Light Reading
The commission invites utilities, wireless operators and CLECs to apply for funds to bring broadband to underserved areas.

FCC Commits $100M to Rural Experiments

Carol Wilson
7/14/2014
50%
50%

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's determination to add WiFi to the agency's E-Rate program that brings broadband connectivity to schools and libraries was the big news out of Washington last Friday, but there was also a smaller step forward to experiment with allowing utilities, wireless operators, and CLECs to deliver broadband service to underserved high-cost areas of the US.

The E-Rate measure, including $1 billion for WiFi connections, passed by a partisan 3-2 vote but drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, as you can read in this article from The Hill.

Much less controversial was the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote to back a much smaller chunk of funding -- up to $100 million total -- to support a series of broadband experiments, to be chosen through an application process that will favor the most cost-effective and those who find matching funds.

More than 1,000 entities have expressed interest in the projects, including utilities, wireless operators, and CLEC affiliates of local telcos, according to the FCC.

There are three types of projects sought: Three-quarters of the funding will go to projects which bring 25 Mbit/s downstream and 5 Mbit/s upstream to underserved areas, while up to $15 million will fund similar projects delivering 10 Mbit/s downstream and 1 Mbit/s upstream, and $10 million will fund those delivering the 10 Mbit/1 Mbit speeds to extremely high-cost areas, the hardest to serve.

Carol Mattey, deputy bureau chief for the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau, said the idea is to gather information the agency will then use in crafting the rules for the reverse auction process it intends to use to fund a broader set of projects aimed at bringing broadband to rural areas across America.

The Utilities Telecom Council Inc. applauded the FCC for including utilities.

"By encouraging utilities and others to provide broadband that is robust, affordable and reliable, the FCC is creating new opportunities to promote economic growth and expanded access to health and safety, education, and essential services in our rural communities," said Connie Durcsak, President and CEO of UTC, in a statement.

The only dissenting FCC voice for this effort came from Republican Michael O'Rielly, who questioned the delay that running a series of experiments would cause for actually starting the process of getting rural broadband networks built.

Mignon Clyburn, a Democratic commissioner, stressed the need for winning projects to find other sources of funding, particularly state funding, since extending the reach of broadband is a federal-state partnership, she said.

Meanwhile, the Competitive Carrier Association, the members of which are rural wireless operators, expressed concerns that wireless providers will be shut out from participating in the experiments because of the speed requirements.

"If structured properly, the proposed experiments could provide unprecedented insight into the way broadband deployment is promoted throughout the country," said CCA President & CEO Steven K. Berry said in a statement. "Unfortunately, based on today's presentation it appears the Commission has missed a valuable opportunity ... Making the vast majority of funding contingent on achieving speeds that are several multiples higher than those required of price-cap carriers in receiving [Connect America Fund] Phase I funding makes little sense ... Wireless carriers contribute more to the fund than wireline carriers, and yet the FCC's rules are technology biased away from consumer-desired mobile services.”

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX – Live from the Show

8|21|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


An overview of VeEX Test and Measurement solutions including TX300S multi-service test set with VeExpress cloud-based management system, UX400 universal modular platform supporting 100G testing, and the redesigned RXT modular platform.
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (7) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV – Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Today's Cartoon
Hot Topics
Sprint CEO: Price Cuts First, Best Network Next
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/14/2014
IoT Alert: Samsung Snaps Up SmartThings
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/15/2014
Line-Powered Phone Lines: A Hot Topic Again
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/20/2014
Telefónica Proves Brocade Router Performs for NFV
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/19/2014
Comcast Streams Back to School
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/21/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed