Broadband access in underserved or unserved communities is one of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s major priorities. This week he gave a preview of an FCC action in the works to add $500 million in funding to rural broadband initiatives (not much in the way of additional details yet). He praised the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee that the FCC set up a year ago for its advice on the topic, which was meant to provide insights on how to “promote digital opportunity” including broadband deployment.
Closing the #digitaldivide is the @FCC's top priority. Grateful to members of Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee for their hard work in coming up with recommendations for ways to promote digital opportunity! My remarks this morning: https://t.co/skp3ssTkEG #BDAC pic.twitter.com/bHNZwqTNCP
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPai) January 23, 2018
However, one member of the BDAC, Mayor sam Liccardo of San Jose, Calif., quit this week in protest, saying that the committee’s industry members far outnumbered municipal stakeholders and were categorically against muni broadband.
— The Verge (@verge) January 25, 2018
When I joined the @FCC Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, I hoped to help develop balanced recs to expand broadband access for all Americans. It has become abundantly clear that this body will simply serve to further telecom industry interests. https://t.co/O3ltGWOAym
— Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) January 25, 2018
Also of note for continued broadband deployment, the FCC has an open meeting next week at which it will finalize the rules for the Connect America Fund Phase II bidding for nearly $2 billion over 10 years to encourage voice and broadband deployment in high-cost, unserved areas.
On the industry side, Comcast this week laid out continuing broadband investment plans, as noted by mobile analyst Bill Ho:
Isn't this why service providers spend Capex? I like that #Comcast is putting it out there. Haven't seen it blatantly stated by other service providers' earnings slide decks. $VZ $T $TMUS $S pic.twitter.com/PUvjpG4UtG
— 🅱🅸🅻🅻 🅷🅾 (@billho888) January 24, 2018
Meanwhile in wireless network infrastructure, there were some interesting observations from Ken Schmidt over at Steel in the Air on a new tower design proposal — notably, labeled as “3G/4G” rather than 5G — coming from Sprint. Check out the entire thread, in which Schmidt — who’s the president of Steel in the Air, which specializes in tower leasing — notes the additional weight of the design as well as the fact that “despite Sprint’s claims to have mobile #5G by late 2019, they aren’t installing it yet although it is possible that the equipment can be software upgraded to 5G.”
One of our #TowerOwner clients received an application for new modifications from $S on a previous Clearwire site. The equipment is substantially heavier than the previous equipment and requires a new mount.
More details in comments bellow ⬇ pic.twitter.com/Z6FLw0TK1y
— Ken Schmidt (@steelintheair) January 26, 2018
…Although it doesn’t look like it, the #antennas are much wider as well. This is a substantial upgrade and one the client will be charging extra for. Interestingly, the project description is labeled #3G/#4G.
Keep reading ⬇#telecom #wireless
— Ken Schmidt (@steelintheair) January 26, 2018
If it’s carrier earnings time, you can count on Verizon and/or AT&T snark from T-Mobile US CEO John Legere:
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) January 23, 2018
Apple is moving to make medical records available to people on their smartphones:
Apple wants to be your Health Records hub. https://t.co/lGz6b6Hwi3
— CNET News (@CNETNews) January 26, 2018
Apple unveiled a new feature that would allow users to automatically download and see parts of their medical records on their iPhones. https://t.co/Q1Zyq9ros2
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) January 25, 2018
#EmpowerHIT Takeaway 8: Apple bringing medical records to the iPhone appears to be a pivotal moment
— Tom Sullivan (@SullyHIT) January 25, 2018
— USA TODAY Tech (@usatodaytech) January 26, 2018
Speaking of tech and health, I am both fascinated and weirded out by the teensy robot that, someday, could be put inside humans for medical uses, potentially delivering medications. You can watch it bop around below. Its lead researcher told The New York Times that the robot’s movements were inspired by “how you can combine the caterpillars, jellyfish and all these different, small, soft organisms into one relatively minimalist robot that can achieve all different types of motion to navigate in complex environments.”
— NYT Science (@NYTScience) January 26, 2018
And I’m just going to leave this here.
KFC’s new fried chicken box transforms into a drone. Really. pic.twitter.com/PMCBxF36ce
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 24, 2018