Georgia Bills Allow Electric or Telephone Cooperatives to Provide Broadband
The first bill allows for electric cooperatives to provide broadband and the second bill allows for telephone cooperatives to do the same. Both bills allow for financing and certain partnerships for the provision of broadband services. Both laws became effective upon approval by the Governor, which was April 26, 2019.
The Regulatory Mix Today: Georgia Enacts Two Bills Allowing Electric or Telephone Cooperatives to Provide Broadband, FCC Report on Promoting Broadband Internet Access Service for Veterans, FCC Rural Broadband Funding
FCC Report on Promoting Broadband Internet Access Service for Veterans
The FCC released its first report examining the current state of broadband access and adoption by veterans, particularly by low-income veterans and veterans residing in rural areas. The report was required by legislative changes adopted in 2018. The Report finds that while many veterans have access to both fixed and mobile broadband options, a significant number still lack access to fixed broadband, mobile broadband, or both. Specifically:
- For 92.5% of veterans at least one provider of 25 Mbps/3 Mbps fixed broadband services is available, while only 78.4% of veterans have 10 Mbps/3Mbps mobile LTE broadband coverage.
- Among households with veterans, approximately 85%, or 14.4 million, reported that they had paid connections to the Internet in their homes. However, households with veterans subscribe to mobile broadband services at lower rates than households without veterans.
- For those veterans who lack a broadband connection, barriers to broadband adoption may include lack of deployment where they live, price, and digital illiteracy or perceived irrelevance.
FCC Rural Broadband Funding
The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau extended offers of broadband subsidies to 516 rural “rate-of-return” companies in 46 states that are still receiving legacy support to fund the deployment of voice and broadband-capable networks in their service territories. In return, these carriers would be required to deploy broadband on a defined schedule over the next decade at speeds of at least 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload to homes and businesses fully funded by the model. If all carriers opt in to the offer, they will be required to deploy 25/3 Mbps broadband to at least 1,126,082 homes and businesses. Carriers have until June 17, 2019 to indicate, on a state-by-state basis, whether they elect to receive model-based support.
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.