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Cali and Virginia go big on Broadband.. and let’s collect those bills

There’s a lot of news in the broadband space to catch up on.

Quoting Ars Technica: The California legislature unanimously approved a plan to build a statewide, open-access fiber network yesterday. The legislation was supported by Democrats and Republicans in votes of 78-0 in the California Assembly and 39-0 in the state Senate.

The statewide, open-access fiber lines will function as a “middle-mile” network that carries data from Internet backbone networks to connection points in cities and rural areas. A middle-mile network doesn’t extend all the way to residential properties, but “last-mile” ISPs can get access to it and focus on building infrastructure that connects the middle mile to homes.

And in Virginia, the governor announced that the state plans to invest $700 million in American Rescue Plan funding to reach universal connectivity by 2024 – and Sen Mark Warner was quoted saying this would be more than the 25 down 3 up standard issued by the FCC.

And Consumer Reports is launching a project with the Verge to collect and analyze pricing trends.     They’re collecting customers bills – and want to capture the price and speed of service across the US… and make a case for government intervention for consumers who are really stuck.   

All the while, we have some data on 5G now.    OpenSignal released their 5G user experience.    How fast is 5G?  T-Mobile leds with an average download of 87.5 MBps, beating AT&T and Verizon’s 42.3 MBps.    T-Mo is also leading on availability and reach, and only somewhat leading on upload speeds.    

Why do we care?

Those speeds are SO not what I was promised.  I wanted my flying car.    If the information superhighway metaphor taught us anything, it’s that access to the roads will drive transport, and the pandemic sure reinforced that.

Will there be a have and have-not gap for states? There already is – and likely to get worse.     My take – the carriers are failing consumers, and they are failing small businesses.    The more this gets addressed, the larger the market for providers to deliver solutions, and drive cloud solutions further.       Want to help?  Get those bills in to the project.   And get your representative to support broadband.      Or, be left behind.