"In accordance with Session Law 2015-241, I am proud to offer this plan as the state’s guiding document on the policies and actions necessary to increase North Carolinians’ access to affordable high-speed internet. A collaborative effort, the plan uses feedback gathered from more than a dozen stakeholder listening sessions, discussions with nearly 80 subject matter experts, and a survey of 3500 local leaders." - Keith Werner, State Chief Information Officer
Read the plan at the link below
CONNECTING NORTH CAROLINA
State Broadband Plan
In his CIO Consumer Tech Radar posting, Why AT&T's Attempt To Kill Municipal Broadband In Tenn. Matters To All Americans, columnist Bill Snyder explains how an AT&T win, in the municipal broadband fight in Tennessee, will impact communities across the U.S. Read Article at cio.com
Tech Times is reporting that Google is partnering with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to supply free fiber service to select communities. Read the full article at techtimes.com
Mulitchannel News has posted an article on the formation of the new Congressional Rural Broadband Caucus. Per the article, "This caucus will bring greater attention to the need for high-speed broadband in rural America, and help to encourage and spur innovative solutions to address this growing consumer demand.” Read the full article at multichannel.com
Bristol Virginia Utilities Authority has approved the $50 mil. sale of their Broadband Network, Optinet, to Sunset Digital Communications. Read about the sale on wjhl.com
"More than 50 U.S. consumer and privacy organizations...have co-signed a letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler calling for “strong rules” to protect the privacy of broadband users by reining in ISPs’ and telcos’ ability to harvest user data without explicit consent." Read Natasha Lomas' of TechCrunch.com article here.
....thousands of rural residents in Southeast Tennessee who live near Chattanooga's fastest-in-the-nation Internet service offered by EPB but are still waiting for even basic broadband connections..."
story by Dave Flessner
READ FULL STORY AT timesfreepress.com
The FCC will now require companies receiving Connect America funding for fixed broadband to serve consumers with speeds of at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads. That is an increase reflecting marketplace and technological changes that have occurred since the FCC set its previous requirement of 4 Mbps/1 Mbps speeds in 2011. According to recent data, 99% of Americans living in urban areas have access to fixed broadband speeds of 10/1, which can accommodate more modern applications and uses. Moreover, the vast majority of urban households are able to subscribe to even faster service.
Congress directed the FCC to make available in rural areas communications services that are reasonably comparable to those in urban areas. Increasing the Connect America speed requirement means that rural Americans, like urban Americans, can tap the benefits provided by broadband through faster web downloads, improved video streaming, and service capable of supporting multiple users in a household. In 2011, the FCC reformed its universal service program for rural telephone service so it can more effectively support networks delivering both broadband and voice. With the adoption of today’s Order, the FCC is prepared to make offers of support totaling up to nearly $1.8 billion annually to a class of larger carriers known as price cap carriers in early 2015, which will potentially expand service to over 5 million rural Americans.
The Order makes a number of adjustments to the 2011 reforms to accommodate the higher speed requirement and better target Connect America funds to efficiently expand broadband into rural areas that would not otherwise be served. These changes include:
• Increasing the terms of support for price cap carriers from five years to six years, with an option for a seventh year in certain circumstances.
• Providing increased flexibility in the build-out requirement, while still ensuring that support recipients are reaching out to Americans that were previously unserved.
• Forbearing from certain universal service obligations in low-cost census blocks where price cap carriers are not eligible to receive Connect America support, as well as census blocks where the carriers face competition.
• Requiring recipients that decline Connect America support in a state to continue to deliver voice service to high-cost census blocks until replaced through a competitive bidding process by another subsidized carrier that is required to deliver voice and 10/1 broadband.
The Order also makes changes that will distribute traditional universal service support for small carriers more equitably and curb waste. Finally, the Order helps ensure that carriers adhere to voice and broadband service obligations by setting clear consequences for failing to meet these standards.
More information about the Connect American Fund available at: http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/connecting-america
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