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:

C + I + G = GDP

These auctions are a massive movement from “I” to “G”, but don’t add to total output. So who might be the “winners”?

Verizon: Much has been written about Verizon’s need…


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!

I want to zoom in on the competition data. The last FCC Internet Access Services report makes the bold claim that 18% of census blocks are served by two broadband providers. And 81% have access from 3 or more providers — no way! A footnote confesses they’re including two satellite internet services (HughesNet and ViaSat). If you know anyone…


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?

According to the FCC, 14.5 million, or only 4.3% of Americans, don’t have access to fixed terrestrial broadband. But according to the Census’s ACS survey, 30% of American households don’t have fixed terrestrial high-speed broadband in their home. …


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.

For background: up to $16 billion was available to broadband providers to bring service to currently unserved areas. Because of the reverse auction format, where providers bid down the subsidy level at which they’re willing to provide service, $9.2 of the $16 billion was committed.

We can talk about problems with the maps (they need work!), how to compare speeds between different…

Mike Conlow

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