BBWN Bites: WISPA sets policy priorities
Also in this roundup: DayNet fiber build starts in Dayton, Texas; new report shows millions of Americans aren't getting advertised Internet speeds; TIM "ends" digital divide in Apulia.
- The Wireless Internet Service Provider Association (WISPA) released a set of policy priorities yesterday aimed at closing the digital divide in the US. Taking a "multi-faceted approach," the organization has put forth proposals for balanced spectrum, whereby spectrum gets allocated on both an unlicensed and licensed basis; data-driven subsidy programs; fast and fair access to infrastructure; and a request that new policies do not impose unfair regulatory burdens on small service providers. In a statement about the policy priorities, WISPA CEO Claude Aiken said, "The FCC stands at an exciting juncture in the history of U.S. communications policy … With the advance of technology, the proliferation of competitive markets, and the help of smart government policies and programs it could be that very soon all Americans, no matter where they live or their means of support, will have access to the Internet." [Ed. note: You can hear more from Aiken on WISPA's policy priorities and expectations for the FCC this year on next week's episode of The Divide on the Light Reading podcast.]
- In an otherwise horrific week for the state of Texas, Magellan Advisors announced some decent news that construction is well underway for a community-owned fiber network in the city of Dayton. Called DayNet, the network is expected to be able to deliver "blazing fast gigabit" speeds by the end of 2021, with full construction set for completion in two years. Magellan Advisors – which partners with municipalities and other regional organizations to help communities build and deploy broadband infrastructure – has been working alongside Dayton since 2019 to establish and support the city's fiber network. "DayNet will give the City key competitive advantages by bolstering local economic development, work from home capabilities and an enhanced quality of life," said John Honker, Magellan Advisors' CEO, in a press release.
- A new report from Allconnect, a marketplace that allows consumers to find their best service options, states that 45 million Americans are paying for Internet speeds they aren't getting. That amounts to about 15% of all Internet users. Notably, while cable and fiber speeds were revealed to be slower than advertised – with customers paying for 101 Mbit/s download speeds and getting 80 Mbit/s on average – Allconnect also found that DSL, satellite and fixed wireless users are actually getting faster speeds than advertised. Fixed wireless in particular was a standout: "Users are advertised just 32 Mbps download speeds on average, but they actually get 72 Mbps — nearly as fast as the download speeds recorded by fiber internet connections in our analysis," according to the report.
- Telecom Italia (TIM) announced this week that it has closed the digital divide in Apulia, a region in south-eastern Italy, the first region in the country to have Internet access available to 100% of households. In a press release, TIM states that it has completed its work to bring FTTx within reach of 99.4% of households; with the remaining 0.6% covered by fixed-wireless access or satellite connections. Of course, "ending" the digital divide would mean that every single household has connectivity, not just the available infrastructure. To that end, TIM further says that to promote adoption it will propose to industry regulator AGCOM and all other telecommunications operators a "territorial action aimed at switching off the copper network (PSTN) in the province of Taranto" and moving the city's lines to the fiber network.
— Nicole Ferraro, contributing editor, Light Reading