Route Fifty: Lawmakers Urge Internet Companies to Join New Discount Broadband Program

Route Fifty: Lawmakers Urge Internet Companies to Join New Discount Broadband Program. “The $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, approved in December, will offer a $50-a-month discount to eligible households. The Federal Communications Commission is working to get the program up and running by the end of April, and lawmakers said providers should do their part to let consumers across the country know about it.”

Internet Society: New Guide to Federal Broadband Funding Opportunities in the U.S.

Internet Society: New Guide to Federal Broadband Funding Opportunities in the U.S.. “Today, I am pleased to announce the launch of the Guide to Federal Broadband Opportunities in the U.S. By creating this consolidated resource, especially as large amounts of funding become available as a part of COVID-19 relief and Tribes begin utilizing their Educational Broadband Service spectrum, the Internet Society hopes to assist our community to access these vital funds.”

Techdirt: Crappy US Broadband Is Also Hampering Equitable Vaccine Deployment

Techdirt: Crappy US Broadband Is Also Hampering Equitable Vaccine Deployment. “s our recent Greenhouse policy forum on broadband made abundantly clear, COVID is shining a very bright light on US broadband dysfunction. The high cost of service, spotty coverage, slow speeds, and high prices are all being felt acutely in an era where having a decent broadband connection is the pathway to education, employment, healthcare, and opportunity.”

CNET: As COVID-19 ravages the world, closing the digital divide is more critical than ever

CNET: As COVID-19 ravages the world, closing the digital divide is more critical than ever. “If there’s one thing the coronavirus has shown, it’s that we all need high-speed internet access to survive in an age when everyone’s stuck at home. Unfortunately, at least 14.5 million Americans don’t have that access (a number that may be artificially low). It’s a staggering number, especially when you consider how essential online access is for work, school and just about every facet of our lives. Broadband access is as critical as running water or electricity, even if it isn’t anywhere near as available.”

CNET: Millions of Americans can’t get broadband because of a faulty FCC map. There’s a fix

CNET: Millions of Americans can’t get broadband because of a faulty FCC map. There’s a fix. “Millions of Americans around the country lack access to fast internet at home, a need that’s become especially critical over the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic forced everything from family gatherings to classes and business meetings to go online. But even as President Joe Biden pushes an ambitious $20 billion plan on top of billions of dollars in funding already earmarked for unserved communities, a fundamental flaw remains in not knowing where the problems lie.”

Techdirt: The Cost Of Broadband Is Too Damned High

Techdirt: The Cost Of Broadband Is Too Damned High. “How much do consumers pay for internet service in the United States? The question might seem relatively simple, but the answer has stymied the federal government for years—because no agency collects this data. Throughout 2020, my organization, New America’s Open Technology Institute, published the Cost of Connectivity series to crack open the black box of internet pricing. The collective takeaway of these studies is clear: the cost of internet service is alarmingly high, and there is substantial evidence of an affordability crisis in the United States.”

Internet 2021: Here’s what the new year will (and won’t) bring (ZDNet)

ZDNet: Internet 2021: Here’s what the new year will (and won’t) bring. “I’m lucky. I have decent cable internet to my home office. It’s not cable gigabit, which is not the same thing as real fiber gigabit, but at 300Mbps, it’s more than good enough. But, most people aren’t so lucky. The FCC official broadband definition is a mere 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. Soon to be out of office FCC chairman Ajit Pai would like to have reduced that number to 10 Mbps in 2018. That’s not enough speed for the 2010s, never mind the 2020s. Today, and well into 2021, many of us will still work from home, go to school virtually, and the only movies we’ll be watching will be the ones we’re streaming. That takes up a lot of bandwidth.”

Vox: The pandemic is speeding up the space internet race

Vox: The pandemic is speeding up the space internet race. “In vast swaths of the United States and the world, there are millions of people who don’t have reliable internet access. These unconnected people aren’t just in far-flung places like rural America or New Zealand or sub-Saharan Africa, either. There are plenty of people living in dense city centers who struggle to access affordable broadband. The pandemic has brought new urgency to the problem, and while companies like Google and Facebook have floated far-out ideas for solving this problem, the internet technology that’s most promising is also the one that’s already proven: satellite broadband.”

Nashville Business Journal: Nashville chosen as test market for Google Fiber 2 Gig

Nashville Business Journal: Nashville chosen as test market for Google Fiber 2 Gig. “Google Fiber may have an internet solution for Nashville families with kids learning virtually and parents trapped in Zoom meetings. Nashville has been chosen as a test market for Google Fiber 2 Gig, according to a blog post by Google Fiber Director of Product Management Amalia O’Sullivan, along with Huntsville, Alabama.”

Speed up your home office: How to optimize your network for remote work and learning (ZDNet)

ZDNet: Speed up your home office: How to optimize your network for remote work and learning. “Your network has become mission-critical. You need it to keep the paychecks coming and your kids need it to get through school. In this context, getting the most out of your network is essential. But what does that really mean? This comprehensive guide will help you answer that, and help guide you towards changes and improvements you might want to make. I’ll be covering three major topic areas that are inextricably related: understanding your bandwidth requirements, understanding your broadband provider’s offerings, and optimizing your home network.”

KTSP: New website tracks broadband access and internet speed across Minnesota

KTSP: New website tracks broadband access and internet speed across Minnesota. “The Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition is asking people to take the speed test on their website. Participants give their address or a nearby location data. The website then measures the download and upload speeds of the internet connection. The results are then recorded and displayed on a map. Green dots indicate a fast connection; red dots equal a slow connection.”

Enterprise .nxt: New tech promises faster Internet no matter where you live

Enterprise .nxt: New tech promises faster Internet no matter where you live. “It’s always been important to have fast Internet at home. If you can get fiber optic, the gold standard of fast Internet, you’re good to go. But thanks to deployment costs, many areas still don’t have fiber-optic connections—and they may not any time soon. Fortunately, four new technologies—low-band 5G; Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite Internet; DOCSIS 3.1, and G.fast—will soon provide faster speeds than ever before.”

Techdirt: It Shouldn’t Have Taken A Pandemic To Make Us Care About Crappy U.S. Broadband

Techdirt: It Shouldn’t Have Taken A Pandemic To Make Us Care About Crappy U.S. Broadband. “…Americans have paid some of the highest prices in the world for broadband service that’s not only spottily available, but routinely ranks as mediocre across a wide variety of metrics. From telecom linked think tankers and hired economists to consultants and lobbyists, there’s an entire secondary industry dedicated to pretending this problem is either overblown, or doesn’t exist at all. Needless to say, it shouldn’t have taken a pandemic to expose the superficiality of such claims, or the fact that US telecom issues deserved more attention. With millions of Americans hunkered down at home, a brighter light than ever is being shined on the fact that 42 million Americans lack access to any broadband whatsoever (twice what the FCC claims). Millions more can’t afford service because we’ve allowed an essential utility to be monopolized.”

Gov. Kemp: DCA Launches New Resources for Georgians to Access High-Speed Internet (Georgia)

Brian Kemp, Governor of Georgia: Gov. Kemp: DCA Launches New Resources for Georgians to Access High-Speed Internet. “To support social distancing requirements, broadband providers are offering various options for Georgians to connect to the internet. By visiting broadband.georgia.gov, Georgians can find locations to which they can drive for accessing WiFi around the state, made available from telecommunications cooperatives and government agencies. While many public libraries are currently closed, some are still offering limited services such as WiFi outside their buildings.”