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Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Aug 14, 2014

FCC Releases Notice of Inquiry on Broadband Progress

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/fcc-releases-notice-inquiry-broadband-progress/

 

Section 702 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act requires the FCC to report annually on whether “advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” The FCC kicked off its tenth such report on Tuesday by releasing a “Notice of Inquiry,” (NOI) in effect asking individuals and groups around the country to offer relevant data and comments.

This process amounts to a kind of crowdsourced “State of the Union” on broadband issues. In addition to determining how many people in what areas have broadband access, this NOI also asks the critical question of how exactly the FCC should define broadband. The current definition of 4mbps download capacity and 1mbps upload may have been sufficient in the past, but isn’t adequate for even recreational household use by many Americans today, let alone the demands of running a business and conducting commerce online.

This NOI also asks some arcane but important questions about other aspects of broadband definitions, including latency (the speed of data moving within a network, a different measure than bandwidth) and the widespread use of data caps and other policies in the telecom industry.

Obviously the answers to all these questions have significant implications for municipal networks. Inadequate or overly-loose definitions of broadband allow incumbents to claim that they are providing excellent service to just about everyone in a given area, when that is often far from the truth. Many restrictive state laws limiting municipal networks, as well as federal grant programs that may support such networks, are based on whether an area is defined as already served or underserved, which may be dependent on FCC benchmarks. As is often the case in regulatory issues, the devil is in the details.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler introduced the NOI with the following statement:

Congress has instructed us that all Americans should have access to robust broadband services, no matter where they live. Because consumers demand increasing levels of bandwidth capacity to support the applications they want to use online, we are asking if it is time to update the benchmark broadband speed. And as more people adopt faster broadband speeds, we are asking if all consumers, even in the most rural regions, should have greater access to better broadband.

We here at ILSR believe the answer to both questions is a resounding “YES.” The due date for initial comments is September 4th, and ILSR intends to make its voice heard.

chattanooga-and-wilson-comment-period-open-tell-the-fcc-you-support-local-authority
Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Jul 29, 2014

Chattanooga and Wilson Comment Period Open; Tell the FCC You Support Local Authority

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.muninetworks.org/content/chattanooga-and-wilson-comment-period-open-tell-fcc-you-support-local-authority

Last week, the communities of Chattanooga and Wilson, North Carolina, filed petitions with the FCC. Both communities requested that the agency remove state barriers preventing expansion beyond their current service areas. On July 28, the FCC established a public comment calendar for the request. It is imperative that all those with an interest in better… Continue reading

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Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Broadband | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Jun 27, 2014

ILSR applauds U.S. Lawmakers banding together to support Community Broadband Networks.

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/ilsr-applauds-u-s-senators-banding-support-community-broadband-networks/

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance praises Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota for leading the growing list of organizations committed to defending the authority of communities to make their own decisions when it comes to build the Internet networks of tomorrow. Continue reading

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Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Broadband | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Jul 22, 2014

Media Roundup: Blackburn Amendment Lights Up Newswires

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/media-roundup-blackburn-amendment-lights-newswires/

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance praises Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota for leading the growing list of organizations committed to defending the authority of communities to make their own decisions when it comes to build the Internet networks of tomorrow. Continue reading

bill-to-boost-broadband-in-minnesota-struggles-in-legislature
Featured Article, ILSR Press Room, Resource filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Mar 19, 2014

Minnesota Local Governments Advance Super Fast Internet Networks

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/minnesota-local-governments-advance-super-fast-internet-networks/

As in much of rural America, communities in Greater Minnesota struggle with connectivity. Some areas have no choice at all, forced to rely on dial-up or slow DSL. Others have an incumbent cable provider. A few local community leaders in Minnesota, conscious of the need for broadband to save public dollars, encourage economic development, and… Continue reading