Bipartisan bill limits federal environmental review of telecoms projects

Just don’t disturb the ground.

A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. senate aims to put some common sense into environmental law, at least where wireless facilities are concerned. Co-authored by U.S. senators Roger Wicker (R – Mississippi) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D – Nevada), senate bill 1988, aka the Speed act, would exempt a “communication facility installation” from federal environmental and historic reviews, if there’s already infrastructure in place in the project area.

Wireless infrastructure gets additional exemptions.… More

Frontier preps to pull a wireless bait and switch on Californians

9 October 2017 by Steve Blum
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Frontier Communications is backtracking on pledges made to the California Public Utilities Commission as it successfully sought permission to take over Verizon’s copper and fiber systems in California. During that process, it claimed to be a “dedicated wireline service provider” as it was trying to convince the CPUC that it could do a better job than Verizon…

Frontier is strategically focused solely on wireline telecommunications and has a long and successful history providing those services.


California makes AT&T's list for limited and costly rural broadband

29 September 2017 by Steve Blum
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Taxes not included. Except in my bonus check.

AT&T says it’s official: they are launching slow, expensive wireless Internet service in rural California, and other undefined “underserved” areas, instead of upgrading ageing copper networks to modern levels. The technology is designed to support 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds, although there are no guarantees.

The California Public Utilities Commission, on the other hand, decided to go in the opposition direction and unanimously endorsed the higher standard of 25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up yesterday.… More

AT&T uses federal subsidies to offer expensive, slow broadband

12 July 2017 by Steve Blum
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Never give a sucker an even break.

AT&T’s federally subsidised wireless Internet service is costly, compared to what wireline customers pay. The fixed wireless service has supposedly been offered in Georgia for a couple of months, and AT&T announced it was expanding it to rural customers in eight more states immediately, with nine others, including California, slated to get it by the end of the year. It’s difficult to tell whether or where AT&T is actually delivering it, though.… More

Google's wireless goal isn't fiber replacement or magic radios

13 August 2016 by Steve Blum
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No need to wait.

Google is asking the Federal Communications Commission for permission to run wireless transmission tests in and around the 3.5 GHz band, which has been designated for use under new Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) rules.
One reason for the request is sure to be Google’s increasing focus on wireless technologies as a substitute for or supplement to fiber. But Google has another, immediately practical interest at stake too: widespread use of CBRS spectrum requires real time frequency coordination amongst users, who have varying degrees of priority in that band.… More

Fast mobile broadband decisions forced on California cities

11 March 2016 by Steve Blum
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California cities (and counties) need to overhaul the way wireless broadband permits are processed. That’s the plain message that the California legislature sent last year, when it passed assembly bill 57. The new law put teeth in the Federal Communication Commission’s wireless shot clocks: if decisions – yes or no – on permit applications for new towers or other facilities aren’t made within 150 days, then the answer is yes. Permits are “deemed approved”.… More

Another welcome push for more broadband spectrum

19 February 2016 by Steve Blum

The text of a bill to free up more spectrum for broadband purposes has finally been published. It’s called the “Mobile Now” bill and one of its main objectives is prod the federal bureaucracy into transferring frequencies that have been reserved for government agencies – in some cases since the dawn of time – to broadband companies and, potentially, for use as unlicensed spectrum. It also targets non-federal spectrum that’s under used now.

The bill sets a deadline of 2020 to make “a total of at least 255 megahertz of Federal and non-Federal spectrum below the frequency of 6000 megahertz for mobile and fixed wireless broadband use”, with an eventual goal of 500 MHz.… More

Californian WISPs argue for exclusive right to offer poor service at a high price

12 February 2016 by Steve Blum
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True. Someone needs to think smarter.

A couple of fixed wireless operators are fighting a rear guard action against a fiber to the home project in Nevada City. Approved for a $16 million California Advanced Services Fund subsidy by the California Public Utilities Commission in December, the Bright Fiber project would bring FTTH service to about 2,000 homes in the Nevada City area. Smarter Broadband and ColfaxNet don’t like that: they’ve gotten used to selling slow and expensive service to people that don’t have a choice.… More

Wireless permit shot clock primer for Californian planners

29 January 2016 by Steve Blum
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Sharp limits on local review of proposed cellular sites and other wireless facilities went into effect in California at the beginning of the year. It’s the result of a new law passed last year – assembly bill 57 – that put teeth into Federal Communications Commission shot clock rules that say cities and counties have to make a decision on permit applications within 90 days if it’s adding equipment to an existing site or 150 days if it’s completely new.… More

California wireless shot clock might trump environmental reviews

16 October 2015 by Steve Blum
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A pretty simple decision.

The California Environmental Quality Act – CEQA – has evolved into a powerful tool for Nimbys and others who want to say no to infrastructure projects or other construction work. The seemingly endless possibilities for reviews, questions and appeals can stall projects for years, with no discernible benefit to either the environment or communities. Except for people who simply want to delay the process, in the hopes of killing projects drip by drip.… More