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  • Geebo 9:20 am on August 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: broadband internet, , , tribal lands   

    FCC stopped from cutting internet subsidies in tribal lands 

    FCC stopped from cutting internet subsidies in tribal lands

    Back in November of last year, I wrote a blog post about the number of then-recent FCC rulings that I alleged was done to possibly silence poorer voices in this country. One of those rulings was to roll back Lifeline subsidies that helped provide low-cost internet and phone to low-income families. That same ruling also put a cap on the number of service providers that could offer Lifeline services. One of the areas that could have been hit hardest by the FCC’s ruling would have been the tribal lands of Native-Americans.

    Recently, the US Court of Appeals has blocked the FCC from taking away Lifeline services in these areas. The court ruled that taking away these services and limiting the number of providers would cause the tribal populations to lose vital services due to a lack of communication options. The court also noted that the tribal lands have a lack of choice when it comes to internet and phone providers.

    As he is wont to do, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said in the past that rollbacks like this would create competition and lower prices for broadband internet. However, the court added that the FCC failed to provide any evidence that supported any of those claims. Ever since Pai started talking about rolling back net neutrality protections it seems that the FCC has tried to create a digital divide between the haves and have-nots, almost like the FCC and the current administration doesn’t want lower-income families, minorities, and migrants to be able to have access to news and other services on matters that personally affect them. Ignorance is strength indeed.

  • Geebo 9:02 am on August 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , broadband internet, ,   

    The FCC seems to think we have enough internet 

    The FCC seems to think we have enough internet

    When they’re not busy getting ready to dismantle a free and open internet, the FCC seems to think mobile broadband is enough for most homes. According to Ars Technica, the President Trump-backed FCC is leaning toward declaring mobile broadband speeds as the national standard. As Ars Technica points out, this could mean we may see a slow-down of broadband infrastructure and services being improved in the near future.

    While mobile data is great for when you’re out running errands or using your GPS, it’s neither financially nor practically feasible to think homes can run on mobile internet. Mobile data plans are already expensive and usually cap your data at around 5GB of bandwidth. A normal home where the family uses services like Netflix, or plays online games, can use that amount of bandwidth in less than a day. At that point a number of mobile providers start charging customers an exorbitant rate for going over their data limit. Mobile networks are also prone to failure when too many people try to use the same network at the same time. For example, say some kind of natural disaster strikes and a large number of people in the affected area try to tell their loved ones they’re all right by using social media. Everyone trying to reach Twitter or Facebook at the same time in a concentrated area could bring the entire local data network down.

    This really shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the FCC’s appears to be giving heavy favor to the mobile broadband providers with their recommendations. Current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is a former counsel for Verizon who stands to gain a lot if the FCC removes Title II protection from broadband. It almost seems like the FCC won’t be happy until we’re using 56K modems again while being charged by the minute.

  • Geebo 11:04 am on July 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: broadband internet,   

    Microsoft wants to bring broadband internet to rural areas 

    Microsoft wants to bring broadband internet to rural areas

    If you’ve ever lived in a rural or remote area, you probably know how difficult it can be to get internet service to your home. In many cases, your only options are satellite internet, which is prohibitively expensive, or dial-up internet, which should be classified as crime against humanity. It’s even worse if you have children who need the internet to do school work, or if you’re looking for employment. Without broadband internet, it puts people in rural areas at an educational and financial disadvantage. Enter Microsoft. Microsoft, in a coalition with other foundations are working on perfecting a technology that could bring broadband internet to many people who currently can’t access it.

    When TV broadcasters switched from analog to digital signals, it left swaths of open space in the radio spectrum. Some of those frequencies can be used to deliver broadband internet over the air. While this idea has been proposed before, Microsoft seems to be going full steam ahead. Users of the service would need a special antenna and a special modem required to receive the signal and provide wi-fi to the home. Microsoft says they have no intention of becoming an ISP, but would rather perfect the technology before equipping providers with it.

    While this all sounds great, there are of course industries opposed to this technology. Broadcasters are afraid the internet signal might interfere with their transmissions. Industries that use wireless sound equipment are afraid of interference as well. That’s not even taking existing internet service providers into account. A lot of industries are very protective of their current technologies and business models. Anything that can be seen as a disruption to either of those things will almost always result in legal battles. Years ago, the city of Philadelphia tried providing municipal broadband to its citizens. To combat losing business, Verizon heavily lobbied the state of Pennsylvania to limit municipal broadband and they won. Philly never received municipal broadband and Verizon and Comcast now have a duopoly over The City of Brotherly Love. If broadcasters and ISPs were to use their deep pockets to lobby Congress we may never see this technology get off the ground.

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