Broadband for America: FCC Deployment Report Misses the Mark
The state of broadband deployment in the United States is not accurately reflected in a new report by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that concludes broadband is not being deployed across the United States “in a reasonable or timely manner”. In fact, the conclusion is in direct contrast to many of the report’s own statistics.
According to FCC data, as of mid-2011, 96 percent of American households had access to wired broadband and 99 percent had access to wireless broadband. The FCC also in July found that ISPs are accurately advertising their speeds, providing more consistent speeds during peak usage times, and customers are subscribing to and receiving faster service.
Broadband for America (BFA) co-chair and former U.S. Representative Harold Ford, Jr. said the FCC’s assessment was inaccurate and overlooks the vast investments the private sector has made in broadband expansion, which amounted to $66 billion in 2011 alone. “In stark contrast to the FCC’s findings recent report, the U.S. has not only seen greater broadband availability, but broadband providers are delivering better and faster broadband service. The industry led by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and AT&T have invested more than $250 billion over past several years. The billions of dollars the industry invests every year have had an incredible impact on American businesses and families.”
Ford’s BFA co-chair and former U.S. Senator John Sununu said, “Reaching the last 3-4% of households is important, but the FCC itself recognizes the high investment hurdles those highly rural connections involve. To see the glass 3% empty instead of 97% full misses the important progress we’re making as a nation. The industry has changed the way people access technology and produced millions of high paying jobs. Even in the current economic climate, broadband related industries continue to grow and serve America.”
Instead of focusing on the work not yet done, a better approach would harness agency expertise to help determine proper allocation of the Universal Service Fund to identify and jumpstart the building of sustainable, fiscally-sound rural broadband infrastructure projects.
Sununu concluded, “The private sector continues to do its part. Rather than misrepresent this record, our government should be working with us to identify the best approach to reach the small percentage of rural homes without broadband access.”
Read the entire FCC report here.