New broadband maps are coming soon. Congress passed a law directing the FCC on exactly how to build the new maps, and the FCC is moving expeditiously to bring them to life. It’s called the Digital Opportunity Data Collection (DODC) effort. I’m going to point out some areas of concern, but I trust the new FCC under Jessica Rosenworcel to see this through to implementation, making slight additions or corrections where necessary. For years she’s championed good data and will undoubtedly work in the public’s interest in bringing these new maps to life. …

The FCC auction for coveted mid-band spectrum just ended, and WSJ and Twitter are abuzz about the sky-high prices. When the results are announced, and “winners” are anointed, and analysts prognosticate about how the $42 billion Verizon might spend puts them in a better 5G position — after all that, I’ll be wondering if anyone actually won. We all know the macro equation:

Pai is vastly over-stating progress in closing the digital divide. And a close look at Census data shows it.

As Ajit Pai’s term as Chair of the FCC winds down, his supporters are trying to shape his legacy and accomplishments. There is bipartisan agreement that there’s one metric above all others: In a world where affordable broadband is critical to learning and success in the new economy, we have to quickly close the digital divide. That’s why FCC press releases from Pai’s office tout that Americans lacking broadband access “fell to 14.5 million — a 46% decrease from the end of 2016” which is only 4.3% of Americans lacking access. But this supposed progress in closing the digital divide…

Bringing down the cost of broadband is an obvious path to increasing accessibility and economic opportunity. Joshua Stager gives a great overview of the problem and potential solutions in TechDirt. Their research showed the average internet bill is $68.38 per month!

Broadband service is critical to success and opportunity in the current economy — even before COVID. Why then is it so hard to find out what the actual situation is when it comes to who has it and who doesn’t? And what can be done about it?

The FCC recently released the results of the first part of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction. As with everything in our politics, and certainly, anything that produces winners and losers, opponents were quick to point out issues.

Mike Conlow

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