Senator Decides Maybe The FCC Should Be Required To More Accurately Count Broadband Users

from the what-a-concept dept

For years and years, plenty of people (including the Government Accountability Office) have been pointing out why the FCC’s numbers on broadband penetration are wildly misleading. Remember, they simply count by zip code. That is, if a single house has connectivity from a single provider in that zip code, the FCC says that provider can reach every house in that zip code. That’s obviously not true at all. Yet the FCC keeps using that data, no matter how many times they’re told its wrong. Now, Senator Daniel Inouye is proposing new rules that would require the FCC count things a bit more accurately. First, it would ask the GAO to come up with its own metrics that don’t just look at “broadband” but also consider cost and capability in determining what’s really available. Then, it would look to redefine broadband based on different speed levels, rather than just consider anything over 200k as broadband. Finally, it would push for classifications based not on the 5 digit zip code, but the 9 digit zip codes which further segment regions. It would certainly be a step in the right direction, though still not perfect. Meanwhile, the group The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has put out its own recommendations that sound quite similar to the Senator’s, with one addition: setting up a user-generated mapping tool. The idea would be to set up a broadband speed test offer (similar to what Broadband Reports offers today), and then use location information to get a pretty detailed picture of what kinds of broadband speeds are available where. This seems like such a sensible approach to the issue that we’re almost positive it’ll never be implemented.

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Comments on “Senator Decides Maybe The FCC Should Be Required To More Accurately Count Broadband Users”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I’m in favor. I live in a particular area, that obviously offers DSL through my local phone company. I also have Comcast cable as the local operator. But in my particular instance, its the old, antiquated analog crap. I cannot even get high speed internet in my neighborhood because the homeowner’s association, whom I normally loathe, is actually looking out in my best interests, in this case. Comcast wants the association, and its residents, to sign a 10,15, or 20 year service contract to even run fiber through the neighborhood. So much for choice, huh.

The thing that bothers me is the simple fact that even if comcast was here in the ‘hood, where is my choice? Where is Bright House, whom they bought out the rights to, in this area. What is actually happening is that they take turns buying each other out, and there still are little, or no options for choice. And the bottom line is that the absurdity of what the providers want, or expect, makes is so unreasonable to get service, and/or choice to every household in the country. Where is the reform? Soon to come I hope. This country as badly lagging the rest of the world, in the name of greed.

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