The FCC reports…
Taking further steps to close the digital divide, the Federal Communications Commission today authorized over $4.9 billion in support over the next decade for maintaining, improving, and expanding affordable rural broadband for 455,334 homes and businesses served by 171 carriers in 39 states and American Samoa, including 44,243 locations on Tribal lands.
The support is targeted to smaller rural carriers, traditionally known as “rate-of-return” carriers. These carriers agreed this year to accept subsidies based on the FCC’s Alternative Connect America Cost Model, or A-CAM, which provides predictability, rewards efficiency, and provides more value for each taxpayer dollar. The homes and businesses are located in sparsely populated rural areas where the per-location price of deployment and ongoing costs of providing broadband service are high, requiring support from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund to facilitate network improvements and keep rates reasonably comparable to those in urban areas.
In return for the support that is being approved today, carriers must maintain, improve, and expand broadband throughout their service areas, including providing service of at least 25 Megabits per second downstream and 3 Mbps upstream to over 363,000 locations, including more than 37,000 locations on Tribal lands. Providers will be held accountable through an enforceable schedule for delivering improved and expanded service, with the first interim deployment obligation occurring in 2022.
Minnesota is one of the biggest recipient with $569,183,965 going to better serve 55,520 locations over the next 10 years.
I know this info below will not transfer well to the website BUT you can download a spreadsheet of which carriers got funding, how much, for how many areas at which speeds and more…
|| Albany Mutual Telephone Association
|| Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc.
|| Benton Cooperative Telephone Company
|| Federated Telephone Cooperative
|| Farmers Mutual Tel
|| Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Association
|| Garden Valley Telephone Company
|| Halstad Telephone Company
|| Harmony Telephone Company
|| Johnson Telephone Company
|| Kasson & Mantorville Telephone Company
|| Lonsdale Telephone Company
|| Lismore Cooperative Telephone Company
|| Paul Bunyan Rural Telephone Cooperative
|| Polar Communication Mutual Aid Corporation
|| Runestone Telephone Association
|| Spring Grove Communications
|| Upsala Cooperative Telephone Association
|| Woodstock Telephone Company
|| Winnebago Cooperative Telephone Association
|| West Central Telephone Assn.
I wrote earlier about the $28.5 million coming from the FCC to Minnesota for broadband. BUT I want to follow up with any specific info related to providers or areas getting the funding. The Albert Lea Tribune reports…
The Federal Communications Commission has authorized over $28.5 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to 8,089 unserved homes and businesses in Minnesota, part of the fourth wave of support from last year’s successful Connect America Fund Phase II auction. The providers will begin receiving funding later this month.
Nationwide, the FCC authorized over $121 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to 36,579 unserved rural homes and businesses in 16 states in today’s wave of funding. …
“In Minnesota, this round of funding takes yet another step toward closing the digital divide, providing access to digital opportunity to nearly 8,100 unserved rural homes and businesses.”
Freeborn County will receive $1.9 million, according to a press release.
A press release from Next Century Cities…
Fast-Tracking the T-Mobile and Sprint Merger Undermines Public Interest
Washington DC (August 14, 2019) — Today, Federal Communications Commission leadership recommended the approval of the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, a move that would further consolidate the wireless market and eventually raise prices for consumers.
T-Mobile and Sprint are two maverick companies that have competed head-to-head to offer innovative low-cost products to consumers and create a vital resale market. Combining the two would likely raise prices across the market, and would be particularly harmful for low-income consumers who rely on mobile service as their sole connection to the internet.
Both companies have told the FCC and Congress that the merger is necessary in order to build out next-generation wireless networks, yet have simultaneously touted independent 5G deployments to the public. It remains true that ultimately, competitive pressure — not consolidation — is what will drive network upgrades.
“The FCC’s charge is to protect the interest of the public, not of private companies,” said Cat Blake, Senior Program Manager. “This deal is good for T-Mobile and Sprint, but will ultimately make it harder for Americans to access affordable, high-quality essential mobile services. Further, it is unacceptable that the FCC would move to approve a deal without first soliciting public comment on the significant divestiture package required by the Department of Justice.
The public has a right to weigh-in on whether restructuring the deal with DISH would provide adequate consumer choice in the wireless market.”
A merger between T-Mobile and Sprint would be against the public interest. The FCC should follow the 16 state attorneys general in blocking the deal.
Minnesota is one of those states striving to block the deal.
I wrote earlier about the $28.5 million coming from the FCC to Minnesota for broadband. BUT I want to follow up with any specific info related to providers or areas getting the funding. The West Central Tribune reports…
Internet provider Midcontinent Communications is in line to receive more than $3 million in funding over 10 years from the Federal Communications Commission to expand the reach of broadband internet to more properties in five local counties.
Yellow Medicine County alone will get $2.349 million in funding, to bring broadband to approximately 440 locations, according to a news release from the FCC. Other counties on the list include Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Meeker and Renville counties. All totaled 931 new properties will be served by broadband in the five counties.
I wrote earlier about the $28.5 million coming from the FCC to Minnesota for broadband. BUT I want to follow up with any specific info related to providers or areas getting the funding. St Cloud Times reports…
The Federal Communications Commission authorized funding Monday that will help expand broadband in Stearns County over 10 years, according to a release.
The commission approved more than $28 million to help expand broadband in Minnesota, and providers will start receiving funds later this month.
Midcontinent Communications will receive $719,916 in funding over 10 years to expand services in Stearns County, according to the release.
The funding will help 280 locations gain access to broadband. Across the state, the funding will expand service to more than 10,000 homes and businesses.
FCC is making changes to how they do mapping. The changes are necessary; the current system has long been criticized. Doug Dawson looks at whether these changes will make a difference…
The most important new change is that ISPs have to produce mapping ‘polygons’ to show where they have existing customers. The ISP polygons can cover areas without current customers only where an ISP “has a current broadband connection or it could provide such a connection within ten business days of a customer request and without an extraordinary commitment of resources or construction costs exceeding an ordinary service activation fee.”
The new polygons fix one of the big flaws in the current broadband map. The polygons are going to make a noticeable difference when showing coverage for a cable company or a fiber-to-the-home network. Those networks have hard boundaries – there is always a last home served at the edge of the service area after which nobody else is covered. Today’s mapping by census block doesn’t recognize the hard boundaries of these networks and often counts customers outside these networks as having access to fast data speeds. This is particularly a problem in rural areas where a large area outside a small town might be counted as having 100 Mbps or faster broadband when there is no broadband.
Unfortunately, I don’t see the new maps making a big difference for the rest of rural America unless the ISPs providing DSL and fixed wireless service get scrupulously honest with reporting. I contend that it is difficult, and perhaps impossible to accurately map these technologies – particularly for disclosing the broadband speed available at a given customer location.
Doug goes on to point out that there are a lot of factors that go into speed – distance from the DSLAM, quality of wire, age of electronics. It isn’t an apple to apple comparison. And the ISPs aren’t looking at actual speeds, they are looking at actual or standard speeds. This is where I’ve reminded of the strategy – trust but verify. It would be nice to see some on-the-ground testing of speeds. I don’t think the onus is on the providers to make that happen.