FCC clings to primitive standard for advanced broadband

27 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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Bedtime for bonzo

Five years is a long time in Internet years. Broadband demand and data traffic rates continue to climb, and the number of people who absolutely need fast connections has skyrocketed in the past few months as work, education, health care and other vital services moved online in response to the covid–19 emergency. But the Federal Communications Commission, or at least its republican majority, wants to stick with a broadband speed standard – 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload – that it established more than five years ago.… More

Showdown time for California’s broadband future

24 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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Tombstone 625

Like a gut shot gunfighter with nothing to lose, assembly bill 570 is both doomed and dangerous. Amendments made by the California senate’s appropriations committee were posted late on Friday: all new money for broadband infrastructure subsidies was stripped out. What remain are the monopoly protection privileges inserted by lobbyists for big telecoms companies, and the slabs of pork they’re tossing to their faithful followers.

AB 570 is authored by assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D – Yolo), but ghostwritten by the California Emerging Technology Fund, an incumbent-funded and advised non-profit.… More

California legislators lean toward faster broadband standard, as committees wrap up work

21 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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Cvin fiber marker sr49

Two competing broadband infrastructure bills faced final committee votes yesterday in the California legislature. Both passed on party line votes – democrats yes, republicans no – with changes on the way that might bridge the gap between them. Maybe for the good of all. Maybe.

Funding restrictions imposed on senate bill 1130 by the senate’s appropriations committee in June were removed by the assembly’s appropriations committee, apparently by mutual consent. SB 1130, carried by senator Lena Gonzalez (D – Los Angeles), would raise California’s broadband standard to fiber-ish 25 Mbps download and upload speeds.… More

Upload demand up, download demand down during covid-19 quarantine, report says

18 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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Upstream traffic growth openvault 2q2020

The covid–19 emergency buried the tired argument that consumers want fast download speeds to watch video and don’t need, or care about, fast upload speeds. If the flood of anecdotal reports about online classes freezing and telework grinding to a halt as upstream bandwidth gridlocked wasn’t convincing enough, a report published by a broadband data consultancy might finally do the trick.

OpenVault just published its network analysis for the second quarter of 2020, the first full quarter under covid–19 restrictions.… More

Newsom says Californians should get 100 Mbps, but doesn’t say how

17 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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California governor Gavin Newsom finished up work last week with an executive order directing state agencies – at least the ones that report to him – to…

…pursue a minimum broadband speed goal of 100 megabits per second download speed to guide infrastructure investments and program implementation to benefit all Californians.

To achieve that goal…

Within ninety days of the date of this Executive Order, the California Broadband Task Force shall provide a preliminary report to the Office of the Governor that identifies administrative actions that can result in immediate promotion of broadband access and usage within the State.


California broadband subsidy bill goes from farce to tragedy as Big Telecom gets right of the first night

13 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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Braveheart jus primae noctis

To ensure that money from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) doesn’t go to independent Internet service providers who might loosen cable’s and telco’s monopoly/duopoly grip on Californians’ broadband access, the newly amended assembly bill 570 gives incumbents a right of first refusal over any subsidised broadband infrastructure project proposed by anyone in their footprints.

A small tweak to the bill’s language gives cable and telephone companies a huge competitive advantage over independent ISPs. Current rules define grant eligibility on the basis of the infrastructure and service that’s available right now.… More

Taxing a dying business and giving the money to Big Telecoms’ friends won’t get kids to school

11 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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One room school

California’s broadband infrastructure subsidy program is about to run out of money. With $145 million left in the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) under current assumptions, and $533 million in pending project proposals, it’s likely to go dry this year, even as schools go completely online.

The problem isn’t the 2022 end of the program’s funding mechanism, as one bill sitting in the California legislature claims. Assembly bill 570 is ghostwritten by the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), an incumbent-funded and advised non-profit, and carried by assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D – Yolo), who is also well paid by AT&T, cable companies and other industry interests.… More

Two broadband subsidy bills face California legislators. One walks away, the other limps

4 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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Liberty and the duke 625

Both of the active broadband bills in the California legislature survived committee hearings yesterday. The bill with higher broadband standards passed without changes. Slower speed standards in a rival, pork-stuffed measure were sharply criticised. It has to overcome double barrelled skepticism before it moves much further.

Senate bill 1130, authored by senator Lena Gonzalez (D – Los Angeles), would raise California’s minimum broadband standard to symmetrical 25 Mbps download/25 Mbps upload speeds. The assembly communications and conveyances committee approved it as presented.… More

Dueling broadband bills face off in California legislature today

3 August 2020 by Steve Blum
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Fast, reliable, future-proof broadband gets a hearing this morning as the California assembly’s communications and conveyances committee (C&C) takes up senate bill 1130. A competing measure – assembly bill 570 – which would lock rural Californians into 1990s DSL technology for another decade or two, will be heard by the senate’s energy, utilities and communications committee (EU&C) this afternoon.

So far, there’s no indication of legislative pushback on SB 1130, which is authored by senator Lena Gonzalez (D – Los Angeles).… More

Small payoffs from big cable, telcos buy support from non profits and politicians in Sacramento and D.C.

31 July 2020 by Steve Blum
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Need a beer

Petty cash can be as effective in buying political support as megabuck payments to elected officials and political parties. The latest example is unfolding in Washington, D.C., where Charter Communications is asking the Federal Communications Commission for permission to 1. enforce data caps on its customers and 2. start charging video competitors for access to those customers two years before the expiration of conditions imposed when it acquired Time Warner cable systems.

It’s the same story with assembly bill 570, which would lock Californians into slow broadband for a generation while shovelling taxpayer money to Frontier Communications and cable companies for minimal upgrades.… More