Tag: "competition"

Posted January 24, 2023 by Ry Marcattilio

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Rudolf van der Berg, Partner at Stratix Consulting, a Dutch consulting firm that does work in telecommunications and has been deeply involved in the historic level of new infrastructure deployment projects in northern Europe. Rudolf breaks down what's going on today in Europe's broadband landscape, including efforts to reach the unserved, new entrants, and the actions of private equity.

Rudolf challenges the notion that overregulation stifles innovation and competition, and dispels the rhetoric (pushed by monopoly ISPs in the United States) that the European networks struggled with the onset of the pandemic because of the regulatory landscape and comparative lack of investment as compared to their ISPs' American counterparts. Christopher and Rudolf close out the show by digging into the struggle between tech companies and ISPs between which should pay for infrastructure upgrades.

This show is 41 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed. You can listen to the interview on this page or visit the Community Broadband Bits page.

Transcript coming soon. 

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.

Subscribe to the Building Local Power podcast, also from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, on iTunes or ...

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Posted January 23, 2023 by Ry Marcattilio

Despite the release of the first draft of the new national broadband maps at the end of last year (and the first round of location-level and service availability corrections completed a couple of weeks ago), we're not holding our breath that 2023 will spell the end of the technology news cycle story trope of the family that buys a new house and learns that the monopoly ISPs don't actually know where they provide service in their territories across the United States.

How, more than three decades after we began rolling out national information infrastructure, does such a basic failure persist? Sometimes, it happens because network infrastructure has changed hands so many times (and with so many layoffs), that documentation has become tangled and gap-ridden. In many instances, however, it's purposeful: ISPs have for years claimed they just don't know where they offer service to, and that it would be too expensive to find out: all as part of a larger strategic plan to prevent competition. Meanwhile, the nation's premier telecommunications expert regulatory agency - the FCC - has bought this line with little pushback.

The problem is that when it happens, it's rarely the provider that gets punished. Instead, it's homeowners who assumed that moving to a suburb meant there would be Internet access nearby, only to discover that bad DSL or worse geostationary satellite service are the only options. Perhaps most frustratingly is when the provider itself - like Comcast did to a family closing on a new house in Buckley, Washington in 2021 - tells a...

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Posted January 18, 2023 by Ry Marcattilio

This week on the show, the staff get together to bend their collective imagination to what we expect to see as the biggest news stories of 2023. Returning to join Christopher are Sean Gonsalves, Christine Parker, Emma Gautier, and Ry Marcattilio to discuss the BEAD funding rollout, mapping, the current state of preemption laws, Starry, the FCC, and more. 

Who will be right? Wrong? We'll have to wait until December to find out!

This show is 46 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed. You can listen to the interview on this page or visit the Community Broadband Bits page.

Transcript coming soon. 

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.

Subscribe to the Building Local Power podcast, also from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, on iTunes or Stitcher to catch more great conversations about local communities, the concentration of corporate power, and how everyday people are taking control.

Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.

Posted January 10, 2023 by Karl Bode

From the miraculous benefits of WiMax to the hype surrounding 5G, U.S. wireless companies have long promised near-Utopian levels of technological revolution.

Yet time after time these promises have fallen short, reminding a telecom sector all-too-familiar with hype that fiber optics remains, for now, the backbone of bridging the digital divide. 

From Google Fiber to Starry, numerous companies have promised to use wireless technology as a supplement or even replacement for future-proof fiber. But more often than not these promises have failed to have any meaningful impact at scale. Worse, many wireless services often fail to deliver on a routinely neglected aspect of telecom policy: affordability.

That’s not to say that wireless doesn’t have an immense, integral role to play in shoring up the nation’s broadband gaps. 5G, rural and urban small WISPs, satellite, and other wireless options are all essential in bridging the digital divide and extending access to rural communities and tribal nations (see: the FCC Tribal Priority Window and the beneficial wireless options that have emerged). 

But reality continues to demonstrate that there’s simply no substitute for the kind of high capacity, affordable fiber efforts being deployed by a steady parade of municipalities, cooperatives, and city-owned utilities. And as an historic level of federal subsidies wind their way to the states, the distinction is more important than ever. 

A Rich History Of Wishful Thinking

The industry crown for unwarranted...

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Posted January 10, 2023 by Ry Marcattilio

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by returning guest Blair Levin. Levin has served as former chief of staff to FCC Chair Reed Hundt as well as executive director of the National Broadband Plan (2009-2010). Nowadays, he's a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings, and joins Christopher to unpack all that we might expect to see at play over the coming year. The show covers a lot of ground, from the renomination of Gigi Sohn to the FCC and the issues likely brought by a complete commission, to how much impact (and where) BEAD will have, to the real benefits and obvious weak spots in the Affordable Connectivity Program, to the upcoming battle between DISH, the cable monopolies, and the fixed wireless offerings from the mobile providers, and much more.

This show is 53 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed. You can listen to the interview on this page or visit the Community Broadband Bits page.

Transcript coming soon. 

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.

Subscribe to the Building Local Power podcast, also from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, on iTunes or Stitcher to catch more great conversations about local communities, the concentration of corporate power, and how everyday people are taking control.

Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a...

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Posted January 3, 2023 by Ry Marcattilio

This week on the podcast, Christopher Mitchell join's Drew Clark on Broadband.Money's Ask Me Anything series, and in true fashion, he never ducks the hard questions. With audience questions, Drew and Christopher cover wide ground, including why the national broadband marketplace needs publicly owned infrastructure options, the benefits of open access models, how cities can prepare for BEAD and other federal funding, and other steps communities can take to make sure that when they do work with third-party ISPs that they maintain some measure of control (like performance-based contracts).

This show is 53 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed. You can listen to the interview on this page or visit the Community Broadband Bits page.

Transcript coming soon. 

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.

Subscribe to the Building Local Power podcast, also from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, on iTunes or Stitcher to catch more great conversations about local communities, the concentration of corporate power, and how everyday people are taking control.

Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.

Posted December 19, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio

It's December, which means it's time to pull the staff together and get a handle on what happened in the broadband landscape in 2022. Joining Christopher is GIS and Data Visualization Specialist Christine Parker, Associate Researcher Emma Gautier, Outreach Team Lead DeAnne Cuellar, Senior Reporter and Communications Team Lead Sean Gonsalves, and Senior Researcher and Research Team Lead Ry Marcattilio.

Fitting all of those titles into one recording studio was a real project, but it led to a constructive conversation about preemption laws, the broadband nutrition label, BEAD funding and the new Broadband Data Collection (BDC) process, the supply chain, and more. There were a couple of surprises in 2022, and the staff reckons with how their predictions from last year held up in the face of things.

This show is 53 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed. You can listen to the interview on this page or visit the Community Broadband Bits page.

Transcript coming soon. 

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.

Subscribe to the Building Local Power podcast, also from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, on iTunes or Stitcher to catch more great conversations about local communities, the concentration of corporate power, and how everyday people are taking control.

Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.

Posted December 15, 2022 by Karl Bode

Whether it is UTOPIA Fiber or the growing number of cities establishing open access fiber network agreements with Strata Networks, Utah continues to be on the cutting edge of developing creative, highly-localized alternatives to entrenched regional monopolies, the first step in genuinely bridging the nation’s stubborn digital divide. Now, officials in American Fork, Utah have struck a new partnership with Strata Networks to build 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) capable fiber network to improve high-speed Internet access for the city’s 34,000 residents.

Forking Up Competition

According to the project FAQ, the network will be financed via a $25 million bond taken out in 2020 and fully financed through subscriber revenues. 

The network will be open access, allowing numerous local ISPs to come in and compete in layers. For more than a decade, independent studies have found that such models boost competition, resulting in higher quality service and lower prices. Despite this, federal policymakers have routinely turned a blind eye to the concept in federal policymaking. 

In contrast, a growing parade of communities like American Fork are actually listening to the data and embracing the open access concept on a scale previously unseen in the U.S. Increasingly, a growing number of such communities are in Utah.

“Some residents in our community have had little to no options when it comes to Internet service providers. With this open-access model, residents can choose which service works best for them in a truly competitive market,” American Fork Mayor Brad Frost said in the project announcement. “With this approach, and STRATA Networks as our partner,...

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Posted December 14, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Senior Reporter, Editor and Communications Team Lead Sean Gonsalves and GIS and Data Visualization Specialist Christine Parker to talk about how bad data can blind us and good data can drive positive policy solutions. First, they talk about a new guide developed by ILSR to help citizen-advocates, nonprofits, and state and local elected officials navigate navigate the FCC's frustrating new Broadband Data Collection initiative. Intended to create new national broadband maps and drive the $42 billion BEAD infrastructure dollars starting in 2023, Christopher, Christine, and Sean talk about sticking points in the process, what's important to know, and what happens if our national broadband data continues to perpetuate harmful inequities.

Then, Christine fills Sean and Christopher in on the latest news with the Affordable Connectivity Program dashboard release earlier this fall, designed to unpack and visualize what folks need to know about the $30/month service benefit in order to help the most people and plan for future policy solutions. Christine shares how it was designed and lessons learned along the way, including what happens when an non-governmental entity (in this case, USAC) is given authority to manage critical social welfare programs but not compelled to share in clear enough ways what the public needs in order to perform accountability and research on them.

This show is 33 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed. You can listen to the interview on this page or visit the Community Broadband Bits page.

Transcript coming soon. 

We want your feedback and suggestions for the...

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Posted December 13, 2022 by Karl Bode

A bipartisan coalition of Pennsylvania lawmakers have introduced legislation that attempts to reverse some of the state’s most-stringent provisions hamstringing municipal broadband builds.

But experts suggest that while the bill may be well-intentioned, a cleaner approach would be to eliminate the state’s harmful and dated restrictions on municipal broadband entirely. 

As it currently stands, Pennsylvania law prohibits municipalities from providing broadband to state residents for money, unless existing telecom providers don’t currently provide broadband access at the address, and those providers claim they’re willing to do so sometime within 14 months of being asked. 

Under the state law, the only metric used to determine whether an ISP is adequately “serving” an “underserved” area is advertised speed. No additional metrics, including price or quality of service, are used to make such a determination. 

Such restrictions not only hamstring creative, local municipal broadband solutions, it gives telecom industry giants the ability to effectively veto or delay any new promising builds simply by promising that they might someday extend advertised speeds to under-served territories.

New Bill Takes Aim at State Preemption Law

Enter SB1363, a new bill introduced in November to the Pennsylvania legislature that attempts to scale back at least some aspects of the state’s problematic restrictions on municipal broadband. 

The bill, sponsored by Pennsylvania State Senator John I. Kane (D), starts by adopting a more modern standard definition of broadband of 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) in both directions, a dramatic boost from the FCC’s current definition of broadband: a paltry 25 Mbps downstream, 3 Mbps upstream. 

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