Bidding in the Federal Communications Commission millimeter-wave wireless auction reached $7.5 billion and shows signs of ending within the next few rounds. Participants had moved earlier to offer bids on large urban and mid-sized markets but a number of smaller, rural licenses remained in low demand until the FCC acted to force carriers' hands this week.
A Seattle-area county is allowing the region's 1.2 million voters to cast ballots via their phones or computers for a conservation board election, a move that concerns security experts who fear vote tampering, while proponents said it would encourage participation. The voting, which will last until Feb. 11, is being funded by a local philanthropic group.
Qualcomm, Audi and the state of Virginia will team up on a connected car pilot project, using C-V2X technology over 5.9 GHz, aimed at improving safety on the roads. Drivers of Audi Q8 SUVs will be equipped with the technology -- which is compatible with 4G and 5G networks -- on roads in northern Virginia starting this summer.
C Spire has completed its fiber-build in Mississippi, an $11 million project that spanned 300 miles and 15 counties aimed at bringing broadband services to rural areas across the state. The regional carrier worked with Entergy Mississippi on the public-private project that also upgraded the state's electricity grid.
Crown Castle is poised to gain ground on its cell tower rivals even as the company has suffered from backlogs caused by local permitting delays, slower industry growth and changing economic conditions, MoffettNathanson analyst Nick Del Deo wrote in a recent report. He pointed to Crown's large capital investments that have prepared the company to narrow the gap in the coming years as its backlog dissipates.
The Federal Communications Commission must collect more accurate data about what consumers pay for high-speed internet service, advocacy groups say. Public Knowledge noted that government staffers express skepticism about acquiring accurate figures and posed a question: "If experts at the Commission cannot parse the confusing nature of ISPs' pricing schemes, how are consumers expected to navigate hidden fees themselves?"
New York's senators, Democrats Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have complained to the Federal Communications Commission that the state was unfairly shut out of the first phase of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will distribute $20.4 billion over a decade. The FCC cited previously established programs when omitting New York, as well as Alaska, but Gillibrand says her state "shouldn't be penalized for helping its rural communities get online."
Elko, Nev., is seeking better broadband service by dropping its franchise fees for telecom companies, which will cost the city about $100,000 each year. Curtis Calder, Elko's city manager, said he expects increased economic development to fill the gap as the city courts a local business, Nevada Gold Mines, to get the ball rolling with an investment.
The US needs to do more to eliminate the hurdles to the spread of 5G service, Borje Ekholm, chief executive officer of Ericsson, told President Donald Trump during a recent speech to a group that included many global CEOs. Ekholm urged Trump to move faster on freeing up C-Band spectrum, invest in power grid upgrades and make it easier for carriers to obtain site permits for 5G infrastructure.
Apple is preparing to put a new budget iPhone into production next month as a way of expanding its customer base before it begins marketing 5G handsets, Bloomberg reports, adding that the company could begin selling the phone by March. The model would represent Apple's first effort at a lower-priced iPhone since the $399 iPhone SE debuted in 2016.