FCC Finally Admits US Broadband Competitiveness Sucks; Broadband Co's Then Order Their Favorite Politicians To Trash FCC

from the gee,-who-coulda-thunk-it dept

Every year, the FCC is required to come out with a report on broadband competitiveness. Every year, it's a joke. Way back in 2006, the GAO looked at the 2005 report and pointed out that the FCC's methodology sucked and was highly inaccurate. Basically, the FCC looked at whether or not a single node in a zip code was wired for broadband (defined at some laughably low rate), and declared that the provider offered service across that entire zip code. On top of that, it relied on the broadband providers themselves to let the FCC know who was covered. So, in theory, you could have a zip code where only two houses were covered by broadband, and the FCC would define that entire zip code as not only covered, but a competitive market. That was in 2006. Yet, the FCC basically ignored the GAO and kept putting out its bogus reports each year, even as the GAO continued to highlight the problems of the report.

So here we are, years later, and the FCC has finally, finally, finally changed its methodology and for the first time released a report admitting that all is not well in the US broadband market. As Broadband Reports notes:
The report ditches the inaccurate zip code determination, and takes the long-overdue step of bumping the minimum definition of broadband from just 200 kbps, to at least 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.
I should admit, by that definition, even I don't have broadband at home. To be honest, I'm less concerned about the amount of people who have access to broadband, as I am about the actual level of competition, which isn't really covered by this report. Still, it's amusing to see how angry the telcos and some elected officials are about the FCC finally telling the truth.

A telco lobbying organization, US Telecom immediately trashed the report saying it "strained credulity." And, it didn't take elected officials long to start grandstanding as well. Rep. Cliff Stearns wasted little time blasting the FCC report, saying he was "perplexed" by the report.

Perhaps we can clear up some of the confusion. You see, it appears that over the course of Cliff Stearns career, the single largest contributor to his campaign was (you guessed it) AT&T. Oh, and as for this year's campaign, it's probably worth noting that while AT&T is still his top contributor Comcast and Verizon are number two and three respectively, and closing in fast. And, of course, in the last election (2008), Stearns' top two contributors were AT&T and the National Cable & Telco Association. Verizon was fourth. But I'm sure that has nothing whatsoever to do with Stearn's confusion over the FCC report. Couldn't possibly be... And people wonder why every day citizens think that DC is corrupt.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Yogi, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 4:18am

    So?

    This guy got voted into office by the citizenry - they can't all be on the take, can they? DC is no more corrupt and stupid than the American people who for vote for such legislators.

     

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  2.  
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    Kasey Krehbiel (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 4:23am

    LightSquared Broadband

    Eventually, the tiered pricing plans Verizon and AT&T and their price gouging, profit-mongering and competition-limiting are going to are going to come back and bite them really hard, and I hope guys like these are the culprits:

    http://arstechnica.com/telecom/news/2010/07/get-ready-for-lightsquared-broadband-verizo n-and-att-not-fans.ars

    LightSquared broadband is "the nation's first wholesale-only integrated wireless broadband and satellite network." It's 4G LTE backed up by satellite. Hopefully, this will be the final straw toward a single bill for communications access. No more phone, then internet, then TV, then cell phone, then cell internet bills. Hopefully.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 4:32am

    Finally!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 4:47am

    Re: LightSquared Broadband

    Unless they had put 3 times as many satellites in geostationary orbit I don't see this supplanting the need for fiber everywhere.

    It is nice, but not enough.

    People need to take ownership of their fiber.

     

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  5.  
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    abc gum, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 4:47am

    Re: So?

    "This guy got voted into office by the citizenry"

    - People usually choose the lesser of two evils ... big choice.

    "they can't all be on the take, can they"

    - I detect sarcasm

    "DC is no more corrupt and stupid than the American people who for vote for such legislators"

    - Bullshit. What choice is there ... dont vote ? It would be nice if there was a "none of the above" check box.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 5:06am

    Nice illustration on why election campaigns should be publicly funded & all private funding outlawed. A government by the people for the people would be a nice change.

     

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  7.  
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    Alatar, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 5:06am

    Opposed to here in France

    Here the situation is quite different : we've got high competition in the broadband Internet domain, but miserable in the mobile operators part, while in the US competition is fierce in mobile and non-existent in broadband.

    Maybe we should propose a merger between France and the US, in which we would keep France's DSL operators and USA's mobile ones...

     

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  8.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 5:44am

    Re: So?

    My friend, you have to watch it in person. Come to America, watch it in person. If you want to truly understand politics in America, visit any major urban setting and just experience life there and then use it as a background for what is being said in the political arena. It's amazing.

    There is such a disconnect in the States these days with regard to our politicians, it's unbelievable. They flatout making voting as difficult as possible so they can control turnout. More to the point, as someone earlier pointed out, you're choosing between corrupt asshole and corrupt douchebag. Yay!

    Remember, the way you control elections is NOT by manipulating votes, cheating, or any other nefarious deed that can be traced back to you. You simply make it so that no matter who wins, that person is your guy. And that pretty much sums up lobbying efforts here....

     

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  9.  
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    haiku, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 5:44am

    The three inevitabilities of life:
    1. Death;
    2. Taxes; and
    3. Corrupt politicians ...

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    haiku, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 5:45am

    The three inevitabilities of life:
    1. Death;
    2. Taxes; and
    3. Corrupt politicians ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    haiku, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 5:45am

    The three inevitabilities of life:
    1. Death;
    2. Taxes; and
    3. Corrupt politicians ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 6:03am

    Granny told me. Sit down here beside me my young one and let me tell how it's done. The rich control the land and the only hope you have is by staying away from Politicians, Lawyers and Police. They can't be trusted because they lie for a living. They will lie every time to get what they want. They have no conscience to appeal to. They have no problem selling you out to get what they believe is their right because of their power. Stay away from them and you will live a long and prosperous life.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 6:22am

    speeds

    The reason the FCC's definition speeds seem highis that in the US we are used to very slow speeds. When we hear speeds for other parts of the world they are so far off from what we have that the foreign speeds just don't seem believable. Apparently the lack of cometition works for the telcos at the psychological level, too.

     

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  14.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 6:32am

    Re: LightSquared Broadband

    Actually, my hope is on entanglement and the earth as a mathematical singularity from a distance. No more wires, no more local monopolies, no more monthly bills, hoo-ah!!

     

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  15.  
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    Krusty, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 6:33am

    Re: So?

    I think you have underestimated DC's level of proficiency at corruption.
    Yes they can be worse than the people that elected them, it involves the tipping point theory.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Jay (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 6:46am

    Re: So?

    He's in Florida. Florida is the land of retirees and people that don't particularly care for rules on broadband.

    It's a wonder his elections weren't more of a landslide.

     

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  17.  
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    Jay (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 6:53am

    Man...

    I remember the switch from dialup to broadband. I would never switch BACK to dialup if you told me to. But if Lightsquared gets a following I sure as hell would look into it. I'd be one of the first to switch.

    And if they offered Google-like speeds you can damn sure bet the "poor me" of the telcos would be cut short immediately.

     

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  18.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 7:05am

    Re: LightSquared Broadband

    LightSquared broadband is "the nation's first wholesale-only integrated wireless broadband and satellite network." It's 4G LTE backed up by satellite. Hopefully, this will be the final straw toward a single bill for communications access. No more phone, then internet, then TV, then cell phone, then cell internet bills. Hopefully.

    You mean "wants to be" not "is." Certainly would be nice, but for decades now we keep hearing about miraculous satellite broadband providers and they all suck. It's too expensive to set up and maintain the infrastructure, and the latency is dreadful. I'll believe it when I'm actually surfing it and the latency isn't dreadful.

     

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  19.  
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    RD, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: LightSquared Broadband

    "I'll believe it when I'm actually surfing it and the latency isn't dreadful."

    Me too, but I wouldnt hold my breath. In fact, I would say its nearly impossible, barring any kind of entanglement-like breakthrough. The satellites sit 22K miles out, so you are bumping up against physics there, and when you add in all the necessary routing and ground hardware, it can only work so well. You can thank Einstein and relativistic physics for that. Doesnt seem like much, but 44K+ miles round trip is a decent chunk of the speed of light (per second) and that just kills latency. Even now, with good broadband, latency can vary from 20ms to 100ms, which is good and just this side of perceptible (for, say, a phone call) and OK for gaming. Anything over 100ms and you start to get problems, and satellite links are WAY over that and can basically never be below a certain point due to the distance.

     

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  20.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re: LightSquared Broadband

    Mike, this probably isn't the ideal forum, but thank for that recommendation on OOTP Baseball. That game is the realness....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    cybercy2010 (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 7:52am

    It sounds like most of you have broadband access. No broadband or cable access for me. I used to have dial-up, as it was that or nothing. I checked into satellite service and got a major case of sticker shock. Now I have wireless service, as someone was kind enough to start a company that serves rural communities. One monthly fee, as many "toys" as I want can be used.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 8:05am

    Entanglement can be made possible with fiber.

    Now about speeds, the U.S. is a sorry place for people.

    In Europe in some places you can get at your home something like.

    25Mb/s or in megabytes that would be 8 MB/s down and 16Mb/s or in megabytes that would be 2 MB/s.

    Now for people who don't understand that or are using an Apple operating system that uses a different definition of what 1 mega means(i.e. Apple uses 1000 to refer to thousands and not 1024) lets say what that means in seconds.

    150 Megabytes(in megabits this would mean 150*8=1200 megabits or 1.2gigabits) takes less than 20 secs to download.
    150 Megabytes upload takes about 30 secs.

    CNN was noting how in montana and other places not normally seem as tech hubs one funny thing is happening, people are getting jobs using teleconference to offer help and teach others, this is only possible if people can have real broadband.

    Telcos are hurting the economy!

    End of rant.

     

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  23.  
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    Yogi, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: So?

    Sounds real sad.

    Actually I had an economist friend who recently worked for a few years in the States, and he said that he could not believe the degree of corruption that he saw there - even saying that basically, businesses regularly impose taxes on the population through legislation.

    This practice would imply a very high tax burden, but I believe that actually taxes are very low in the States, compared to other Western counties, so what gives? Is everything just being put down as "deficit" in the national budget? Somebody will have to eventually pay the bills...

     

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  24.  
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    Ahmad Bilal (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 8:44am

    LightSquared Broadband

    From the kind of confusion they are implying, I think their is really some sort of corruption that's happening in DC. But, these concerned institutions or bodies won't of course reveal it. What happened with the FCC issue is just a kind of "cover up."

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    DH's Love Child, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 8:52am

    Re: LightSquared Broadband

    "It's 4G LTE backed up by satellite."

    Mike is right "wants to be" is the correct phrase as there is currently no LTE in the US. Carriers are planning on moving that way, but it is not commercially available anywhere yet.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Citizen, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:03am

    Mike calls it like it is

    Poignant remarks, Mike. Right on the money. Damn, you're good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    Cynyr (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:14am

    Re:

    I have something like broadband... 400-500KB/sec down, and 40KB/sec up. Should i decide to use that whole 40KB up, my pings go out to 1200ms. Since I live in an apartment and the complex has agreements with 2 providers, thats all I get, local telco, and local cable co. I could probably pay for a higher tier of my DSL service, but when it's already $70/month as you have to have phone service and dsl service with them minimum(the dsl service is what limits the speed, not the ISP), then a ISP on top of that. I'd like to get FIOS, or business cable or something, but i'm not sure comcast will just sell it to me without a business license.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Kingster (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re:

    Comcast would be happy to sell it to you. It's twice the price, and all you get out of them is an SLA. You don't even get a static IP.

     

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  29.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 11:59am

    Wealth Distribution in the US

     

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  30.  
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    DanVan (profile), Jul 21st, 2010 @ 12:20pm

    And there is very little reason to think that this will really change in the near future

    The corporations will pay through the roof to keep their interests at the top of the DC wish list

    Pathetic but normal

     

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  31.  
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    Trish, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 2:29pm

    I have 30 mgps down and 1 up, 100 gb limit combined, and pay 65$. Yay canada!

     

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  32.  
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    abc gum, Jul 21st, 2010 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: So?

    So, you retract your prior comment ?
    "DC is no more corrupt and stupid than the American people who for vote for such legislators."

    "I believe that actually taxes are very low in the States,"

    - Not so. there are many different taxes, add them all up and it is significant.

    "Somebody will have to eventually pay the bills"

    - Yep. And those who influenced the spending are most reluctant in efforts to pay it back.

     

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  33.  
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    wide awake (profile), Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 8:06pm

    there is no REAL COMPETITION in the United States

    I recently learned that in France, since the national government has so strongly supported broadband plus cable tv and telephone, the cost is LESS THAN US $40/mo for ALL THREE and the DL speed is 20MB !!!!!! And look at the corrupt crap-system WE get- all because of the corporatism rampant in our US of A. This USED to be known as FASCISM, but now commonly termed CORPORATISM (with all the same EVIL implications of blind congressional support for the evil trans-national, monopoly corporate criminal corporations)!!!!

     

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  34.  
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    Drop That Penguin!, Oct 17th, 2012 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: So?

    "This practice would imply a very high tax burden, but I believe that actually taxes are very low in the States, compared to other Western counties, so what gives?"

    Most of this money isn't collected as tax, but as telecom rate increases. In an interview just out on SmartPlanet, David Cay Johnston states that we've forked over $350B worth of rate increases specifically to fund "the information superhighway"; over how many years he didn't say.

     

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  35.  
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    Imtiaz Ali, Mar 4th, 2014 @ 5:39am

    Broadband problem is everywhere in US :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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