benefits and appeals of benefit denials. And according to statistics that the SSA sent its workers, the agency has been doing so at a faster pace than before.

 

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From Smart Highways to Connected Ports, 5G Promises Big Gains in 2020 | Ingo Flomer | Broadband Communities Magazine | BBCMag.com

From Smart Highways to Connected Ports, 5G Promises Big Gains in 2020 | Ingo Flomer | Broadband Communities Magazine | BBCMag.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In an increasingly connected world and with the number of connected devices skyrocketing, it’s inevitable that major shifts will occur in the indoor coverage landscape.

For the past two years, 5G has been everyone’s favorite topic. People are fascinated by when, where and how it will be deployed. They’re definitely interested in the cost barriers and other challenges. Once the dust settled on the initial honeymoon period of 5G, however, it was evident that 2019 was going to be a year for LTE instead. There was a progression of LTE use cases in 2019, across public safety networks, transport connectivity hubs, and in-building coverage.

In contrast, 2020 is the year 5G may finally have its moment. The number of 5G indoor coverage systems being installed is expected to rise as a result of the increased number of consumer devices in circulation. 5G will also be the star of the new industrial internet of things (IIoT), owing to the enhanced capabilities it will offer to industries such as manufacturing and agriculture.

FirstNet deployment is ahead of schedule, and despite the challenges ahead, there are signs that more and more FirstNet-compliant hardware will be available. However, the industry still needs to find innovative ways to ensure that building owners adopt the technology while keeping costs down.

 

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FCC Says Temporary Spectrum Authorities Are Paying Off | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com

FCC Says Temporary Spectrum Authorities Are Paying Off | John Eggerton | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In a preview of its plan to free up the lower 45 MHz of the 5.9 GHz spectrum band for WiFi, the FCC said the wireless internet service providers (WISPs) it has allowed to use the band temporarily during the pandemic are increasing speeds, reducing congestion and extending coverage areas. 

The FCC began extending special temporary authorities for emergency use of the band in late March. To date, it said it has granted more than 100 WISPs to handle the increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The STA's are kind of a dry run on the FCC's grander plan.

 

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Is 5G done? Controlling the damage, and controlling the outcome | Scott Fulton III | ZDNet.com

Is 5G done? Controlling the damage, and controlling the outcome | Scott Fulton III | ZDNet.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

It's almost commonplace now to say we're in uncharted territory. The type of social behavior that was said to be the driver of innovation in mobile technology — our greater mobility and wider social circles — is today, and for the near future, a danger to humanity. The economy into which some in our society are all too eager to emerge, is already suffering from an artificial, though necessary, shutdown.

 

Nothing more pointedly epitomizes the tremendous confusion among the very people that a global 5G Wireless infrastructure would seek to bring together than the arson attacks against wireless transmitter masts in the UK and throughout Europe. The motive behind these attacks is believed to be the widely

propagated conspiracy "theory," backed by an ample supply of lack of evidence, that Chinese technology embedded in 5G towers is intentionally creating coronavirus spores and spreading them with high-frequency radio waves. There's so much to disprove the very notion of this mechanism, the "theorists" argue, that it must be true.

 

The abundance of disposable income that was supposed to fuel the world's transition to a more practical, easier-to-manage, energy-efficient wireless infrastructure, has already been ransacked by SARS-CoV-2. Now the business model and the value proposition for the technology portfolio -- or, at the very least, what parts of that portfolio may be salvaged -- must change. As countries are faced with 20% unemployment or worse, 5G must transition from a cool feature into a national priority.

 

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Asteroid has close encounter with geosynchronous satellite | David Szondy | NewAtlas.com

Asteroid has close encounter with geosynchronous satellite | David Szondy | NewAtlas.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A small asteroid came within a cosmic hairbreadth of the ring of communications satellites circling the Earth in geosynchronous orbit this week.

 

Passing by our planet at an altitude of about 35,000 km (22,000 mi), the object measuring four to eight meters (13 to 20 ft) in diameter whizzed past the nearest satellite on April 28, 2020, at 18:49 GMT at a distance of about 1,200 km (750 mi) on one of the closest Earth flybys ever recorded.

 

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Mississippi Utility Commission Urges Broadband Investment | Taylor Vance, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal | GovTech.com

Mississippi Utility Commission Urges Broadband Investment | Taylor Vance, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal | GovTech.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Mississippi Public Service Commission on Wednesday sent a letter to the state’s senior U.S. senator urging him to help speed the process of disbursing federal money intended to help improve rural Internet access.

The Federal Communications Commission currently plans to hold an auction in October that will begin awarding money from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

The commission, made up of two Republicans and one Democrat, sent the letter to U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Tupelo). The commission wants Wicker to either encourage the FCC to amend its timeline or to file a bill in the Senate to override the current FCC auction timeline and require the agency to begin awarding funds to uncontested bidders with projects ready to begin.

 

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Why the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is So Significant, and How to Succeed in Applying For RDOF | Drew Clark | Broadband Breakfast.com

Why the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is So Significant, and How to Succeed in Applying For RDOF | Drew Clark | Broadband Breakfast.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (“RDOF”) is a significant acceleration of the Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to subsidize the construction of broadband infrastructure in rural communities.

The FCC has pledged to allocate $20.4 billion of support, over 10 years, in two phases. That’s roughly $2 billion a year in broadband subsidies.

But the auction is a complicated process. Fortunately, on Tuesday, May 5, at 12 Noon ET, two knowledgeable organizations - the "broadband fabric" data and mapping experts at CostQuest Associates and attorneys from Marashlian & Donahue, PLLC, also known as The CommLaw Group - will explain what would-be bidders need to understand about RDOF in a FREE webinar, “How to Prepare and Effectively Bid in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction.”

 

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Is the internet breaking? MLab shows counties with slow down – including Minnesota

Is the internet breaking? MLab shows counties with slow down – including Minnesota | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

I have seen articles saying that Internet is built to withstand the increased quarantine traffic and some that say, we’ll do OK and now one that says some areas are slowing down. The Guardian reports…

The Covid-19 crisis is exposing how the cracks in the US’s creaking digital infrastructure are potentially putting lives at risk, exclusive research shows.

With most of the country on lockdown and millions relying on the internet for work, healthcare, education and shopping, research by M-Lab, an open source project which monitors global internet performance, showed that internet service slowed across the country after the lockdowns.

Here’s what that looks like in the US.

 

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Belgium: Health workers call for caution over 5G roll-out | Alan Hope | The Brussels Times | BrusselsTimes.com

Belgium: Health workers call for caution over 5G roll-out | Alan Hope | The Brussels Times | BrusselsTimes.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Some 400 doctors and 900 health care workers have signed an open letter to the government, urging them to exercise caution regarding the roll-out by Proximus of a forerunner of the next generation of mobile data, known as 5G.

The six-page letter goes out under the name of the Hippocrates Electrosmog Appeal.

Last week, Proximus began to test its “5G Light” version of the new generation in 30 communes around Belgium, the timing of which the organisation criticises.

 

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INCOMPAS Report: Only 25% of Census Blocks Have Competition for 100 Mbps Broadband | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor.com

INCOMPAS Report: Only 25% of Census Blocks Have Competition for 100 Mbps Broadband | Joan Engebretson | Telecompetitor.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Only one-quarter of developed U.S. census blocks have two or more providers of 100 Mbps broadband, according to a broadband competition report from INCOMPAS – and according to the competitive carrier association, competition is even less than that finding would suggest because the finding is based on Form 477 data collected by the FCC.

Virtually everyone agrees that the Form 477 data overstates broadband availability. In this case, an entire census block would be considered to have 100 Mbps broadband, even if only a single location in the census block can get service at that speed.

The finding is one of a range of data points that INCOMPAS uses to back up its assertion that “the fixed BIAS [broadband internet access service] market, as well as the business data services marketplace, remain highly concentrated” in certain geographic areas.

Other key INCOMPAS findings about the BIAS market:

 

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