Vol. 18, No. 33
August 8, 2022
INCOMPAS Letter to FCC: Faster Speeds or Slower Economy
After years of advocacy, INCOMPAS is hoping the FCC is finally ready to give the green light to raising internet speed benchmarks in the United States. 

In a letter to the FCC last week, INCOMPAS once again urged the Commission to raise the current 25/3 Mbps standard to 1 Gigabit. 

“Since 2017, we have urged the FCC to increase internet speed benchmarks to 1 Gigabit - it’s a faster standard that consumers want and the market can easily deliver,” said INCOMPAS CEO Chip Pickering. “Other nations, including China and those in Europe, have gigabit goals in place and it’s time for the FCC to deliver faster speeds or risk slowing down our economy.” 

Last month FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel circulated a Notice of Inquiry starting a proceeding to move the standard to 100/20 Mbps with a future goal of 1 Gigabit. INCOMPAS supports positive movement from the FCC and plans to continue advocating for implementing a gigabit speed standard immediately.

The letter states: “We have the ability and responsibility as Americans to go big and bold on broadband. Now is the time to take steps toward achieving a future of connectivity with faster speeds and affordable prices in the U.S. We are looking to the Commission’s leadership to establish a new broadband speed goal that enables all Americans to access high-speed internet no matter where they live or work. It is time to set that goal to 1 Gigabit.”

The INCOMPAS letter also highlights the fact that incumbent providers are also deploying and advertising gigabit speed services: 

“With Congressional support, tens of billions of dollars are being invested in new broadband infrastructure that is bringing more affordable, faster internet services to both unserved and underserved areas of the U.S. This is an important step in the right direction for building our nation’s future networks, and prioritizing networks that can offer future-proof capabilities means that more consumers will obtain 1 Gbps and beyond capabilities in the near future. Indeed, while competitive providers have been on the leading edge of gigabit speed deployment, large incumbents are now expressing eagerness to deploy fiber as they seek to obtain Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding.”
FCC, NTIA Sign New MOU on Spectrum Coordination
On August 2, the FCC and the NTIA announced an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on spectrum coordination - the first time changes have been made in nearly 20 years. The revised MOU, signed by FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson, will strengthen cooperation and collaboration between the agencies and help advance a whole-of-government approach to how we use and manage one of the nation’s most important resources.

“Next-generation spectrum innovation is going to require next-generation spectrum coordination. This updated MOU embraces the idea that no single entity can meet this challenge alone,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel. “We need a whole of government approach—one that draws on the strengths in our national DNA: our hard-wired belief in the creative possibilities of the future, the power of coordination, and the rule of law. This effort, as part of our broader Spectrum Coordination Initiative, helps make that possible. I am grateful to have the leadership and partnership of Assistant Secretary Davidson in this important work.”

“A spectrum coordination agreement that pre-dates the smartphone is not sufficient to meet the challenges facing our agencies today,” said Assistant Secretary Davidson. “This updated MOU between NTIA and the FCC will deepen our collaboration and improve our ability to anticipate and mitigate serious spectrum issues. I salute Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s leadership and support in charting a course for sustained coordination for years to come.”

The announcement marks continued progress on the agencies’ Spectrum Coordination Initiative announced on February 15, 2022. Going forward, the agencies will revisit the MOU every four years to ensure that it is keeping pace with the nation’s spectrum needs.
NTIA August 10 Webinar on Financial Portion of Middle Mile Program
On Wednesday, August 10 at 2:30 p.m. ET, the NTIA's Internet for All Webinar Series will feature the Financial Portion of the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program Application. This webinar will provide an in-depth look at the budget narrative and detailed budget justification that must be provided in Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program applications - which are due by September 30, 2022, by 11:59 p.m. ET.

This webinar will provide applicants with technical assistance and prepare them to write high-quality applications. If you are interested in attending this virtual webinar, you can register here.
FCC to Hold BDC Technical Assistance Workshops
The FCC’s Broadband Data Task Force (BDTF) is holding a series of virtual Technical Assistance Workshops in August to assist filers that are submitting broadband availability data in the inaugural Broadband Data Collection (BDC) window. Each session will start at 4 p.m. ET and will focus on a particular topic and provide attendees with the opportunity to have their questions answered by FCC staff. Data must be submitted into the BDC system no later than September 1, 2022.
Upcoming BDC Workshops:
The BDTF plans to host additional Technical Assistance Workshops focusing on the challenge processes and other components of the BDC starting in September. More information on these workshops will be announced at a later date.
If interested to register for the workshop(s), you should send an e-mail to BDCwebinar@fcc.gov indicating your desire to participate and identifying which session(s) you are interested in attending. Participants may attend as many sessions as you would like. In addition, questions on the topics above may be submitted in advance of or during the workshop(s) to BDCwebinar@fcc.gov.
Senate, House Members Introduce PLAN for Broadband Act
U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), chair of the Subcommittee on Communications, Media and Broadband; and U.S. Reps. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) introduced the Proper Leadership to Align Networks (PLAN) for Broadband Act. The legislation requires the President to develop a national strategy to close the digital divide and a plan to implement that strategy. This legislation is based on a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that found that federal broadband efforts are fragmented and overlapping and recommended that the President develop a national broadband strategy.