Archive for January 2010

RUS Prepares to Fund Satellite Projects

The RUS has decided that, in round 2, there will be a specific and clearly defined role for satellite internet service providers.

Satellite service grants will be accepted for specific areas (the map showing those areas has not yet been published).

Satellite service is designed for those areas where wireline and wireless won’t work, where either would cost over $10,000 per home connected.

Continue reading ‘RUS Prepares to Fund Satellite Projects’ »

RUS is More Flexible in Round Two

More areas will be eligible for stimulus grants, as the RUS addresses a complaint made by several people including the influential Rick Boucher (D-VA).

The definition of broadband is 768 / 200 Kbps but there is also a definition of high speed, which is 5 Mbps symmetrical. Any area without high speed service can be underserved, which opens up a large portion of the country to grants. “RUS has determined that rural areas without service at 5 Mbps (upstream and downstream combined) lack high speed broadband service sufficient to facilitate rural economic development as required by the Recovery Act,” the notice said.

Furthermore, the language that Boucher complained about, which said that underserved areas had to be a certain number of miles from an urban area, is also not present.

Instead, the RUS now defines a rural area as “any area, as confirmed by the latest decennial census of the Bureau of the Census, which is not located within: (1) a city, town, or incorporated area that has a population of greater than 20,000 inhabitants; or (2) an urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to a city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants. For purposes of the definition of rural area, an urbanized area means a densely populated territory as defined in the latest decennial census of the Bureau of the Census.”

Continue reading ‘RUS is More Flexible in Round Two’ »

Broadband Stimulus Round Two Starts This Week

Round two of the broadband stimulus was announced on Friday and will be written into the Federal Register this week. The Federal Register will be the official notice, if there are any discrepancies between what was published on Friday on the Broadband USA website and what will be published this week.

Applications are accepted from February 16, 2010 through March 15, 2010.

Round two will have only one step (not two), which sounds great, but it means that the environmental portion of the application that was not due with the initial application in round one will be due at the deadline this time.

The two organizations (the NTIA of the Commerce Department and the RUS of the Department of Agriculture) are dividing up the tasks — RUS will handle last mile applications and NTIA will handle middle mile applications.

MagicJack Terminal Failure

MagicJack support failed. Here is a chat log representing three hours of script. The real problem is that the latest software update caused terminal problems. Don’t buy MagicJack.

Tech support is useless.

MagicJack Keeps Improving

When I last wrote about MagicJack, I was very upset with the service. It was not working.

Imagine my surprise — and pleasure — when MagicJack called me to discuss the problem. After some back and forth, the MagicJack representative recommend that I purchase a powered USB hub. Continue reading ‘MagicJack Keeps Improving’ »

The FCC is Naive

I edited this screed by Bruce Kushnick: The History, Financial Commitments and Outcomes of Fiber Optic Broadband Deployment in America: 1990-2004. In it, Kushnick details all of the promises the phone companies made to state and federal governments and regulators — and then broke.