BBWN Bites: East beats West in US for broadband – report
Also in this roundup: Starlink to connect Texas school district; FCC earmarks $9B for mobile broadband; one third of UK households overpay for broadband.
- A new report from BroadbandNow finds that the top five states with the highest percentage of access to 100 Mbit/s download speed and 25 Mbit/s upload are Washington, DC; Rhode Island; New Jersey; Delaware; and New York. While those with the most access are concentrated on the East Coast, the bottom five states are more dispersed across the country. Those include Montana, Wyoming, Maine, South Carolina and Alabama. With Election Day on Tuesday, November 3, BroadbandNow also notes that the "election looms large" in terms of what happens next for expanded access in the US: "Joe Biden has detailed an infrastructure bill that, if elected, would earmark an additional $20 billion for broadband deployment in rural communities. This would, ostensibly, be above and beyond the RDOF funds already announced, marking a significant acceleration in deployment," states the report. "Donald Trump has not released any similar deployment plan as of yet. The President's reelection campaign has introduced a $1 trillion infrastructure bill to Congress, but the bill reportedly includes money for 5G and rural broadband deployment. That said, no further details have been announced detailing how much of this lump sum would go toward broadband, specifically." The data for BroadbandNow's Q3 report was compiled from "publicly available plan and coverage data from more than 2,000 internet service providers."
- This week saw Starlink's satellite broadband go live for some beta users. In addition, the Ector County Independent School District in Texas announced a partnership with SpaceX to provide free Starlink satellite Internet access for dozens of families. According to a press release, 45 families will get access to the service in early 2021 with more to come as the service expands. "Our research clearly indicates the lack of broadband access is a crisis in Ector County. In collaboration with SpaceX, we are providing space-based Internet services to students and families that have few, if any, options," said ECISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Scott Muri in a statement.
- On that note, the FCC this week established a 5G Fund for Rural America, to distribute up to $9 billion over the next 10 years to bring 5G wireless broadband to the rural US. According to a press release, the fund will use "multi-round reverse auctions in two phases to target support from the Commission's Universal Service Fund to eligible areas based upon the improved mobile broadband coverage data gathered in the Commission's Digital Opportunity Data Collection proceeding." The fund sets aside $680 million for bidders serving Tribal lands. The FCC further states that winning bidders are required to provide 5G mobile broadband at speeds of at least 35/3 Mbit/s.
- Data from BroadbandSavvy (a company that offers tools to help you get the "best internet connection you possibly can") suggests that 31% of UK broadband households are overpaying for their service. These findings come from a survey of 500 British households. The results show that the 31% who are overpaying had a package with a download speed at least 15 Mbit/s higher than what they needed, and that the average household could save £7.75 (US$10) per month, or £93 ($120.50) per year. Meanwhile, the data also found that 37% of households had speeds significantly slower than what they needed and 68% of these slower-speed households said that they would be willing to pay more for faster internet. To stop this madness and help give the people what they need, BroadbandSavvy offers a handy dandy calculator to determine the right package for households based on usage.
— Nicole Ferraro, contributing editor, Light Reading