From Staff and Wire Reports

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Here is a roundup of broadband and telecommunications stories making headlines this week including Point Topic’s new report on broadband competition, lively discussions on the Community Broadband Act proposal and net neutrality, the FCC’s rural broadband experiments, and how telemedicine needs big bandwidth.

Competition in the USA – what could happen?

Point Topic, a United Kingdom research firm which gathers worldwide data on broadband prices, said if the broadband market in the United States were truly competitive, its internet service providers would lose $2 billion in subscriber revenues each month. The U.S. is not the most competitive or even the biggest in purchasing power terms – China now has that distinction. As a result, the capital of digital technology and home of the world’s internet giants has broadband take-up well below countries with a much lower income per head, such as the UK or Taiwan. And when competition does start to intensify, as it surely must as the new report states, the great ISPs of the USA are heading for a shock.

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What impact will Community Broadband Act have?

New federal legislation on municipal broadband service proposes that local governments be able to create or expand their own high-speed networks. S. 240, the Community Broadband Act, introduced last month by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, gives cities and counties the right to become internet service providers or build out existing services in their regions. And while partisan politics may doom the measure, advocates for local control believe the effort is already a victory because of the publicity the issue has received.

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: This is how we will ensure net neutrality

After more than a decade of debate and record-setting proceedings that attracted nearly 4 million public comments, the time to settle the net neutrality question has arrived. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler penned a recent op-ed saying, “I am proposing that the FCC use its Title II authority to implement and enforce open internet protections. Using this authority, I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC.”

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FCC notice for bidders on rural broadband experiments

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau has announced the entities that successfully submitted the required financial and technical information for bids in the rural broadband experiments by the FCC’s Jan. 6 deadline. This does not determine which entities ultimately may be provisionally selected as next-in-line bidders; it simply lists the entities that submitted the required information and indicated their interest in remaining under consideration by the deadline.

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Telemedicine needs big bandwidth

Telemedicine has a huge potential for diagnosing and treating rural patients. It is already being used worldwide to bring modern health care into remote communities. But, many places in our own country can’t have this great technology due to the lack of broadband infrastructure. The federal government is a big believer in telemedicine, and there are several branches of the government that have been vigorously pursuing it as a way to better treat patients.

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