Tag: "data"

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 November 16, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Dustin Loup, Project Manager of the National Broadband Mapping Coalition, housed at the Marconi Society. Dustin joins us to talk about the new national Federal Communications Commission broadband maps, currently under construction and intended to replace the current and hopelessly broken one to prepare for tens of billion in federal broadband funding.

There will hopefully be many improvements in the new maps, the first version of which is due out this month (we're not holding our breath): more granular data, more precision, and a better picture to drive future infrastructure investment in smart, efficient ways. Christopher and Dustin talk through what they hope to see, before turning to some of the problems the see emerging. This includes the frustrating walls already placed around the (tax dollar-funded) data, almost entirely restricting access to researchers and policy makers for accountability purposes, the probability of abuse by large providers, and the troublingly large $50-million contract to ConstQuest proposed in a recent announcement by NTIA to get access to something the federal government has already paid for, to administer the $42.5 billion BEAD program.

This show is 18 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 ...

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Posted August 31, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio

Update November 2022:  The previous version of this dashboard included both Enrolled and Claimed household numbers. At the time, we believed that these two values (as reflected in the publicly available USAC releases) represented an important (and increasingly so) reality where a large number of the households that were eligible and enrolling in the benefit were not using (or claiming) the benefit. Thus, the data seemed to show that millions of households who had been cleared to use the program were not getting the benefit each month. After further conversation with administration representatives regarding the ACP data releases, it seems this is not the case. Instead, the difference between Enrolled and Claimed households only reflects the procedure via which ISPs participating in the program are submitting payment claims to USAC at irregular intervals. Thus, sources say, all Enrolled households should be using the benefit, and reflect the best numbers for understanding how much of the fund is being used at present. We have adjusted the dashboard to reflect this.

On January 1st, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission launched the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) with $14.2 billion in funding designed to help American households pay for the monthly cost of their Internet subscription. In May, we published a story about the fate of the program, based on a prediction model we built that was intended to visualize how long we might expect the $14.2 billion fund to last before needing new Congressional appropriations to sustain it. Back then, the data showed that the fund would run out some time in 2024.

We’re back today not only with a new and improved model (based both on more granular geographic data and fed by an additional 16 weeks of enrollment data), but a new dashboard that pulls together a host of information from the Universal Service Administrative Company on where and how the Affordable Connectivity Program money is being spent. 

A New Resource for Broadband Advocates, Local Policy Makers, and Elected Officials

Located at ACPdashboard.com, this new resource from ILSR includes information local broadband advocates, nonprofits, state legislators, and...

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Posted July 22, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio

Billions in federal funding planned for investment over the next half decade means that, more than ever, we need dedicated, smart, capable people to ensure that public funds go to pragmatic, equitable, locally controlled infrastructure and programs. The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) has been a clear and leading voice on policy issues since its formation, and their team is growing. It's an opportunity to join a talented team doing crucial work.

Currently, the organization is hiring for three positions.

Policy Manager

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) is seeking an enthusiastic and qualified Policy Manager (or Associate) to help lead NDIA’s expanding portfolio of state support projects and federal policy initiatives. A strong candidate will possess the right combination of digital inclusion expertise, creativity, a collaborative spirit, and self-motivation; and will have a passion for advancing digital equity policy at the federal, state and local level and supporting state governments as they implement the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 

Program Manager

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) is seeking an enthusiastic and qualified Program Manager to help lead NDIA’s work supporting local organizations and affiliates, including digital inclusion coalitions, local and regional governments, and community-based organizations. A strong candidate will possess the right combination of practical expertise, creativity, a collaborative spirit, and self-motivation; and will have a passion for the unique role that local organizations and collaborations play in advancing digital inclusion efforts, with a particular focus on promoting racial and social equity.

Research and Data Manager

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) is seeking an enthusiastic and qualified Research & Data Manager to help lead NDIA’s expanding portfolio of research and data work. A strong candidate will possess the right combination of technical expertise, creativity, a collaborative spirit, and self-motivation; and will have a passion for using data to understand and support digital inclusion efforts, with a particular focus on promoting racial and social equity.

This is an opportunity to work...

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Posted July 19, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Mike Conlow, Director of Network Strategy at Cloudflare, a network security and Internet performance company. Christopher and Mike dive into the upcoming Broadband Serviceable Locations Fabric which will serve as the basis for the new nationwide maps from the Federal Communications Commission.

They talk about what's going to be better as compared to the old Form 477 data collection process and the importance of making sure new maps faithfully represent the problem of the digital divide in the United States. They also dig into the policy and deployment implications when federal data bought with public dollars is not openly shared in forms that invite corroboration. 

Sign up for Mike's newsletter here.

This show is 34 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 June 14, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by senior staff on the broadband initiative to dig into recent topics, including Senior Reporter, Editor and Communications Team Lead Sean Gonsalves, Community Broadband Outreach Team Lead DeAnne Cuellar, and Senior Researcher and Research Team Lead Ry Marcattilio-McCracken.

The group talks about the value of overlapping networks and the co-option of the word "overbuilding" by monopoly lobbyists, the recent New York State funding program kickstarting municipal broadband efforts in a handful of communities, how states are responding (or not) to the NTIA process to get hundreds of millions in federal broadband infrastructure funding, and a new tool we built to help keep tabs on funds released from the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

This show is 36 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 June 13, 2022 by Karl Bode

For more than a year and a half, the nation’s top telecommunications regulator has been stuck in limbo, thanks to a combination of federal dysfunction and industry lobbying. Now the nomination of popular reformer Gigi Sohn to the FCC is facing a full frontal assault by telecom monopolies dedicated to preventing the agency from standing up to monopoly power.

After an inexplicable nine-month delay, President Biden nominated consumer advocate Gigi Sohn to the FCC late last year. Sohn, Co-Founder and CEO of consumer group Public Knowledge and a former advisor to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, is well versed in media and telecom policy, and broadly popular across both sides of the aisle

Yet since her belated nomination, Sohn has been met with a bevy of telecom, media-industry, and politically constructed allegations designed to derail her nomination, ranging from false claims that she’d harm rural America, manufactured allegations that she hates police, and false assertions that she’s looking to censor conservative voices in media

All of these efforts serve one function: to ensure the nation’s top telecommunications regulator remains mired in partisan gridlock and a 2-2 commissioner voting split. Without a clear voting majority, the agency can’t embrace reforms that are widely popular with the public, whether that’s restoring the FCC’s consumer protection authority, or restoring recently-discarded media consolidation rules.

It also prevents the restoration of net neutrality rules designed to protect consumers and competitors from the whims of telecom monopolies. A recent poll out of the University of Maryland indicates that a broad, bipartisan majority...

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Posted May 19, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio

On Monday last week, the White House made much ado of an announcement that it had secured commitments from a collection of large Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to adjust speed tiers and monthly costs for their existing plans so as to be able to offer a $30/month, minimum 100 megabit per second (Mbps) download offering for low-income households across the country. The goal was to create plans for households that qualify for the $14.2 billion Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to get access to faster connections while ensuring no additional out-of-pocket costs. The recent White House announcement said that the 20 private-sector providers that have joined together cover 80 percent of households (skewed towards urban areas).

There’s no argument that the move will directly benefit hundreds of thousands of households by boosting their wireline connections and reducing their monthly expenses. And yet, it’s a treatment of the symptom rather than the disease, as the administration continues to refuse to address the larger structural dynamics that have made Internet access increasingly expensive in this country and perpetuated a broken marketplace via poor regulation and a lack of strong leadership.

This will become immediately apparent the moment that the Affordable Connectivity Program runs out of money, and those households suddenly face higher costs with no option for recourse. Our analysis shows that even if only a third of eligible households ultimately enroll (ten percent more households than are enrolled today), absent an additional allocation, the fund will be exhausted by the beginning of November 2024. But even under the best-case scenario, with the benefit reaching as many people as possible, current enrollment rates show that only 68 percent of eligible households will be able to sign up before the funds run out. In this model, the money will be exhausted just 18 months from now, on January 1st, 2024.

A Necessary Benefit, But There Are Enrollment Disparities

Today,...

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Posted May 12, 2022 by

In this episode of the Connect This! Show, co-hosts Christopher Mitchell and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) are joined by guests Brian Mefford (VETRO FiberMap) and Lori Adams (Nokia) to talk about the FCC's Fabric initiative, and the latest in data collection and mapping.

This week's show will focus on broadband mapping and data collection and how the FCC’s new collection and verification process differs from 477 data. They will also cover whether Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are ready and if ISPs truly understand the process, as well as dive into the promise and perils of crowd sourcing information; what information states should submit that they have collected through their own mapping processes; the challenge process; and the efficacy of speed test data before concluding with a discussion about when the final FCC maps may be ready for prime time.

Subscribe to the show using this feed on YouTube Live or here on Facebook Live, on find it on the Connect This! page.

Email us broadband@muninetworks.org with feedback and ideas for the show.

Watch here on YouTube Live, here on Facebook live, or below.

 

Posted February 6, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio

By Karl Bode and Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

 The FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Reverse Auction was completed a little more than a year ago to much fanfare and spilled ink, and though we’ve seen irregular updates over the last twelve months, we thought it worth the time to round up what we know so far in an effort to see where we’re at and determine what is likely to come.

The RDOF was built to award up to $20.4 billion in grants over 10 years using competitive reverse auctions generally won by the lowest bidder. The money comes from the Universal Service Fund fees affixed to consumers’ monthly telecom bills. The previous FCC announced $9.2 billion in auction winners in December of 2020. 

To date the FCC has announced five rounds of Authorized funding released, six rounds of applicants whose bids they have decided are Ready-to-Authorize, and three rounds of Default bids. 

It’s clear that the final picture is still taking shape, but looking at things a year later leaves us feeling a little better than we were immediately after the auction closed. To date, it appears the FCC is closely scrutinizing many of the bidders that most worried industry veterans and broadband advocates, while releasing funds for projects that will bring future-proof connectivity to hundreds of thousands of homes over the next ten years.

Moving Slowly on Problematic Awards

The biggest news so far is that of the top ten winners, seven look to have received no funds at all (see table below or high-resolution version here). That’s $4.1 billion worth of bids for almost 1.9 million locations, and includes LTD Broadband, SpaceX’s Starlink, AMG Technologies (NextLink), Frontier, Resound Networks, Starry (Connect Everyone), and CenturyLink. This is a big deal.

Among the top 10 bidders who have received funds or will shortly, Windstream has received about two-...

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