Vol. 16, No. 34
September 21, 2020
INCOMPAS to FCC: 1 Gig or Bust.
Speed the Internet Up and Boost the Economy 
In comments filed last week in the FCC's Section 706 Inquiry, INCOMPAS suggested a 1 Gbps speed benchmark and other actions to lower barriers to broadband deployment.
INCOMPAS, which has long fought to raise the current internet speed benchmarks from 25 Mbps to 1 Gigabit, says COVID has been a wake-up call to all Americans who are dependent on faster, more affordable internet for school, healthcare and working from home. 

“Markets with gigabit connectivity not only have faster speeds, but also more affordable prices, as incumbents race to improve their networks and match the prices of competitive fiber providers that have entered the market with a broadband product that is attractive to consumers,” the INCOMPAS filing stated. Adding, “With 5G well on the way, 1 Gbps represents a sensible standard and it is time for the Commission to adopt a future-proof definition of broadband for our nation.”

In terms of wireless broadband, INCOMPAS stressed what all consumers know: Mobile options are simply not an adequate solution to fixed broadband connections, especially in an age of rapidly increasing bandwidth needs, multiple connected devices in our homes and businesses need to deliver robust bandwidth, privacy and data security. 

“Businesses and consumers alike continue to rely on dedicated fixed services for privacy and data protection as well as sensitive payment information. They continue to expect to have access to both types of networks, and full substitutability has not been achieved,” INCOMPAS added. 

INCOMPAS noted the digital divide continues to be a pressing and punishing issue for far too many Americans living in both urban and rural communities. Helping to prevent barriers to competition at the local level – including bogus duplicative taxes and fees as well as denying new builders access to poles and infrastructure are critical steps the FCC can take to facilitate fiber networks. INCOMPAS also urged a rapid and immediate better broadband solution for the 30% of Americans currently living in apartment and condo buildings who are forced into monopoly contracts. 

The INCOMPAS filing stresses FCC action on MTEs, saying: “Despite the FCC’s efforts to reduce commercial barriers to entry in MTEs, evidence of a growing disparity between consumer demand for increased Internet speeds, lower prices, and competition and what MTE owners and landlords actually make available to their residents should lead the FCC to adopt proposals included in a pending Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM) on this issue.”
President Nominates Simington to Replace O'Rielly at FCC
On September 15, the White House announced the President's intention to nominate Nathan A. Simington to be an FCC commissioner. Simington is currently a senior advisor in the NTIA, specializing in network and telecommunications policy, and works on 5G security and secure supply chains, the American Broadband Initiative and is NTIA’s representative to the Government Advisory Committee of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

The nomination was sent to the Senate on September 16, 2020. The term would be for five years from July 1, 2019, and if confirmed he would replace Commissioner Michael O’Rielly.