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Billion-dollar US broadband bonanza awaits Biden's blessing – what you need to know
Wednesday, 10 November 2021 12:57

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Infrastructure bill brings $65bn to freshen up American internet


US broadband is about to get a major cash injection through the $1.2tr bipartisan infrastructure bill approved by the House of Representatives on Friday.

The bill, passed by the Senate in August, is expected to be signed by President Biden in the next few days.

"The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will deliver $65 billion to help ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment," the White House said in a statement. "The legislation will also help lower prices for internet service and help close the digital divide, so that more Americans can afford internet access."

The infrastructure bill includes:

  • $42.5bn for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, which provides grants to help internet service providers develop broadband connectivity in underserved areas in the US States, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and other US territories. The program will be administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
  • $14.2bn for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which has subsidized broadband access during the pandemic and has been renamed the Affordable Connectivity program to reflect that it's no longer pegged to a specific public health event. It now provides a $30 monthly discount, down from $50, on internet service for qualifying households and applies to all service tiers, so as to prevent ISPs from offering it selectively to steer customers toward more profitable plans.
  • $2.75bn for the Digital Equity Act, to help states ensure underserved communities have equal access to the internet and to fund projects that make the internet more accessible to a broad range of people.
  • $2bn for Tribal Connectivity, to improve broadband in areas governed by Native American tribes.
  • $1bn for Middle Mile Connectivity, to improve network interconnection points (leased dark fiber, interoffice transport, backhaul, carrier-neutral internet exchange facilities, and so on).

The infrastructure bill also forbids Digital Discrimination by internet service providers, which means that access should not be based on income level, race, ethnicity, color, religion, or national origin. It also calls for the restoration of Consumer Broadband Labels, which disclose broadband service prices and features.

The Obama administration unveiled broadband service labels in 2016, based on a 2015 FCC net neutrality order that expanded disclosures established in 2010, only to see them tossed by the Trump administration.

The bill supports projects that will provide broadband speeds of at least 100Mbps down and 20Mbps up, with sufficient latency for real-time interactive applications. And it defines "underserved locations" to mean less than 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up, or lacking the latency to support real-time interactive applications.

"Implemented properly, this investment should go great distances toward connecting the millions of rural consumers who still need reliable, sustainable and affordable access – improving economic opportunity, job creation, education, healthcare and civic engagement," said Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of the Rural Broadband Association, in a statement.

The Benton Institute for Broadband and Society has summarized the broadband enhancements and describes the process by which states should woo NTIA for funds. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

Stor-a-File, a British data capture and storage company, suffered a ransomware attack in August that exploited an unpatched instance of SolarWinds' Serv-U FTP software.

The company informed its clients about the September attack, and told The Register that it refused to pay. We understand some data has been leaked by ransomware criminals on a Tor blog.

At least one of Stor-a-File's clients is a medical company, one of whose customers got in touch with El Reg last week.

Continue readingOfcom announces plan to protect endangered species – the Great British phone box BT is getting axe-happy but regulator's scheme could save 5,000 kiosks

Grotty, soaked in urine, and plastered with escort ads if the windows haven't already been kicked in – the public phone box is a British institution on its last legs. And yet comms regulator Ofcom has a plan in place to protect the endangered species.

BT has been tolling the bell for copper phone lines for some time now, but upgrading payphones to digital too would require significant investment. So the telco is choosing which should stay and which should go.

Ofcom has noted that in the year to May 2020, 150,000 calls were made to emergency services from phone boxes, 25,000 to kids' counselling service Childline, and 20,000 to the Samaritans support line for those in emotional distress, so it's clear payphones still fulfil a need.

Continue readingGoogle swats away £3bn Safari Workaround ad-tracking cookie lawsuit in Supreme Court victory Campaigners' case had 'no real prospect of success'

Google has successfully fought off a £3bn lawsuit brought in London over ad tracking cookies, beating the Google You Owe Us campaign in the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

The case, brought in 2017, had "no real prospect of success", the Supreme Court unanimously ruled this morning, in a devastating blow for organisations hoping it would create new law allowing them to easily launch opt-out class action lawsuits against companies who leak user data or whose data stores are broken into.

Former Which? director Richard Lloyd was the frontman of the case. He lost because his legal team filed suit against Google "without attempting to show that any wrongful use was made by Google of personal data relating to that individual or that the individual suffered any material damage or distress as a result of a breach", as the court ruled.

Continue reading

BCS – the Chartered Institute for IT – is the latest to weigh in on the Net Zero debate, with a call for better data on what is generating C02 emissions in the office, at home and in transit.

The group highlighted a survey, which showed 71 per cent of tech pros were not confident the right data was in the right hands to achieve the lofty goal of Net Zero. A similar amount (61 per cent) said IT and digital tech were not being used effectively.

"The recent UK Government Budget announced record investment in research and development," said the institute, "but there is a need for clarity on how government plans to use this to fund the software, infrastructure technology and growing the data science industry to the levels needed to understand the data."

Continue readingKeep calm and learn Rust: We'll be seeing a lot more of the language in Linux very soon It's another string to your bow

Opinion To become a Linux developer, you used to need C as your passport. Now Rust can let you be an OS programmer as well.

The joke goes: "C combines the power and performance of assembly language with the flexibility and ease-of-use of assembly language." Having programmed in both C and IBM 360 Assembler – it was a long time ago, OK – there's something to that. Because of its power, performance, and portability, C became the operating system language of choice, including, of course, Linux.

There's only one little problem with C. It's really easy to make blunders. Big, ugly ones. That's where Rust comes in.

Continue readingNASA delays crewed moon landing until 2025, citing technical infeasibility The space agency wants you to know they are still committed to the project

NASA has delayed the first Artemis crewed mission to the moon until 2025, rather than the previously planned 2024.

The goal date of 2024 was originally set by the Trump administration in 2017. The failure of that timetable is not uniquely Trumpy. George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush had done similar, with Jr stating the US must do so by 2020 and Daddy Bush giving much more vague directives.

“The Trump administration’s target of 2024 human landing was not grounded in technical feasibility,” NASA’s head honcho Bill Nelson said on a conference call during which he delivered the first major Artemis update under the Biden-Harris Administration.

Continue readingIt started at Pixar. Now it's the Apple-backed 3D file format viewed as HTML of metaverse Nvidia pushes 30-year-old description language for the internet of the future

An open-source file format adopted by Apple, and the origins of which can be traced back 30 years, is getting a fresh look as hype grows around the building of a metaverse without borders.

The Universal Scene Description, or USD, was described as the "HTML of 3D" by Richard Kerris, vice president of the Omniverse platform at Nvidia, during a press briefing ahead of its GPU Technology Conference this week.

Nvidia is backing the file format as a linchpin to build a collaborative metaverse on its Omniverse hardware and software platform, through which companies can build and render complex 3D worlds, AI models, and animated avatars.

Continue readingSamsung reveals buzzword-compliant DRAM ready for 5G, AI, edge, and metaverses Smartphone-derived LPDDR5X said to be faster and more miserly than predecessors

Samsung has revealed a new variety of DRAM, and probably won buzzword bingo for the year 2021 too.

The Korean giant has declared its new LPDDR5X DRAM is suitable for 5G, AI, edge computing, AI on the network edge, the metaverse, “and even automobiles.”

It also slices, dices, juliennes, and can fix a boat that’s been sawed in half.

Continue readingFormer Broadcom engineer accused of pinching chip tech to share with new Chinese employer We're guessing it wasn't Fiber Channel, but it would be weirdly cool if it was

A federal grand jury has charged a former Broadcom engineer with stealing trade secrets and using them while working at a new employer – a Chinese chip start-up.

The indictment against Peter Kisang Kim, a 20-year veteran of the San Jose-based semiconductor and infrastructure software product company, was unsealed yesterday.

Kim allegedly lifted the trade secrets from one of Broadcom's employee-only repositories as he prepared to leave the company in July of 2020. The stolen information included details of what the US Justice Department described as products "associated with a Broadcom family of chips often used in high-volume data centers".

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The Bank of England and HM Treasury have announced a consultation process that will inform a decision about whether the UK should proceed to design and create a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The financial orgs created a taskforce to consider a CBDC in April 2021, and promised to "engage widely with stakeholders on the benefits, risks and practicalities" of such a move.

Wags quickly labelled the currency "Britcoin". Not much has been heard since.

Continue readingSatellite of love: Space broadband outfit Viasat acquires rival Inmarsat Promises to keep Inmarsat's commitments to build more stuff in Blighty

Satellite broadband providers Inmarsat and Viasat will combine forces.

Viasat is the acquiror and will send Inmarsat's stockholders $850 million of cash and $3.1 billion in scrip. Viasat will also take on $3.4 billion of Inmarsat's debt.

The combined company will operate 19 satellites, with another ten under construction and headed for space between now and 2024.

Continue reading

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Infrastructure bill brings $65bn to freshen up American internet


US broadband is about to get a major cash injection through the $1.2tr bipartisan infrastructure bill approved by the House of Representatives on Friday.

The bill, passed by the Senate in August, is expected to be signed by President Biden in the next few days.

"The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will deliver $65 billion to help ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment," the White House said in a statement. "The legislation will also help lower prices for internet service and help close the digital divide, so that more Americans can afford internet access."

The infrastructure bill includes:

  • $42.5bn for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, which provides grants to help internet service providers develop broadband connectivity in underserved areas in the US States, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and other US territories. The program will be administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
  • $14.2bn for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which has subsidized broadband access during the pandemic and has been renamed the Affordable Connectivity program to reflect that it's no longer pegged to a specific public health event. It now provides a $30 monthly discount, down from $50, on internet service for qualifying households and applies to all service tiers, so as to prevent ISPs from offering it selectively to steer customers toward more profitable plans.
  • $2.75bn for the Digital Equity Act, to help states ensure underserved communities have equal access to the internet and to fund projects that make the internet more accessible to a broad range of people.
  • $2bn for Tribal Connectivity, to improve broadband in areas governed by Native American tribes.
  • $1bn for Middle Mile Connectivity, to improve network interconnection points (leased dark fiber, interoffice transport, backhaul, carrier-neutral internet exchange facilities, and so on).

The infrastructure bill also forbids Digital Discrimination by internet service providers, which means that access should not be based on income level, race, ethnicity, color, religion, or national origin. It also calls for the restoration of Consumer Broadband Labels, which disclose broadband service prices and features.

The Obama administration unveiled broadband service labels in 2016, based on a 2015 FCC net neutrality order that expanded disclosures established in 2010, only to see them tossed by the Trump administration.

The bill supports projects that will provide broadband speeds of at least 100Mbps down and 20Mbps up, with sufficient latency for real-time interactive applications. And it defines "underserved locations" to mean less than 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up, or lacking the latency to support real-time interactive applications.

"Implemented properly, this investment should go great distances toward connecting the millions of rural consumers who still need reliable, sustainable and affordable access – improving economic opportunity, job creation, education, healthcare and civic engagement," said Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of the Rural Broadband Association, in a statement.

The Benton Institute for Broadband and Society has summarized the broadband enhancements and describes the process by which states should woo NTIA for funds. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

Stor-a-File, a British data capture and storage company, suffered a ransomware attack in August that exploited an unpatched instance of SolarWinds' Serv-U FTP software.

The company informed its clients about the September attack, and told The Register that it refused to pay. We understand some data has been leaked by ransomware criminals on a Tor blog.

At least one of Stor-a-File's clients is a medical company, one of whose customers got in touch with El Reg last week.

Continue readingOfcom announces plan to protect endangered species – the Great British phone box BT is getting axe-happy but regulator's scheme could save 5,000 kiosks

Grotty, soaked in urine, and plastered with escort ads if the windows haven't already been kicked in – the public phone box is a British institution on its last legs. And yet comms regulator Ofcom has a plan in place to protect the endangered species.

BT has been tolling the bell for copper phone lines for some time now, but upgrading payphones to digital too would require significant investment. So the telco is choosing which should stay and which should go.

Ofcom has noted that in the year to May 2020, 150,000 calls were made to emergency services from phone boxes, 25,000 to kids' counselling service Childline, and 20,000 to the Samaritans support line for those in emotional distress, so it's clear payphones still fulfil a need.

Continue readingGoogle swats away £3bn Safari Workaround ad-tracking cookie lawsuit in Supreme Court victory Campaigners' case had 'no real prospect of success'

Google has successfully fought off a £3bn lawsuit brought in London over ad tracking cookies, beating the Google You Owe Us campaign in the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

The case, brought in 2017, had "no real prospect of success", the Supreme Court unanimously ruled this morning, in a devastating blow for organisations hoping it would create new law allowing them to easily launch opt-out class action lawsuits against companies who leak user data or whose data stores are broken into.

Former Which? director Richard Lloyd was the frontman of the case. He lost because his legal team filed suit against Google "without attempting to show that any wrongful use was made by Google of personal data relating to that individual or that the individual suffered any material damage or distress as a result of a breach", as the court ruled.

Continue reading

BCS – the Chartered Institute for IT – is the latest to weigh in on the Net Zero debate, with a call for better data on what is generating C02 emissions in the office, at home and in transit.

The group highlighted a survey, which showed 71 per cent of tech pros were not confident the right data was in the right hands to achieve the lofty goal of Net Zero. A similar amount (61 per cent) said IT and digital tech were not being used effectively.

"The recent UK Government Budget announced record investment in research and development," said the institute, "but there is a need for clarity on how government plans to use this to fund the software, infrastructure technology and growing the data science industry to the levels needed to understand the data."

Continue readingKeep calm and learn Rust: We'll be seeing a lot more of the language in Linux very soon It's another string to your bow

Opinion To become a Linux developer, you used to need C as your passport. Now Rust can let you be an OS programmer as well.

The joke goes: "C combines the power and performance of assembly language with the flexibility and ease-of-use of assembly language." Having programmed in both C and IBM 360 Assembler – it was a long time ago, OK – there's something to that. Because of its power, performance, and portability, C became the operating system language of choice, including, of course, Linux.

There's only one little problem with C. It's really easy to make blunders. Big, ugly ones. That's where Rust comes in.

Continue readingNASA delays crewed moon landing until 2025, citing technical infeasibility The space agency wants you to know they are still committed to the project

NASA has delayed the first Artemis crewed mission to the moon until 2025, rather than the previously planned 2024.

The goal date of 2024 was originally set by the Trump administration in 2017. The failure of that timetable is not uniquely Trumpy. George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush had done similar, with Jr stating the US must do so by 2020 and Daddy Bush giving much more vague directives.

“The Trump administration’s target of 2024 human landing was not grounded in technical feasibility,” NASA’s head honcho Bill Nelson said on a conference call during which he delivered the first major Artemis update under the Biden-Harris Administration.

Continue readingIt started at Pixar. Now it's the Apple-backed 3D file format viewed as HTML of metaverse Nvidia pushes 30-year-old description language for the internet of the future

An open-source file format adopted by Apple, and the origins of which can be traced back 30 years, is getting a fresh look as hype grows around the building of a metaverse without borders.

The Universal Scene Description, or USD, was described as the "HTML of 3D" by Richard Kerris, vice president of the Omniverse platform at Nvidia, during a press briefing ahead of its GPU Technology Conference this week.

Nvidia is backing the file format as a linchpin to build a collaborative metaverse on its Omniverse hardware and software platform, through which companies can build and render complex 3D worlds, AI models, and animated avatars.

Continue readingSamsung reveals buzzword-compliant DRAM ready for 5G, AI, edge, and metaverses Smartphone-derived LPDDR5X said to be faster and more miserly than predecessors

Samsung has revealed a new variety of DRAM, and probably won buzzword bingo for the year 2021 too.

The Korean giant has declared its new LPDDR5X DRAM is suitable for 5G, AI, edge computing, AI on the network edge, the metaverse, “and even automobiles.”

It also slices, dices, juliennes, and can fix a boat that’s been sawed in half.

Continue readingFormer Broadcom engineer accused of pinching chip tech to share with new Chinese employer We're guessing it wasn't Fiber Channel, but it would be weirdly cool if it was

A federal grand jury has charged a former Broadcom engineer with stealing trade secrets and using them while working at a new employer – a Chinese chip start-up.

The indictment against Peter Kisang Kim, a 20-year veteran of the San Jose-based semiconductor and infrastructure software product company, was unsealed yesterday.

Kim allegedly lifted the trade secrets from one of Broadcom's employee-only repositories as he prepared to leave the company in July of 2020. The stolen information included details of what the US Justice Department described as products "associated with a Broadcom family of chips often used in high-volume data centers".

Continue readingUK Treasury and Bank of England starting to sound serious about 'Britcoin' Flags any effort to create central bank digital currency as major national infrastructure project

The Bank of England and HM Treasury have announced a consultation process that will inform a decision about whether the UK should proceed to design and create a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The financial orgs created a taskforce to consider a CBDC in April 2021, and promised to "engage widely with stakeholders on the benefits, risks and practicalities" of such a move.

Wags quickly labelled the currency "Britcoin". Not much has been heard since.

Continue readingSatellite of love: Space broadband outfit Viasat acquires rival Inmarsat Promises to keep Inmarsat's commitments to build more stuff in Blighty

Satellite broadband providers Inmarsat and Viasat will combine forces.

Viasat is the acquiror and will send Inmarsat's stockholders $850 million of cash and $3.1 billion in scrip. Viasat will also take on $3.4 billion of Inmarsat's debt.

The combined company will operate 19 satellites, with another ten under construction and headed for space between now and 2024.

Continue reading

Source: https://bit.ly/3kn5RiS