from the must-be-that-time-of-year dept
By this point, everyone knows that the FCC's data on broadband penetration in the US is totally bogus. Early in 2006, a GAO report slammed
the FCC for using such bogus data. It uses a very low hurdle for what counts as "broadband" and then measures broadband based on zipcodes only. So if one broadband provider provides 200kbps service to a single house in that zipcode, the FCC considers broadband to be available to everyone in that zipcode. That, of course, is ridiculous -- as even right here in the heart of Silicon Valley it's difficult for some people to get broadband. When the FCC did little to respond, the GAO came out with a second report slamming
the FCC again. When the FCC still
did nothing, Congress got into the act, pushing
forward a bill that would require the FCC to more accurately count broadband penetration. How did the FCC respond? By writing an editorial insisting that there's competition... even if it doesn't have any numbers to back it up.
With all that as background, it should come as no surprise whatsoever that the latest FCC report on broadband penetration appears to use the same bogus methodology
. It makes you wonder who they think they're fooling. With such a pointless methodology the results are pretty meaningless. After all, it suggests that 80% of zipcodes have at least four broadband service providers. Those who want to say that there's strong competition in broadband will falsely assume this means 80% of households have four providers to choose from, but it would probably be pretty difficult to find very many people who have four different providers available. There is one amusing point in the report. The FCC used to insist that after handing over monopolies to incumbents, new broadband options would come from other technologies, with broadband over powerlines being the "great hope" for broadband competition despite years and years of failed trials. It seems the FCC isn't talking much about broadband over powerlines any more... perhaps because its own report shows fewer subscribers than at the beginning of the year. So much for that plan.