Abstract image representing the internet

Fixed Wireless Availability – Accuracy Issues

Earlier today, I tried to order Verizon’s 5G Home Internet. According to Verizon’s website, my address was eligible for service.

A few minutes after placing my order, I received an email explaining that my order couldn’t be completed. Here’s an excerpt:

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for choosing Verizon. We were unable to complete the order you recently submitted.

We are sorry, but after further review, it was determined that we are unable to provide home internet service at your address at this time. Prior to qualifying service for any specific location, Verizon evaluates a number of factors to ensure we can provide new and existing customers the best possible experience.

The availability of home internet products may change in the future so we encourage you to stay updated on your eligibility status by visiting https://www.verizon.com/5g/home/ . You can click the “check availability” button and sign up for alerts to stay in the know on when eligibility in your area may change.

According to the FCC’s Broadband Map, my address is eligible. According to the initial screening system on Verizon’s website, my address is eligible. Yet Verizon has some secondary system that quickly and automatically rejected my address. I’m unsure why these different systems are out of sync.

The bit about staying updated on eligibility via verizon.com/5g/home/ isn’t helpful. The info on that page was wrong. That’s why I got far enough to get my rejection email.

Fixed Wireless Availability Conundrums

With fixed wireless services like Verizon 5G Home, network congestion needs to be carefully managed. Perhaps Verizon is regularly tweaking the availability of 5G Home Internet based on how much spare capacity the network has in different areas. While tweaking of that sort wouldn’t explain why one of Verizon’s systems clears my address while another rejects the address, it could explain the mismatch with the FCC’s data.

With the FCC only collecting availability data twice per year, recent changes in availability may not be captured. I’m not sure that explains my experience, but it’s a meaningful limitation of the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection, regardless.

It may be rare for a cable internet provider to suddenly decide a region is oversubscribed and reject new subscribers. However, that kind of behavior will be more common for internet providers using technologies that aren’t resilient in the face of congestion (e.g., fixed wireless and satellite). With fixed wireless and satellite internet gaining market share, this problem will become more relevant.

Farmer with tablet

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase 1 Results

Today, the FCC announced the winners of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase 1 auction. In this reverse auction, the FCC had up to 16 billion dollars in funds available for compensating companies building out broadband networks in underserved areas.

The excerpt below comes from the FCC’s press release:

Auction results released today show that bidders won funding to deploy high-speed broadband to over 5.2 million unserved homes and businesses, almost 99% of the locations available in the auction. Moreover, 99.7% of these locations will be receiving broadband with speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps, with an overwhelming majority (over 85%) getting gigabit-speed broadband.

While up to 16 billion dollars was available in this phase, only 9.2 billion dollars were allocated. The leftover funds will be added to the pot of money available in the next RDOF phase.

Winning companies in this phase of the auction will have funding awarded over the next ten years (contingent on companies meeting certain milestones).


Below, I share the full list of 180 winners sorted by the funding awarded.1

LTD Broadband LLC$1,320,920,718.60
CCO Holdings, LLC (Charter Communications)$1,222,613,870.10
Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium$1,104,395,953.00
Space Exploration Technologies Corp.$885,509,638.40
Windstream Services LLC, Debtor-In-Possession$522,888,779.80
AMG Technology Investment Group LLC$429,228,072.90
Frontier Communications Corporation, DIP$370,900,832.80
Resound Networks, LLC$310,681,608.90
Connect Everyone LLC$268,851,315.90
CenturyLink, Inc.$262,367,614.20
Etheric Communications LLC$248,634,963.10
California Internet, L.P. dba GeoLinks$234,889,665.70
Consortium of AEG and Heron Broadband I$194,378,552.00
NRTC Phase I RDOF Consortium$156,714,678.20
Segnem Egere Consortium$152,854,440.70
NexTier Consortium$126,287,693.30
RDOF USA Consortium$112,044,022.70
Prospero Broadband Consortium$100,366,008.80
Point Broadband Fiber Holding, LLC$78,414,413.10
Mercury Wireless, Inc.$68,310,842.00
Co-op Connections Consortium$61,485,589.50
Consolidated Communications, Inc.$58,873,337.50
Frontier Communications Northwest, LLC$57,202,650.80
Talkie Communications, Inc.$57,065,010.20
Citynet West Virginia, LLC$53,516,858.30
Consortium 2020$48,918,960.90
Computer 5, Inc. d/b/a LocalTel Communications$48,818,171.30
Wilkes Telephone Membership Corporation$46,055,343.40
Bay Springs Telephone Company, Inc.$41,871,850.10
Continental Divide Electric Cooperative$38,004,786.20
Cal.net, Inc.$29,169,982.60
Commnet Wireless, LLC$28,436,936.10
GigaBeam Networks, LLC$28,067,881.20
Cincinnati Bell Inc.$26,887,580.40
Aptitude Internet LLC$24,655,295.20
Armstrong Telephone Company – Northern Division$22,009,640.50
Grain Communications Opportunity Fund II, L.P.$19,172,673.60
Arrowhead Electric Cooperative, Inc.$18,462,273.10
RHMD, LLC$18,303,843.20
Paul Bunyan Rural Telephone Cooperative$16,307,892.10
Direct Communications Rockland, Inc.$15,745,252.70
Connecting Rural America$14,180,599.00
Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative, Inc.$12,703,077.60
Halstad Telephone Company$12,141,118.40
South Arkansas Telephone Company$11,387,245.50
Pine Belt Communications, Inc.$11,126,003.10
Centre WISP Venture Company, LLC$11,086,348.40
Micrologic Inc.$10,036,047.70
Emery Telephone dba Emery Telcom$9,822,853.00
Digital Connections Inc. dba PRODIGI$8,583,001.40
Rural American Broadband Consortium$8,471,858.10
Chariton Valley Communications Corporation$8,070,272.00
Northern Arapaho Tribal Industries$7,799,035.00
Hamilton County Telephone Co-op$7,796,825.30
St. John Telco$7,116,876.00
Cox Communications, Inc.$6,636,520.50
Reedsburg Utility Commission$6,439,594.10
Savage Communications$6,090,479.10
Hawaii Dialogix Telecom LLC$6,009,953.00
Tennessee Cooperative Group Consortium$5,981,516.90
Peoples Telecom, LLC$5,668,121.40
Cherry Capital Connection, LLC$5,620,840.40
Pioneer Wireless, Inc$5,543,142.00
Atlantic Broadband Finance, LLC$5,407,684.70
Hotwire Communications, Ltd$5,150,040.00
Shenandoah Cable Television, LLC$5,059,616.50
Wisper-CABO 904 Consortium$4,974,442.30
Midcontinent Communications$4,960,473.00
Visionary Communications, Inc.$4,450,264.40
DoCoMo Pacific, Inc.$3,706,235.00
Daviess-Martin County Rural Telephone Corporation$3,565,039.40
Rivers High Group$3,540,398.10
Great Plains Consortium$3,427,873.30
Cellular Services LLC.$3,294,968.60
City of Farmington$3,179,884.50
4-Corners Consortium$2,598,030.00
Pine Cellular Phones, Inc.$2,303,742.10
Mediacom Communications Corporation$2,254,655.00
Hankins Information Technology$2,171,844.50
BEK Communications Cooperative$2,157,719.00
TruVista Communications, Inc.$2,059,050.80
Minnesota Connections c/o Consolidated Tel Company$2,040,278.70
Horizon Communications, Inc.$2,033,292.00
Custer Telephone Cooperative, Inc.$1,954,488.00
American Heartland$1,821,520.00
FiberLight, LLC$1,772,705.80
Bandera Electric Cooperative, Inc.$1,689,601.50
LICT Corporation$1,675,826.80
NBVDS Investment, L.L.C.$1,655,443.40
Central Arkansas Telephone Cooperative, Inc.$1,629,930.50
Siuslaw Broadband, LLC dba Hyak Technologies$1,611,684.90
HomeTown Broadband, Inc.$1,424,229.00
Hughes Network Systems, LLC$1,273,784.00
Union Telephone Company$1,264,770.00
Roseau Electric Cooperative, Inc.$1,228,494.00
Safelink Internet LLC$1,197,661.50
Pembroke Telephone Company, Inc.$1,053,063.00
Fond du Lac Communications Inc.$1,046,123.00
Wikstrom Telephone Company$983,637.00
SLIC Network Solutions, Inc.$978,722.00
Altice USA, Inc.$849,880.00
DTC Cable, Inc.$834,597.00
Nova Cablevision, Inc.$785,400.00
Farmers Mutual Telephone Company$759,822.00
Scott County Telephone Cooperative, Inc.$755,841.60
Horry Telephone Cooperative, Inc.$729,554.50
Terral Telephone Company$716,381.20
Worldwide Technologies, Inc.$700,874.20
Somerset Telephone Co., Inc.$669,564.00
AB Indiana LLC$668,304.10
Albion Telephone Company, Inc.$599,795.70
Palmetto Telephone Communications, LLC$570,024.00
Federated Telephone Cooperative$537,399.00
Daktel Communications, LLC$531,894.00
Redzone Wireless, LLC$507,752.00
MEI Telecom, Inc.$479,789.10
Zito West Holding, LLC$457,596.00
Baraga Telephone Company$444,490.80
Lakeland Communications Group, LLC$408,952.00
Heart of the Catskills Comm. Inc., dba MTC Cable$398,574.00
LigTel Communications, Inc.$385,924.00
Citizens Vermont Acquisition Corporation$373,680.00
Allen’s T.V. Cable Service, Inc.$371,348.10
Plains Internet, LLC$345,624.00
Reservation Telephone Cooperative$337,080.00
Miles Communications LLC$316,641.00
Mountain View Telephone Company$298,572.00
RC Technologies$263,796.00
QCOL, Inc.$235,146.00
Socket Telecom, LLC$232,768.80
St Paul Cooperative Telephone Association$190,908.00
Easton Utilities Commission$189,047.60
Newport Utilities$159,492.00
Mountain West Technologies Corporation$141,801.20
One Ring Networks, Inc.$137,715.00
Hamilton Long Distance Company$128,560.30
Bruce Telephone Company, Inc.$113,745.00
Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association$104,637.80
WC Fiber, LLC$98,189.50
Net Ops Communications, LLC$69,676.40
Enduring Internet$65,690.00
Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Association$63,903.00
Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company$60,126.00
Skywave Wireless, Inc.$57,660.00
yondoo Broadband LLC$54,833.80
Pioneer Long Distance, Inc.$50,994.00
All West Communications, Inc.$46,648.00
XIT Telecommunication & Technology$43,254.50
Corn Belt Telephone$42,237.00
WTC Communications, Inc.$40,845.20
Consortium 904$40,470.00
MCC Network Services, LLC$36,204.00
Pinpoint Bidding Coalition$31,254.00
Wood County Telephone Company d/b/a Solarus$28,848.00
NMSURF, Inc.$26,964.00
KanOkla Telephone Association$26,538.00
Yucca Telecommunications Systems, Inc.$26,221.00
IdeaTek Telcom, LLC$23,590.60
Home Communications, Inc.$15,540.00
Barry Technology Services, LLC$14,502.00
LR Communications, Inc.$13,974.00
Farmers Mutual Cooperative Telephone Company$12,447.00
PVT NetWorks, Inc.$12,039.00
Baldwin Telecom, Inc.$11,370.00
H&B Communication’s, Inc.$11,301.60
NTS Communications, LLC$8,923.00
W. T. Services, Inc.$8,785.70
Computer Techniques, Inc. dba CTI Fiber$8,509.00
Sandhill Telephone Cooperative, Inc.$6,396.00
Taylor Telephone Coop., Inc. dba Taylor Telecom$5,466.00
Comcell Inc.$4,644.00
Peoples Communication, LLC.$4,140.00
Plateau Telecommunications, Inc.$3,150.00
Coleman County Telephone Cooperative, Inc.$3,142.80
Bloosurf, LLC$1,860.50
Unified Communications Inc.$1,604.00
Carolina West Wireless, Inc.$460.00

When Will Starlink Be Available In More States?

February 12, 2021 Update: Starlink has expanded availability substantially since this page was first published. You can check availability at your location on Starlink’s website.

Users on a Reddit thread are logging information about the locations of Starlink beta testers. At the moment, it looks like Starlink has sent invites to people in latitudes between 45.3°N and 48.4°N. Some invites have been sent in at least seven states:

  • Idaho
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Tweet updates

Today, Elon Musk suggested more invites are about to go out:

Follow-up comments shed a bit of light on Starlink’s expansion plans:

While a comment on Twitter falls short of a formal statement, Musk’s comment provides the most recent information I’ve seen about Starlink’s timelines. We might only be a few months away from Starlink offering service in a lot more places.

Starlink’s Better Than Nothing Beta

SpaceX’s Starlink is launching a public beta. Yesterday, a Reddit user shared the contents of an invite email. In the email’s opening, Starlink takes a self-deprecating tone:1

We are trying to lower your initial expectations 😛

Expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s and latency from 20ms to 40ms over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system. There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all.

It’s refreshing to see an internet service provider (ISP) taking such a candid approach. Emojis, transparency, and Starlink’s name for the service, the “Better Than Nothing Beta,” all contract starkly with the usual corporate-marketing-speak from conventional ISPs. Even with an initial speed of 50Mbps and latency of 40ms, Starlink could be a big improvement for people living in areas that aren’t served by modern, wired ISPs.


The email invitation suggested Starlink’s performance will improve substantially over time:

As we launch more satellites, install more ground stations, and improve our networking software, data speed, latency and uptime will improve dramatically. For latency, we expect to achieve 16ms to 19ms by summer 2021.

Starlink beta pricing

Subscribers joining the Better Than Nothing Beta will have to pay about $100 a month for service and a roughly $500 one-time fee for a user terminal and a router.

I don’t know if the $500 price tag is a good proxy for how much it costs Starlink to produce a terminal. Starlink may be partially subsidizing terminals to keep the service attractive.

T-Mobile Expands LTE Home Internet Options

T-Mobile just announced that it will massively expanded the pilot program for its LTE home internet service. Almost 500 cities are being added to the service. T-Mobile shared a list of new locations in its press release.

In the press release, T-Mobile takes a lot of shots at AT&T’s recent decision to cease offering DSL service:

What AT&T takes away, T-Mobile brings back. Following news that AT&T is discontinuing DSL home broadband in many communities, T-Mobile is massively expanding its Home Internet pilot service to give another option to an additional 20 million households in parts of 450 cities and towns — many in rural America — being abandoned by AT&T in the middle of a pandemic when connectivity has never been more important.

While I’ve only looked into it briefly, T-Mobile’s service seems promising. With automatic payments enabled, it comes in at $50 per month. It looks like that $50 includes taxes, fees, and hardware costs. Further, T-Mobile doesn’t appear to be pushing subscribers into long-term contracts.

The service seems to be in its infancy. I entered two different address on T-Mobile’s website to whether the internet service was available. In both cases, I didn’t actually get an answer. Instead, T-Mobile requested my contact information and suggested the company would get in touch if service was available in my area.

You can find more information about T-Mobile’s LTE home internet service on the company’s website.