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2021

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FCC on Chinese Telecom Ban, NTIA Map ‘Limited,’ New Proposal to Close the Digital Divide

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June 21, 2021—The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to advance the proposed ban on several Chinese telecom companies.

June 21, 2021—The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to advance the proposed ban on several Chinese telecom companies.

The ban would prevent the companies from having their equipment deployed in US telecom networks. It applies to all future operations, as well as revokes any prior FCC approvals on these companies.

Acting chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel of the FCC says the ban would also include $1.9 billion of appropriations to replace and update equipment currently using technology from the banned companies.

According to FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, Huawei, one of the banned companies, has received more than 3,000 approvals since 2018. The proposed ban would not only bar all future approvals for the company, but revoke all approvals issued previously.

The NTIA’s new broadband service map has ‘real but limited value’

In a blog post, editor of the HighTech Forum, Richard Bennett, said that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s new broadband map has “real but limited value.”

The NTIA says the digital map displayed “key indicators of broadband needs across the country.” They say it is the first map of its kind and allows users to explore datasets about where people do and do not have access to quality broadband services.

Bennett says that the map offers no information that isn’t already available elsewhere, because the datasets it uses have already been published. He also says that the data it uses ranges in quality from out of date, to outright “bad data.”

He notes that the out-of-date reports will be updated in September, but that the NTIA felt it pertinent to release the map while the debate around broadband infrastructure and President Joe Biden’s plan was still hot.

He believes that the data offered by M-Lab, a company that collects data on internet performance, is faulty, and he doesn’t trust the data provided by Microsoft as Microsoft doesn’t disclose their collection techniques. He says that while the map may have limited value in centralizing the data, he fears that the bad data presented in certain cases will only lead to further discord and confusion around the digital divide debate.

 

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