[CalFiber] Letter to Biden FCC Transition team on abolishing digital redlining - deadline COB Nov 23rd

Dane Jasper dane.jasper at sonic.com
Wed Nov 18 21:37:46 PST 2020

So would a Cable company have to upgrade to DOCSIS 4.0 in all areas if they
did so in one? On what time-line? The devil's in the details - I'm sure
they want to upgrade everywhere, eventually. But what about plant which
cannot support it - there may be reasonable technical arguments that some
areas can be easily upgraded while others cannot.

Regarding the incumbent telco, they've got conduit in most places, but
direct buried cable in others. And conduits may be full, poles overloaded,
etc. Just don't see how you mandate deployment or uniform upgrades, unless
you are in a regulated, rate-of-return monopoly environment, the way that
electricity is today, or telecom used to be.

I'm all for building to everyone - and for example, today we are building
out fiber to the home in Oakland, and we are building "the flats" right
now, while the Oakland hills (which are higher income) are planned for a
subsequent project, timeframe TBD. Call it reverse-redlining, but really
it's driven by the complexity and cost of the project in the hills: winding
streets, more issues with poles, lower density, etc. We build where it is
most feasible, and turns out that's higher density and lower income in many


On Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 4:22 PM Ernesto Falcon <ernesto at eff.org> wrote:

> I think it would be straightforward to differentiate between CLECs and
> ILECs here simply on the premise that ILECs already have the connections
> throughout the community built from their legacy deployment and are
> undergoing a transition with pre-existing rights of way whereas CLECs are
> entering and expanding as fiber on the front end. If the day came and Sonic
> covered all of SF, then future upgrades would have to be equal throughout
> the network just like it would be for the ILEC, but we're not there yet.
> Worth flagging that California state law already has a prohibition on
> discrimination based on socio-economic status now for broadband, which is
> why the CPUC is asking its questions on redlining.
> The federal law prohibits unreasonable discrimination, not *reasonable*
> discrimination. That is why you have net neutrality but also reasonable
> network management exceptions. So you couldn't do this kind of mandate for
> rural areas because the private entity has a fairly straightforward
> argument as to why they can't upgrade without some sort of government
> support. I also think real barriers in local areas you listed out would be
> legitimate arguments as well to read in favor of the provider, but I think
> that applies to new entrants, not established incumbents. I do not think
> the ILECs have a reasonable discrimination argument for not upgrading their
> entire copper footprint to fiber in densely populated cities given that
> they already have the rights of way that overcome the barriers you listed.
> On top of that, AT&T heading towards cutting off the copper line in its
> entirety without replacing it with fiber has to be confronted with
> regulation given that the copper retirement offering clearly didn't work.
> To your question about cable, no this wouldn't compel them to deploy fiber
> to the home. But an upgrade to the cable network would have to be done on a
> non-discriminatory basis throughout the footprint within a reasonable
> period of time under an anti-redlining provision. And that is the issue
> here, redlining. They have pre-existing connections to these communities
> that they are intentionally neglecting with the transition while
> high-income users in those same cities are getting fiber, and that just
> should not be allowed to continue/will take a lot of regulatory work to
> confront and stop.
> On 11/17/2020 3:51 PM, Dane Jasper wrote:
> Certainly understand the goals of full deployment, and our own analysis of
> the 477 info supports the fact that more fiber is deployed in areas with
> higher incomes.
> Universal service was a concept when cable companies were granted monopoly
> franchises for television services. They'd generally be required to provide
> service throughout a city, with some carve-outs for things like long
> private property driveways that they were allowed to charge more for - but
> they couldn't skip sections of town and basically had to go down every
> road. But of course, that was before the internet disrupted cable
> television, and a monopoly franchise meant something.
> But I don't understand how you could compel a carrier today, even an
> incumbent, to deploy or upgrade their infrastructure universally. And would
> you compel both the cable company and the incumbent telephone carrier both
> to deploy fiber to every home premise? What about CLEC overbuilders like
> Sonic? We build where we can, but without pre-existing conduit in place,
> and with overloaded poles and varying city limitations on underground
> construction, we end up with gaps in our coverage.
> -Dane
> On Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 2:39 PM Ernesto Falcon <ernesto at eff.org> wrote:
>> This is just one of many pieces. I agree this approach in isolation alone
>> would not be enough but I would emphasize that this is what common carriage
>> already requires in law today under Title II. The FCC has a job to enforce.
>> This is also limited to what the FCC can do with its authority without a
>> new law. For example, the FCC can't free up the local govs from the state
>> restraints under Title II, which is why the Clyburn bill has those
>> provisions unless those states change their laws. It can free up federally
>> funded fiber under E-Rate early next year that will help with public
>> infrastructure, but that's a small lift politically for the Biden FCC. And
>> most of the money the FCC has available is obligated now under RDOF for
>> years on out, so absent a new infusion of funds, there isn't more money
>> coming from the FCC without Congress.
>> This is also specifically focused on densely populated cities and not a
>> rural solution and focused on what can be done by regulation without money.
>> Also nothing will be done that won't face litigation challenge by the ISPs,
>> but if you start on year 1 you can get to resolution by year 2 to begin to
>> enforce.
>> On 11/17/20 2:18 PM, Christopher Mitchell wrote:
>> I respect the people who may support this, but not only would I not sign
>> this letter, I actively oppose it. I do not think it is in anyone's
>> interest to force AT&T to invest more in low-income communities. AT&T will
>> never do a good job of meeting those needs and I think work focused on how
>> to pass laws that would force AT&T et al to do that would be wasted. We
>> need to focus on better approaches to ensuring everyone can access the
>> Internet, as I outlined here:
>> https://nonprofitquarterly.org/a-signal-failure-education-broadband-and-our-childrens-future/
>> If you use the force of law to compel AT&T to invest in these areas, you
>> will make it less likely and more difficult for ISPs and business models
>> that will do a much better job of meeting those needs in the short and long
>> term. I do not think there is a short term argument in favor of forcing
>> AT&T to invest in certain areas as it will be years of court battles that
>> would have to be won prior to AT&T changing any investment plans.
>> In disagreement, but solidarity,
>> Christopher Mitchell
>> Director, Community Broadband Networks
>> Institute for Local Self-Reliance
>> MuniNetworks.org <http://www.muninetworks.org/>
>> @communitynets
>> 612-545-5185
>> On Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 2:25 PM Ernesto Falcon <ernesto at eff.org> wrote:
>>> Hey folks,
>>> The time to weigh in with the incoming Biden Administration on goals for
>>> the first year is *now*. Decisions about staffing federal agencies and
>>> setting their priorities are happening as we speak so that come January
>>> they can hit the ground running. Not a lot has been submitted to the
>>> transition team about what the FCC should do so I worked with some folks to
>>> come up with this letter that I present to you for your consideration.
>>> The letter asks that the new Biden Administration appoint FCC
>>> Chair/Commissioners that will lead the agency to abolish digital redlining
>>> that is happening in our cities in year 1 and mandate the incumbents like
>>> AT&T to deploy fiber to the low-income people they have left behind with
>>> the goal of full deployment by the end of the first term. This would be
>>> done after reclassification of broadband as a Title II service by relying
>>> on the anti-discrimination authority the FCC has under Title II to address
>>> socio-economic discrimination in areas that are economic to fully serve.
>>> It is just a fact that the large ISPs have refused to do so because they
>>> do not want to serve low income people for lower profits. Full deployment
>>> of fiber in densely populated cities is 100% profitable for the major ISPs
>>> like AT&T, but because we don't have an affirmative anti-redlining
>>> regulation on fiber, they are collecting profits that stem from
>>> discrimination with a disproportionate impact on people of color. This will
>>> carry serious ramifications going forward as those older slower networks
>>> will become more expensive to maintain, more expensive to subsidize access,
>>> and receive less and less investment by the incumbents who are purposefully
>>> letting them fall apart.
>>> The new FCC can and should stop that from continuing forward after it
>>> reclassifies broadband as a Title II service.
>>> *If you wish to sign on to the attached letter, please click the link
>>> below. Deadline to sign on is November COB 23rd (Monday).*
>>> https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd3zD7OT-oCpk8m0azJlbkIYxouSJTZZPFZIa32KfwvWhLEqA/viewform?usp=sf_link
>>> --
>>> Ernesto Omar Falcon
>>> Senior Legislative Counsel
>>> Electronic Frontier Foundation
>>> Office: 415 436 9333 ext. 182
>>> Cell: 202 716 0770
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> CalFiber mailing list
>>> CalFiber at lists.eff.org
>>> https://lists.eff.org/mailman/listinfo/calfiber
>> --
>> Ernesto Omar Falcon
>> Senior Legislative Counsel
>> Electronic Frontier Foundation
>> Office: 415 436 9333 ext. 182
>> Cell: 202 716 0770
>> Help EFF Defend Freedom in the Digital Worldhttps://www.eff.org/donate
>> _______________________________________________
>> CalFiber mailing list
>> CalFiber at lists.eff.org
>> https://lists.eff.org/mailman/listinfo/calfiber
> --
> Dane Jasper
> 707-237-6205
> dane.jasper at sonic.com
> --
> Ernesto Omar Falcon
> Senior Legislative Counsel
> Electronic Frontier Foundation
> Office: 415 436 9333 ext. 182
> Cell: 202 716 0770

Dane Jasper
dane.jasper at sonic.com
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