Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 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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M AY / J U N E 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 | 4 9 areas of the CAF II auction. RUS should not duplicate the FCC's funding but rather target those areas FCC programs miss. For example, areas in which the FCC Form 477 data is inaccurate has left large parts of rural America without service and without funding. After the CAF auction is finished later this year, those areas without a winning bid will be without service and without funding and could also become part of the RUS eligible areas. Second, the determination as to whether a household has access to 10/1 Mbps or higher speeds should be a measure of actual throughput, not advertised speed. e National Broadband Map overstates internet access in rural areas by using data that shows advertised speeds to a single location in a census block. at data will be of limited value in determining unserved areas for this RUS program. RUS should be open to statistically valid demonstrations that actual speeds to households are less than 10/1 Mbps. RUS should also determine the availability of internet access service in urban and suburban areas. Currently, most Americans have access to 100 Mbps service, not 10 Mbps. In future years, this program should be used to ensure that rural areas have access to service comparable to the rest of the country. A rural program run by the Rural Utilities Service should not adopt the soft bigotry of low expectations. ird, as a precondition for any award, an applicant should demonstrate a 30 percent presubscription rate of the households in the areas in which the applicant seeks funds. If consumers will not commit to a service, RUS risks wasting the public's money. In an FCC proceeding last year, one of the satellite providers stated that it was impossible to achieve a 30 percent market share for its services. Every project Conexon has ever worked on reaches that threshold within two years. Without that level of subscribership, most projects will not be sustainable. To protect the public's investment, RUS should require a demonstration that consumers want what a provider has to offer. Fourth, RUS could get the most bang for the public's buck by awarding funds that request a combination of loans and grants to the applicants that seek the highest level of service for the least amount of public funds per household. In that way, RUS can make awards on a purely objective basis and remove the pernicious effects of politics on government spending. RUS could stage the funding by awarding the first $200 million to those that would reach the most rural households based on the cost of public funds per household. en, it could follow that by awarding $200 million to another set of applicants, and then a final

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