U.S. subscribers using Space X’s Starlink non-geostationary satellite broadband service experienced median download speeds between 40 and 93 Mbps in the first quarter of 2021, according to tests conducted using Ookla’s speed test technology. Median latency for the service varied from 31 ms to 88 ms. The findings suggest that unless something changes, Starlink could have trouble meeting its service performance commitments in the FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) program. The FCC tentatively awarded SpaceX nearly a billion dollars to cover some of the costs of providing above-baseline, low-latency service to 642,000 unserved locations in 35 states.
LOGAN — Hocking County’s state representative is working to make a campaign dream a reality: Expanding broadband internet access. Ohio House Bill 2 builds incentive for private internet providers to provide internet in residential, unserved areas. The bill creates the Ohio Residential Broadband Expansion Grant Program; it also creates a five-person board called the Broadband Expansion Program Authority that will oversee grant distribution.
LOWELL – Looming over unplowed back roads still-glistening with snow, a 200-foot beacon of high-speed internet stands tall in Washington County. Nearly 120 miles southeast of Columbus, Brad Spray glances up at his handiwork. The cellphone tower, which has beamed reception to Verizon Wireless and AT&T users across the county, thanks to Spray and the Southeast Ohio Broadband Cooperative, will expand wireless internet service to hundreds of residents in Lowell, a village 10 miles north of Marietta.
Charter offered some details today about its $1.2 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) win. Perhaps the most interesting detail is that Charter plans to spend $5 billion in total on the RDOF rural broadband buildout, which means the company will be investing $3.8 billion of its own money on RDOF projects. It’s interesting news because it sheds light on what it took for any bidder to win in the RDOF auction, which awarded funding to bring broadband to unserved rural areas to the lowest bidder, with a weighting system designed to favor bids to deliver higher-speed, lower-latency service.
AMESVILLE — Heather Mitchell is overwhelmed. The single mom of three boys struggles just to send a text message. She and her sons — Micah, 6, River, 4, and Wren, 2 — have been living without consistent internet access in Athens County for nearly eight years. The family moved to Amesville, a village about 80 miles southeast of Columbus and 13 miles northeast of Athens, about a year and a half ago.
The broadband access gap is no new issue. In fact, research has proven the issue may be worse than what current federal data suggests. Research from both Microsoft and Pew Research indicates that the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has vastly overestimated how many Americans have access to broadband. While FCC data suggests that 25 million Americans lack access to a broadband connection, Microsoft found that 162.8 million people do not use internet at broadband speeds.