!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">


December 6, 2019


 USDA Rural Development to Host Workshops for the Distance Learning and Telemedicine and ReConnect Programs

USDA Rural Development will host a series of workshops in the South, Central and North regions of Illinois for their Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program and ReConnect Pilot Broadband program. The attached notifications include dates, times and locations for workshops in each region. All workshops will be a repeat of material. You are welcome to attend the workshop of your choice and may attend more than once if needed.

Legislative Update - Gov. Pritzker signs legislation providing cannabis workplace protections for employers

Governor Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill 1557 this week which provides workplace protections as part of the legalization of adult-use cannabis approved by the General Assembly in the spring session. The legislation attempts to clear up concerns that an employer may have been required to show actual impairment in the workplace rather than simply being able to implement and follow a reasonable non-discriminatory drug testing policy.

Public Act 101-0593 codifies several key issues and protects employers from litigation actions taken by an employer for random drug testing, pre-employment testing and for failure of a drug test. It also clears up the concern that employers might have to prove impairment when an employee fails a drug test. Employers' drug and alcohol policies must still meet the standards of reasonableness and non-discrimination.

Gigabit Annual Partner Spotlight - Mid-State Consultants, Inc.

Satellite Internet Service

Starlink, Telesat, OneWeb, & Project Kuiper
all tout low-latency, satellite service by 2020

All are in a race to provide Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite Internet. OneWeb who launched six Airbus satellites in February, show test results with 400 Meg per sec and 40 mill latency. OneWeb streamed 1080p video. The company tested latency, speed, jitter, handoff between satellites, and power control.

From OneWeb website: “Substantial services will start towards the end of 2020,”  “Full 24-hour coverage being provided by early 2021.” SpaceX Starlink is trying to make two to six launches by the end of 2019. Satellite internet has been used in disaster recovery. “SpaceX currently expects to conduct several more Starlink launches before the end of 2019.”

Rural subscribers are certainly the target, but is satellite a real competitor to existing wire-line service providers? Base-station high costs and weather related interference are still issues. The counter argument has been on the freedom of wireless. The expansion of 5G could derail the hype surrounding satellite freedom.

Much like the aforementioned, 5G satellite may provide more opportunities for the rural fiber service provider with some imagination. There is still certainly much to be discovered about the uses for satellite, but it may also be an avenue for new opportunities.

To discover opportunities and solid solutions to your fiber projects, contact Mid-State Consultants. Check us out at www.mscon.com

Contact Tom Schultz at (920) 872-2902 to learn more about our full turn-key services.

 Telecom Headlines

Bernie Sanders unveils plan to boost broadband access, break up internet and cable titans (CNBC)

FCC to create $9 billion 5G subsidy program for rural America (cnet)

A federal privacy law is starting to crystalize, but Democrats and Republican's can't agree on how to do it (CNBC)

FCC bans Huawei, ZTE from USF-funded networks; Cost to replace could be $2 billion (telecompetitor)

Illinois Telecommunications Association

312 S. 4th Street, Suite 100

           Springfield, IL 62701             

 (217) 572-1262