The Debate Over Muni Broadband Expansion

By Stephanie Kanowitz

As communities across the country continue to clamor for high-speed broadband, the number of critics speaking out against municipal broadband is growing.

At the heart of the debate is whether governments or private industry should have jurisdiction over broadband. Those who favor private industry point to the historical success of capitalism, while “broadband populists,” as a new report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) calls them, favor government regulation and operation much like other city services. Continue reading

AT&T Trialing Fixed-Wireless Internet

AT&T (NYSE:T) is trialing a point-to-point millimeter wave wireless technology designed to use in-building wiring to deliver 100 Mbps Internet service to each apartment unit. The trial covers several apartment complexes in Minneapolis, outside of the telco’s traditional 21-state wireline service area.

The trial uses millimeter wave wireless technology to send a multi-gigabit signal from a central building connected to fiber to neighboring apartment buildings, and then connects each apartment unit via in-building wiring. The apartment buildings have small radio/antenna systems placed on the properties’ rooftops, as well as a satellite dish for DirecTV service. Services are then distributed to each unit in the building via existing or new wiring in the property. After customers in the trial properties sign up for service, they can plug a WiFi router into an existing wall outlet to get Internet service. Continue reading

Town Loses Gigabit Connections After FCC Municipal Broadband Court Loss

English: Availability of 4 Mbps-Capable Broadb...

English: Availability of 4 Mbps-Capable Broadband Networks in the United States by County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carl’s opinion piece is clearly in support of an industry that is very happy to sell equipment to these new customers because the incumbent telco business is not growing very fast, if at all. Allowing government to offer communications services in a particular market is not competing; it is taking it over because they can use bonds (low interest) and taxpayer money to fund these networks. State legislators have created these laws to prevent just these things from happening along with providing protection when half of these ventures go bankrupt.

Telcos are not clean on this because they are using crony capitalism to protect their monopoly or duopoly. If legislators enact such laws they should hold incumbents to the universal service agreement that AT&T adhered for decades.

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AT&T to Trial Wireless Broadband over Power Lines

AT&T (NYSE:T) has unveiled Project AirGig, a technology intended to deliver multi-gigabit Internet speeds via power lines and unlicensed wireless spectrum to any home or handheld wireless device. The company expects to kick off the first field trials in 2017.

“Project AirGig has tremendous potential to transform Internet access globally – well beyond our current broadband footprint and not just in the United States,” said John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president, Technology and Operations, AT&T. “The results we’ve seen from our outdoor labs testing have been encouraging, especially as you think about where we’re heading in a 5G world. To that end, we’re looking at the right global location to trial this new technology next year.” Continue reading

Gigabites: A Love Letter to Nashville


It’s Gigabites, the Labor Day Weekend edition. In this week’s report, Google Fiber and AT&T battle it out in Nashville; the FCC backs down from the municipal broadband fight; Comcast challenges Verizon in a ranking of broadband speeds; and more.

Who loves Nashville the most? Google Fiber Inc. says it has the city’s best interests at heart in requesting a new One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) ruling from the city government. The OTMR ordinance would make it easier for Google Fiber, and anyone else, to attach new broadband lines to local utility poles. In ablog post dedicated “To Nashville, with love,” the company appeals directly to the city’s residents asking them to support the ruling at a vote on September 6. Google Fiber says a positive vote would speed up the process of bringing Google Fiber to the Music City. So far, the company points out that only 33 utility poles have been made ready for Google Fiber attachments out of the more than 44,000 in the city that need work done in preparation for new fiber lines.

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Google adds fixed wireless to its Fiber unit with Webpass purchase

By Caroline Gabriel
English: 5.2 GHz 'Canopy' wireless internet an...

English: 5.2 GHz ‘Canopy’ wireless internet antenna with passive ‘Stinger’ antenna (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Broadband wireless is a time-honored way to fill gaps in a wireline network and improve the overall economics, and emerging LTE-A Pro and 5G technologies will enhance those capabilities. Google is acquiring a US ISP called Webpass to add a wireless element to its Google Fiber platform and accelerate roll-out in some urban areas.

Until now, Google Fiber has mainly built its city networks from scratch, harnessing close relationships with municipal authorities. Webpass expands Google’s deployment options in some interesting locations – primarily Greater Miami, Chicago, Boston and several Californian cities (San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley and San Diego). Google Fiber is live in Atlanta; Kansas City; Provo, Utah; Nashville, Tennesee; and Austin, Texas; and the company is working in San Francisco. It has also said Chicago and San Diego would be potential “fiber cities”, so Webpass could provide it with an earlier entry point. Continue reading

DC Court Upholds FCC Open Internet Order


In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has upheld the FCC‘s Open Internet Order, which was issued last March and challenged in court shortly thereafter. The full text of the decision – 184 pages’ worth – is available here.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said: “Today’s ruling is a victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire web, and it ensures the Internet remains a platform for unparalleled innovation, free expression and economic growth. After a decade of debate and legal battles, today’s ruling affirms the commission’s ability to enforce the strongest possible Internet protections – both on fixed and mobile networks – that will ensure the Internet remains open, now and in the future.”

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai disagreed. In a statement, he said, in part: “I am deeply disappointed by the D.C. Circuit’s 2-1 decision upholding the FCC’s Internet regulations. For many of the reasons set forth in Judge Williams’ [presiding judge on the case in the DC Circuit] compelling dissent, I continue to believe that these regulations are unlawful, and I hope that the parties challenging them will continue the legal fight. The FCC’s regulations are unnecessary and counterproductive.” Continue reading