The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will be hosting their final webinar on February 3, 2015 about the Community Connect Grant Program, which helps to enhance telecommunications and broadcast services in rural areas of the United States. Continue reading
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently released an updated Order on its E-Rate program, which helps schools and libraries obtain high-speed Internet access. This new Order modifies the definition of rural, so that a school or library located in an area with a population of less that 25,000 will be considered rural to ensure E-Rate funding in those much needed areas. This modification to the Order came after petitions for reconsideration and supporting comments were submitting by the Utah Education Network, the Utah Rural Telecom Association and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Continue reading
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an Order to update its rules for the Connect America Fund, requiring companies receiving Connect America funding to serve consumers with upload speeds of at least 10 Mbps and download speeds of at least 1 Mbps. This is an increase reflecting marketplace and technological changes that have occurred since the FCC set its previous requirement of 4 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload speeds in 2011. Continue reading
On the whole, Utah has great broadband coverage, especially in urban areas. While Utah’s broadband coverage in comparison to similar states is a success story, there are still a few rural areas that lag behind in speed offerings and the number of providers from which to choose. For the 2014 Native American Summit in Orem, UT, the Project’s mapping team analyzed broadband availability on tribal lands. Continue reading
Video of the Rural Broadband Workshop hosted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on March 19, 2014, is now available. The day-long workshop featured discussions on the unique challenges of broadband deployment and adoption in rural America.
In addition to broadband deployment and adoption, the workshop also included a discussion on the impact broadband has on education, healthcare and economic development. The workshop also explored different business models that have been used to deploy broadband in rural areas, including a discussion of the factors that drive investment decisions and technology choices of different types of providers in rural communities.
Utah was also featured in the discussion of what role states can have in meeting the rural broadband challenge. Ray Timothy, executive director for the Utah Education Network (UEN) was a panelist on the “State Strategies to Meet the Rural Broadband Challenge” discussion. This panel examined the important role that states can play in ensuring the availability and adoption of broadband in rural communities.
Click here to view the full video of the workshop.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be hosting a Rural Broadband Workshop on March 19, 2014. This workshop will focus on the importance of broadband in rural America and include presentations designed to discuss the impact broadband has on education, healthcare and economic development.
This workshop is especially important for Utah as the state looks to level the playing field for rural Utah businesses to drive economic growth.
Ray Timothy, executive director for the Utah Education Network (UEN) will be a panelist on the State Strategies to Meet the Rural Broadband Challenge discussion. This panel will examine the important role that states can play in ensuring the availability and adoption of broadband in rural communities.
Click here to see the full agenda.
This month’s installment in our Map of the Month series looks at the number of broadband providers capable of providing a ‘fixed’ broadband connection at a defined advertised speed threshold to residential consumers across the state.
The term ‘fixed’ broadband includes cable, DSL/copper, and fiber optic wireline-based technologies, as well as fixed wireless technologies. Basically, everything except for broadband provided directly to smart phones and other mobile devices qualifies as ‘fixed’ broadband.
All speeds are expressed in terms of maximum advertised download speed as reported to the Utah Broadband Project in Fall of 2013
Maps are available for three broadband speed levels:
- No. of Fixed Broadband Providers, Speed >= 25 Mbps (home office technical users)
- No. of Fixed Broadband Providers, Speed >= 10 Mbps (distance education/entertainment)
- No. of Fixed Broadband Providers, Speed >=3 Mbps (basic consumer service minimum)
The number of providers, especially at the higher speed tiers, is one well-recognized indication of the amount competition in the broadband services market.
The areas colored on the map represent the populated areas of Utah that broadband providers are advertising to.
- Areas shown in dark red on the maps have at least 4 qualifying providers at the map’s specified speed. These areas are greater in number at lower broadband speeds.
- Areas in yellow are served by a single provider, and are more likely to be found in rural areas where competition is less expected since the challenges of providing broadband are significantly more substantial.
More detail on provider service area, technologies and speeds for specific locations can be found by using the Project’s Interactive Map.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will begin to accept grant applications for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program. The DLT Program provides grants to help schools and health care providers invest in telecommunications facilities and equipment for the sole purpose of meeting the educational and medical needs of rural communities. Grants are competitive and range from $50,000 to $500,000. Grant applications are due August 12, 2013.
The Utah Broadband Project is committed to assisting interested providers, communities and organization in applying for the DTL program. If you are interested in applying for this USDA grant opportunity, please contact the Project at email@example.com. Below are links to several DTL resources:
USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program Fact Sheet: https://www.rurdev.usda.gov//SupportDocuments/UTP-DLT-FactSheet-2013.pdf
6/28/13 Notice of Funding Availability: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-06-28/html/2013-15597.htm
2013 Grant Application Guide: https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/utp2013DLTApp-Guide06-18-2013.pdf
Listing of Utah’s 2012 DTL Awards: https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/SupportDocuments/dltawards-ut.pdf
As was described in a recent blogpost, the USDA announced that up to $21 Million in grants will be made available to promote rural broadband access through the Community Connect Grant program. For June’s map of the month, we’ve created maps that highlight areas in Utah that potentially qualify for Community Connect funding.
These maps are based on Spring 2013 broadband coverage data submitted by Utah broadband providers. Wireline and wireless technologies are shown separately as both have a distinct set of advantages, although the CCGP may not consider these two categories of broadband service independently. Labeled place names
are offered as a guide, and are not meant to be a complete list of qualifying populated areas. Proposed areas can be sections of a greater populated area, and need to be determined using the USDA’s mapping tool. For more information on applying for Community Connect Funding, visit our blogpost, or the USDA’s news release about the Community Connect funding.
The USDA broadband speed guidelines are based on a combination of download and upload speeds, while the data these maps are based on contain separate speed values for download and upload. Also, the map data is based on reported maximum advertised speeds, which may differ from typical speeds. Due to these two factors, the mapping team estimated areas that might qualify for Community Connect Funding using two levels of certainty, which are defined below.
‘Unserved by USDA Broadband Speed’: Areas reported by broadband providers with maximum advertised download speeds of 0.7 – 1.5 Mbps or less.
‘Likely unserved at USDA Broadband Speed’: Areas reported by broadband providers with maximum advertised download speeds of 1.5 – 3 Mbps.
Areas that are a darker gray have been reported by providers as having maximum advertised download speeds of 3 Mbps, or above. Areas that have no data are a very light gray. Any questions can be directed to Jessie Pechmann.
The Utah Broadband Project is available to support stakeholders in Utah that are applying for Community Connect funding. Applicants are invited to contact the Project via email for technical support with mapping or statistics related to the Community Connect funding funding opportunity.