Tag Archives: NTIA

R&E networks could help better identify national broadband gaps

Consumer sourcing and leveraging R&E networks to become Collaborative Networked Organizations, or CNOs, to manage the collection of broadband availability data could improve the quality and accuracy of the information, according to comments submitted to the NTIA this summer.

NTIA, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce, requested comments on actions to improve broadband availability data, particularly in rural areas, as part of the national activities directed by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. Comments were due on July 16, 2018.

In total, 52 individuals and organizations submitted official comments this summer. The Quilt had the pleasure to work our member Merit, Michigan’s R&E network, and the Quello Center at Michigan State University, to craft a joint comment on how to enhance indicators of broadband access.

Much of America has enjoyed the benefits of broadband for years, but there are still areas of the country that don’t have the level of connectivity needed to keep up with modern society. According to the FCC, more than 30 percent of rural Americans currently live in areas that lack availability of broadband, which since early 2015 has been defined by the FCC as 25 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up.

Through this request, the NTIA seeks input from a broad range of stakeholders on ways to improve the nation’s ability to analyze broadband availability, with the intention of identifying gaps in broadband availability that can be used to improve policymaking and inform public investments.

In May, David J. Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator, said the NTIA knows these gaps exist, but what isn’t known is precisely which areas of the country have insufficient broadband capacity. Added Redl, “that makes it difficult to ensure that public investments in infrastructure are efficient and effective.”

According to Bill Dutton, Director of the Quello Center, the comments provided on behalf of Merit and Quello offer an innovative approach to consumer sourcing of broadband availability data that builds off the FCC’s initiatives with crowd sourcing. It also leverages the strategic advantages of Merit, and the possibility of extending to other R&E networks that are members and affiliates of The Quilt.

“If successful, this approach has the potential to be scaled nationally,” Dutton explained in his blog. “The comment provides an overview of current approaches, the potential of consumer-sourced data, and an outline of their approach.”

NTIA seeks input on new Community Connectivity Initiative

The National Telecommunications and Information Initiative (NTIA) will be hosting a nine-part webinar series in an effort to grow the Community Connectivity Initiative.

The webinars, taking place on the second Thursday of each month starting in July through March 2017, will support accelerated broadband access, improve digital inclusion, strengthen policies and support local priorities. These hands-on and interactive sessions will allow stakeholders the chance to have a say in the future growth of the initiative while identifying tools that could benefit communities in the present and future.

The planned discussion topics are as follows:

  • July 14: Initiative update and framework and assessment design discussion
  • Aug. 11: Initiative update and discussion of the report and recommended output
  • Sept. 8: Initiative update and recommendations discussion
  • Oct. 13: Initiative update and discussion on user support requirements
  • Nov. 10: Initiative update and evaluation discussion
  • Dec. 8: Initiative update and discussion of training requirements
  • Jan. 12: Initiative update and discussion of roll-out timeline
  • Feb. 9: Initiative update and communication discussion
  • March 9: Initiative update and next steps discussion

Admission is open to the public, although it is requested that participants pre-register for each webinar. Questions during the webinar may be sent to BroadbandUSA@ntia.doc.gov.  For more information about the webinars, how to register and the webinar topics, visit the Federal Registrar.

Additionally, NTIA has invited several thought leaders to Washington D.C. for a two-day design workshop to help complete the next level of detailed design for the Community Connectivity Framework, Online Assessment Tool, and Reports.

This event is invitation only and is scheduled for June 28-29.

The NTIA’s BroadbandUSA team is developing new tools to support communities working to accelerate broadband deployment, deepen broadband adoption, strengthen local policies, and use broadband to advance local priorities. The Community Connectivity Initiative design is based on the best practices and best thinking of leading practitioners in communities throughout the country. The program structure encourages continuous improvement, inviting community leaders to take stock of their current broadband assets, access, and applications, identify opportunities and next steps, and re-assess later. The goal is to support more communities as they develop local plans to increase access, adoption and use and to use common measures rooted in local practice to create a foundation for further investments in broadband.

For more about the initiative, visit http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/CCI

Spotlight: Examine new Broadband Opportunity Council Report at FMM15

We’re getting excited for our 2015 Fall Member Meeting is next week.

At the invitation of Quilt member LEARN (Lonestar Education and Research Network), The Quilt will be holding its Fall Member Meeting on Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin, Texas. This year’s Fall Member Meeting also coincides with the National Science Foundation Campus Cyberinfrastructure PI Workshop and the ESnet Site Coordinators Committee (ESCC).

This will be one Texas-sized meeting with the best networking minds in the country gathered all in one place for some exciting discussions on how R&E networks are uniquely positioned to meet today’s infrastructure challenges.

Over the last couple of weeks we have previewed some items on the agenda.  Please see previous posts including features on Pacific Research Platform and the Science DMZ and Campus Cyberinfrastructure in Texas as well as Regional Networks & Support for Research, OneOklahoma Cyberinfrastructure.

Today’s post highlights two engaging discussion on Thursday.

LauraSpiningLaura Spining of the NTIA will present Thursday morning on the new Broadband Opportunity Council Report, which describes steps that 25 federal agencies will take over the next 18 months to eliminate barriers and promote broadband investment and adoption.

Over the past six years, the United States has expanded broadband access, bringing millions of people online and creating significant new economic, educational and social opportunities. Investments from the federal government have helped deploy or upgrade more than 110,000 miles of network infrastructure, and more than 45 million additional Americans have adopted broadband Internet. And as a country we’ve made high-speed wireless coverage available to 98 percent of Americans.

The council made four broad recommendations in the report:

  1. Modernize Federal programs to expand program support for broadband investments.
  2. Empower communities with tools and resources to attract broadband investment and promote meaningful use.
  3. Promote increased broadband deployment and competition through expanded access to Federal assets.
  4. Improve data collection, analysis and research on broadband.

Laura Spining also will moderate a Quilt Member Panel Discussion on Regional Networks and Community Broadband – What is the Next Frontier? This panel will focus on the regional networks’ roles in working with communities and municipalities to increase the availability of broadband; strategies for convening and connecting community area networks; and the role of regional networking organizations in local and state economic development efforts.

The panel includes Jean Davis of MCNC, John Gillispie of MOREnet, Scott Taylor of CEN and Jack Smith of WVNET.

Thanks again to LEARN for hosting this year’s meeting.

You can follow the conversation throughout the meeting using #FMM15 or @TweettheQuilt.

We look forward to seeing you Austin!

Obama forms new Broadband Opportunity Council

President Obama on Monday signed a Presidential Memorandum formally creating a Broadband Opportunity Council, to be co-chaired by representatives from the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Broadband Opportunity Council includes 25 federal agencies and departments that will engage with industry and other stakeholders to understand ways the government can better support the needs of communities seeking broadband investment. It also will help identify regulatory barriers impeding broadband deployment or competition, and take steps to remove such barriers.

Secretary Vilsack will represent the USDA. Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling has been appointed by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to serve as Commerce’s representative on the council.

The NTIA has been a major force in helping to bring broadband to areas of the country where service was either limited or non-existent through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, funded initially by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and now through the new BroadandUSA initiative.

“At NTIA, we have seen firsthand how essential broadband is to schools, public safety, health care, businesses and most other sectors of society,” said Strickling. “The interagency effort the council is undertaking will help marshal the resources of multiple federal agencies to promote opportunities to advance broadband deployment and adoption across the country.”

The council will report back to the president within 150 days with the steps each agency will take to advance these aforementioned goals, including specific regulatory actions or budget proposals.

Resource: White House Fact Sheet (Next Steps in Delivering Fast, Affordable Broadband)

In January, the president traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa to announce his plan to promote “Broadband that Works,” a public-private effort to help more Americans, in more communities around the country, get access to fast and affordable broadband. Making good on the vision outlined in his State of the Union Address means promoting investment and rewarding competition while trying to reaching the national goal of providing 98 percent of Americans with access to high-Speed, mobile Broadband.

To carry forward the momentum, help communities leaders learn from one another, and report out the progress of recent broadband initiatives, the White House will in June host the Community Broadband Summit. Details will follow soon at WhiteHouse.gov.