7 Things That Happened in the Internet Industry in November
November was an eventful month for the internet industry: Elon Musk took his first steps after the Twitter acquisition, the FCC introduced some new rules for internet service providers (ISPs), there was a disruption of internet services caused by Hurricane Nicole, and more. If you aren’t in the know about changes related to broadband, we have highlighted seven things that happened in the industry this month.
FCC Unveils New Broadband Maps
The new FCC broadband maps were released with updated broadband services across the U.S. The preproduction maps show address-level information about the availability of several types of broadband services, including satellite and fixed wireless. These new maps are another step in the FCC’s long-term efforts to improve internet availability.
The new maps allow local governments and ISPs to review broadband data and identify where communities don’t have access to broadband services that they need. They’re required to send any challenges or disputes to the map data by Jan. 13, 2023, so that any corrections can be included in the finalized version of the map. That version will be released for distribution in the summer of 2023. Until the new maps become finalized, you check the latest national broadband map for accurate availability and speed.
Elon Musk Takes Control of Twitter
Elon Musk’s $44 billion Twitter acquisition began earlier this year in April and finally concluded in October. The acquisition stalled in July when Musk asserted that Twitter had breached their agreement by not cracking down on fake and spambot accounts. As a result, Twitter filed a lawsuit against Musk for threatening to terminate the agreement, but Musk decided to reverse course and proceed with the acquisition.
In the weeks that followed with Musk officially at the helm, Musk took no time to stamp his authority by ordering the immediate layoff of hundreds of Twitter employees, firing senior executives, and announcing strict deadlines for product updates. Musk has gained singular control over Twitter’s enormous influence on the internet, which is not only a source of agenda-setting for news, but also has the disruptive power to shape politics, finance, media, and technology. Musk’s Twitter takeover could potentially reshape the internet as we know it.
WCB Announces Application Window for ACP
The Wireline Competition Bureau announced that the application filing window for the “Your Home, Your Internet” and ACP Navigator Pilot Programs opened on Nov. 21 and will close on Jan. 9, 2023. Because of the tight deadline, applicants must submit a timely, accurate, and complete application before then. Applications can be submitted online by registering on the ACP Pilot Programs website.
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is an FCC program that provides a discount on monthly broadband bills for eligible low-income households. The “Your Home, Your Internet” is a pilot program of the FCC to increase awareness of the ACP program.
Tropical Storm Nicole Causes Power Outages
Internet service providers, including AT&T and Verizon, activated their advanced disaster response programs at the start of November to handle any service disruption caused by Hurricane Nicole. This included protecting physical facilities against flooding, keeping all disaster response equipment ready for deployment, and having emergency response teams ready for action.
Some Florida communities are still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurrian Ian in October. Luckily, ISP networks continued to perform well in impacted areas. However, commercial power outages caused customers to experience home phone and internet service disruptions.
ISPs Required to Display Labels for Customers
The FCC unveiled new requirements for broadband providers to display labels that allow customers to compare broadband services. Some ISPs, such as Verizon Fios and Comcast Xfinity, are already using labels.
According to these new rules, the label should be easy to read and show key information such as price, speed, maximum data limits, and other key data. The objective of enforcing these new rules is to empower customers to make an informed decision about which internet service to buy without having to scroll through countless pages for the information they need. The label should be displayed at the point of sale.
Cisco Budgets $600 Million for Restructuring
Cisco has budgeted $600 million for an organizational restructuring bill, which is expected to cover one-time termination and severance benefits, ditching unwanted real estate, and other restructuring costs. Cisco has over 83,000 employees and has gone through a phase of rapid hiring. Since 2018, Cisco has added more than 10,000 employees.
The senior executives at Cisco have termed the restructuring bill a “rebalancing act” to allow the company to focus on areas of interest such as security and cloud-delivered products. Still, Cisco employees will remain uneasy until they get clarity on this matter.
On Nov. 9, Facebook announced that 11,000 employees would be cut from payroll – about 13 percent of its total workforce. Other companies, such as Google, are also expected to let go of around 10,000 employees in 2023.
$183 Million Announced for Emergency Connectivity Funding
On Nov. 2, the FCC announced funding of $183 million for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program. So far, $7.17 billion has been committed to the program to support Homework Gap Students, which refers to students who have difficulty completing their homework due to lack of internet access at home.
The America Rescue Plan created the ECF to bridge this digital divide, which puts students and teachers at a disadvantage compared to those with access to reliable and fast internet. According to the U.S. Census, over 4 million households with school-age children lack internet access. The new funds are for 325 schools across Florida, New York, Washington, Maryland, Alabama, and Texas.