Why The FCC's Broadband Data Is Wrong
from the policy-implications? dept
The FCC’s broadband policies lately have clearly been designed to consolidate power of a few large incumbents, at the expense of competition. To support much of this, they use their own data on broadband availability. However, as Broadband Reports is discussing, even the General Accounting Office is pointing out that the FCC’s method for measuring broadband penetration is greatly flawed. This isn’t new, but the FCC has refused to change, preferring its own problematic numbers in setting broadband policy. The FCC system apparently works by looking to see if anyone in a specific zip code has broadband access, and then determining that the entire zip code has broadband available — even if this is clearly not the case. That means that even if a provider serves only a small percentage of a region, the entire region may be considered as having broadband available. In cases where there are concerns over whether or not their is real competition with multiple providers, obviously this presents a pretty big problem. People with one or no choices may actually be considered as having multiple choices — reflecting a competitive environment that does not exist. Considering how much faith people put in the FCC’s statistics in setting broadband policy, this methodology isn’t just an academic discussion, but one that helps lead to a situation where a lack of real competition is being described in completely opposite terms.