FCC Continues To Fudge Broadband Numbers

from the nice-try-there dept

The FCC has been called out repeatedly by the GAO for fudging the numbers on broadband penetration in the US, so it’s no surprise at all to hear they’re doing it again with the latest report. They’re still using the highly questionable (and often questioned) method of assuming that if a single household in a zipcode can be served by a broadband provider, then all houses can be served by that provider. Tell that to the folks sitting smack dab in the middle of Silicon Valley, but who can’t get DSL from AT&T. They also define broadband as anything over 200 kbit/s, which is increasingly not really broadband these days. However, even worse, is that they’re hiding the growth of broadband connections, by suddenly lumping in cellular broadband accounts — which seems quite a bit unfair, since the companies providing such services, such as Verizon Wireless, are quite clear that the service is not to be used as a DSL replacement. Hell, it’s barely supposed to be used at all (despite the big “unlimited” claims in their ads). Rather, mobile broadband is only allowed for very limited applications (no video, no streaming, no downloads, no VoIP, etc.), and the providers are quick to cut you off if you violate any of their unstated rules. It seems a bit unfair to lump that in as a full “connection,” but apparently that’s the only way the FCC can convince people that broadband growth rates in the US are as high as they had hoped.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “FCC Continues To Fudge Broadband Numbers”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Dosquatch says:


Unlike real broad band

Dude, WTF are you talking about? There’s no such thing as “broadband” – that’s just marketese for “fast internet connection”. ANY internet connection faster than dialup or ISDN falls under this marketing category. There is NO tech definition for “broadband”.

So whatever – DSL, FiOS, muni-wifi, satellite, T1, OC12, cable, BoG, BoP, low flying blimps, cellular, magic pixie dust – if it’s not dialup, you’re in the club.

Nicko says:

Re: I don't get it...

Satisfied customer = loyal customer = profit

Why is this such a hard concept for companies to follow?

In a normal business this is true…the more you reduce costs, and the better product, the better your business becomes. But unfortunatly when you add in all the government lobbies, subsidies on the telecom industry, and mandates that require the country to be a leader in communications technology; you change the motivation behind the study.

Essentially the better the telecom companies look, the less the government has to reconsider contracts, the less they need to lean on the companies for innovation, the more marketing value we get, and probably the more money the officials get in their pocket. So really the FCC does its best work by collecting raw data that is verifiable, but tweaking the conditions to make the ‘facts‘ that they need.

Dial-up Dude says:

Why not count access by county

The ZIP accounting method is ludicrous. I am a prime example why it doesn’t work. I live in a very urban, near-north suburb of Chicago yet I don’t have access to DSL. I know others in my ZIP who have access, but my neighborhood is a DSL dead zone. I have been pleading with ATT (and SBC and Yahoo) for over 4 years to open a new colocation near enough to my house so I can get access. There is a perpetual promise that access will be possible soon, but the deadline keeps moving further back.

Is it a ploy by Comcast (cable provider) to keep subscribers from switching to DirecTV?

Guess I will wait for city-wide WiFi.

Sanguine Dream says:

Re: Why not count access by county

There is a perpetual promise that access will be possible soon, but the deadline keeps moving further back.

Is it a ploy by cell phone service providers to keep subscribers from switching to different service?

I have this very same problem with cell phone providers. Right now only US Cellular serves my area and I get constant promises from Sprint/Nextel, Verizon, SunCom, Alltell, Cingular….you get the picture.

RuralBroadbandGuy says:

Cellular broadband

Actually, the limitations only apply to Verizon. Sprint lets you do whatever you want except run a frame relay and run a web server. I watch videos all the time at 1.5Mbit/s and they’ve never complained. Good thing too, since that’s the only way I get broadband where I am. (I can’t even get satellite because the spot beam I’m in is full, and there’s no DSL or cable.)

lilricky says:

when dial-up was king...

Back in the day, anything faster than 56k was considered “broadband”. ISDN, Satellite, etc. it was broadband. Just because speeds have increased doesnt change the definition. And that is what the report is about, the number of “broadband” connections versus dial-up. It actually tells you that in the first paragraph of the report if Techdirt read it. Sorry to ruin your story with facts.

MichaelM says:

Re: Re:

what i really [hate?] is when i hear about the speeds they are getting over in Asian countries. our broadband over here is just so horribly slow compared to theirs. we don’t have real broadband.

In many of those asian areas (such as S. Korea) nearly all the population lives in giant apartment buildings. These each have a mini central office in the basement. Wiring them for broadband is MUCH easier than wiring anything but the most urban sections of the US – let alone the rural sections.

The US has counties larger than some European countries.

Kent Perry says:

“Dude, WTF are you talking about? There’s no such thing as “broadband” – that’s just marketese for “fast internet connection”. ANY internet connection faster than dialup or ISDN falls under this marketing category. There is NO tech definition for “broadband”. – Dosquatch”

Wrong Dossquatch WE are the people who made the word “Broadband” nothing more then marketing vernacular for high-speed Internet. It was the term used to describe a standard download and upload speed for an emerging new Internet infrastructure the Telco’s swindled us out of to the tune of over $200 Billion dollars.


With the exception of Public Broadcasting documentary about what is surely one of the most scandalous acts of consumer fraud ever committed against Americans, you see it gets little to no News Attention.

This is the kind of thing you’d expect a class action suit take place but that too, will never happen. Chris Bradley’s assertion that America didn’t show up to say stop this, so in his mind he seems to think we deserve it.

This logic is analogous to someone saying a girl was dressed to slutty so she was asking to be raped. This is just not true and I think his attitude that we got it coming for not speaking up is as assinine as his entire post was void of anything substantive. Just more finger pointing only he likes to blame the victims in this case.

Gee Chris,,was it our fault when the senate held an emergency session at 3:00 am to vote they all get a raise? Was it our fault that the Government didn’t enforce the law making sure the telecoms used that money for getting all of us on 45 mbps connection speed LIKE THEY SAID THEY WOULD? Whether it was even technically feasible at the time or not, that didn’t stop them from bilking the public.

So tell me,, in a country where bribing a Public Official is legal as long as it is done by a lobbyist, do you really believe showing up to say something to the FCC would have done a damn thing to stop it?

These guys are white collar crooks plane and simple and they have stolen our broadband which was at the time a standard of speed and not just a marketing term.

Do your damn homework before you start spewing all your monosyllabic diatribe like you think you know what you’re talking about because the fact is,,


Kent Perry, AZ.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...