Broadband Communities

SEP 2018

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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A U G U S T / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 8 | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | 5 5 COMPONENTS OF BROADBAND QUALITY e FCC does not use speed in isolation as a measure of broadband, and neither should the RUS. Speed alone does not define broadband. A speed of 10 Mbps/1 Mbps with only a 10 GB per month data cap is not broadband. e average household use of broadband has grown a hundredfold over the past decade to 200 GB per month. Similarly, 10 Mbps/1 Mbps with a latency of 750 milliseconds is not broadband because voice and other key broadband applications require low-latency networks. Nor is 10 Mbps/1 Mbps broadband if it is priced at $100 per month. Rural households are generally more impoverished than the national average, and putting the price of an essential service out of reach effectively means it is not available. Speed, capacity, latency and affordability are all components of the FCC's requirements for spending public funds on broadband networks. In the recently concluded Connect America Fund auction, the baseline tier for bidding included 25 Mbps/3 Mbps speed, 160 GB per month capacity, 100 milliseconds or better latency and a price point no greater than the average price for such service in urban areas. e optimal tier in the auction (for which there was no bidding penalty) was 1 Gbps, 2 TB, 100 milliseconds and the average urban price. Similarly, the RUS should indicate that an area is unserved if the internet services available fail any of those components. e RUS could adopt a definition of "unserved" that includes all four components. For example, served could mean 10 Mbps/1 Mbps or faster speeds, 160 GB or greater monthly capacity, 100 milliseconds or better latency, priced at $55 per month or less. UNIVERSAL SERVICE e FCC's statutory mandate is universal service, and the RUS programs should adopt universal service as their goal. In some cases, the FCC's Connect America Fund program obligation calls for reaching just 95 percent of households, but that is still markedly different from service as displayed in the National Broadband Map. e map displays a census block as served by a particular speed if an ISP reports availability to even a single location in that census block. When the underlying technology is distance sensitive, as is the case particularly with copper- and spectrum-based services, the mapping significantly overstates availability. For example, a household 2,000 feet from a telephone company central office or DSLAM might receive 10 Mbps/1 Mbps speeds, but a household in the same census block 10,000 feet from that same central office or DSLAM assuredly will not. e map treats both households as served. Treating partially served census blocks as if they are fully served will result in an underinvestment in rural America. e appropriate geographic area is the home, not the census block, but data isn't collected on such a granular basis. is is a real and difficult problem. When the state of New York designed its broadband program, it surveyed ISPs about partially served census blocks and found 25 to 50 percent additional unserved households. However, no such data exists on a national basis. One way to address the problem of partially served blocks is to use a safe harbor assumption – for example, to treat all partially served blocks as if they were 50 percent served. For more granular evidence, the RUS could adopt a sliding-scale safe harbor between 10 percent and 90 percent of the households in a census block. EVIDENCE OF CONSUMER DECISIONS Another criterion – one the FCC doesn't use – is evidence of consumer decisions. If, by means of surveys or other outreach, it becomes evident that fewer than 10 percent of the households in an area subscribe to an ISP's service, the RUS should count the area as unserved. Congress has proscribed funding to areas where broadband is available to more than 10 percent of the households. It would be perfectly reasonable for the RUS to include consumer decisions as one of the demonstrations that an area is served or unserved. Ready Solutions for Residential Fiber CFTT Fiber Transition Terminals Ideal for low density ber circuits, CFTT serve as a customer demarcation point for ber entering the customer premises. 4 and 8 port models available Charles Fiber Distribution Points Superior environmental protection, more supported ber types, and best overall value in above-grade ber pedestals Charles Fiber Flexibility Points Scalable, low cost alternative to placing a large cabinet ber distribution hub in the outside plant. Available in 72, 96, 144 and 288 ber counts

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