ICANN New Global Indigenous Ambassador Program – expenses paid to meeting in United Arab Emirates

This would be a tremendous opportunity for the right person. And I’d love for that right person to be from Minnesota…

ICANN Announces Global Indigenous Ambassador Program

14 June 2017

LOS ANGELES – 14 June 2017 – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today announced the creation of the Global Indigenous Ambassador Program. The program establishes two Indigenous Ambassadors, to be selected from underrepresented indigenous communities. Through the inclusion of a broader and more diverse base of knowledgeable constituents, ICANN will be better equipped to support the next generation of the global Internet community. “This is an exciting opportunity for two Indigenous Ambassadors to learn about ICANN and the At-Large community, representing the best interests of Internet end users,” states Loris Taylor, President & CEO, Native Public Media.

ICANN is now accepting applications for two Global Indigenous Ambassadors. Applicants must be members of unserved or underserved tribal or native communities and meet the ICANN Fellowship Program criteria[icann.org]. Selected participants will receive travel, hotel, and per diem for the ICANN60 Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to be held 28 October – 3 November 2017.

The deadline for submitting applications is 6 July 2017.

FCC reports – fixed broadband deployment and CAF eligible areas

The FCC just released data based on their 477 forms. Here’s info on the forms (or form fillers) from the FCC…

  • All facilities-based broadband providers are required to file data with the FCC twice a year (Form 477) on where they offer Internet access service at speeds exceeding 200 kbps in at least one direction. 
  • Fixed providers file lists of census blocks in which they can or do offer service to at least one location, with additional information about the service.*
  • Mobile providers file maps of their coverage areas for each broadband technology (e.g., EV-DO, HSPA, LTE).  See Mobile Deployment Data.

They released a list of census blocks eligible for Connect America Phase II support in states where price cap carriers accepted the statewide offers of model-based Connect America Phase II support. It’s a spreadsheet of eligible census tracts by state. It would be valuable if you had questions on a specific census tract or were able to visualize the tracts. It shows the high cost (HC) and extremely high cost (EHC) areas as well as the providers.

The FCC also released updated data on fixed broadband deployment as of June 30, 2016. You can download that dataset by state – and the data includes advertised speeds up and down. Here’s an important caveat from the site…

A provider that reports deployment of a particular technology and bandwidth in a census block may not necessarily offer that service everywhere in the block.  Accordingly, a list of providers deployed in a census block does not necessarily reflect the number of choices available to any particular household or business location in that block, and the number of such providers in the census block does not purport to measure competition.

FCC Chairman Pai visits Madelia to talk to local telcos

On June 7th, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and his Senior Counsel Nick Degani stopped in Southern Minnesota as they traveled from Minneapolis to Sioux City, Iowa as part of a larger 5 state road trip. I mentioned this earlier – but was happy to talk with MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen (and host to Pai) about the visit.

Brent noted that this is only the second time in past 20 years that a FCC Chairman has visited Minnesota and the first time one toured Greater Minnesota. The Chairman was specifically interested in learning from rural telcos about the challenges they are facing deploying broadband. He also wanted to see how the Connect America Fund (CAF) and Alternative Connect America Model (A-CAM) were actually being implemented in the field.

The Chairman stopped in Madelia where he was given a tour of Christensen Communications Company, a 114 year old family owned company deploying fiber to the premise. The Chairman heard from the Christensen family on how the company started and its commitment to the communities they serve. He was then shown the outside plant upgrade plans and told of how new A-CAM money is being used to expedite the deployment. This was followed by a tour of the Central office where the Chairman was able to have an open dialog with CCC installers on the pros and cons of fiber, fixed wireless and other technologies being used by the company

Following the tour, the Chairman convened a round table discussion in a local restaurant with area telcos. The group talked about contribution reform, the rate floor for landline telephone service, Internet privacy, and other related topics. The Chairman concluded his visit with media interviews.  Brent noted, “I have always been a fan of Chairman Pai and his commitment to rural America, but now I am even more so. He is extremely down to earth and easy to talk to.  Like he said, he comes from a “fly over” state.  When it was all over, the Chairman and Mr. Degani got into their rented Hyundai and continued down the road. It doesn’t get anymore “real” than that.”

Trump nominates Net Neutrality proponent to FCC

According to International Business Times

President Donald Trump recently nominated Jessica Rosenworcel to resume her old job as commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, a role she held from 2012 until the start of 2017. She’s a democrat best known for supporting net neutrality while encouraging the tech industry to get more involved with media regulators and lawmakers.

Rosenworcel was originally ousted when lawmakers neglected to re-confirm her nomination while former President Barack Obama was still in office, despite his attempts to ensure her seat. The Washington Examiner reported Trump deliberately withdrew her nomination when he took office. That move temporarily gave Republicans a majority in the FCC. Since then, the FCC has voted to revoke net neutrality regulations. If Trump’s renewed nomination leads to her confirmation, as is expected, then this idealist could return to take on the telecom industry head on.

July 12 communities speak up for Net Neutrality

The conversation is starting – or maybe continuing – on Net Neutrality on July 12. Here’s the word from the Center for Media Justice

On July 12, 2017, major Internet companies like Amazon, Etsy, Kickstarter, Mozilla, and reddit along with over 25 advocacy and civil rights organizations, Internet users, and online communities will come together to stand up against the FCC’s attack on net neutrality.

Will you join us in an Internet-wide Day of Action to save the open Internet?
CMJ and MAG-Net are working with a broad network of organizations fighting for net neutrality to provide tools to make it easy for your friends, family and followers to take action.
If we lose net neutrality, we could soon face an Internet where people of color and community organizers fighting for justice are forced into a slow lane online, while deep-pocketed companies who can afford expensive new “prioritization” fees have special fast lane access to Internet users – tilting the playing field in their favor. That’s why we need your help on July 12.

CWA asks president to invest in broadband

According to Broadcasting and Cable

With President Donald Trump emphasizing his infrastructure revamp proposal, the Communications Workers of America wants Congress to emphasize broadband investment in any plan it approves.

That came in a letter to the leadership, Republican and Democrat, of the relevant Senate and House committees.

CWA says any broadband infrastructure bill should: 1) direct $40 billion in funding to unserved communities; 2) change the tax laws to accelerate depreciation for broadband capital expenditures; 3) direct $10 billion to the Federal Communications Commission ‘s E-rate fund for high-speed broadband to schools and libraries; and 4) supplement the FCC’s Lifeline subsidy (basic telecom for those who need help affording it) with a $100 tax credit per year on the purchase of broadband by low-income families (less than $35,000 per year).

FCC Chari visits Madelia MN to talk to rural broadband providers

According to the Mankato Free Press

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai visited Madelia Wednesday to talk with rural broadband providers about how to get high-speed internet to more Minnesotans.

He visited with…

Along with [Brent] Christensen [of MN Telecom Alliance], representatives from 702 Communications of Moorhead, Bevcomm of Blue Earth, CenturyLink of St. Paul, KM Telecom of Kasson, Minnesota Valley Telephone/Winthrop Telephone of Franklin, Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and New Ulm Telecom attended the discussion, which was closed to the media.

Sounds like they discussed the future of FCC funding, at least at a high level…

Pai said part of how the FCC can alleviate the cost of the burden is to continue current work on policies that ensure the FCC’s millions in federal subsidies are administered “wisely” to the places that would benefit most and go the farthest, like rural areas.

Sometimes USDA Rural Development grants also are used to support broadband expansion, such as a project completed by RS Fiber last fall in Sibley County. Dan Pacerina, CEO of Hiawatha Broadband Communications, said it cost about $1,000 per home to install the high-speed connections.