FCC Releases Its Bogus Broadband Data Once Again

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.

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Comments on “FCC Releases Its Bogus Broadband Data Once Again”

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9 Comments
dink9 says:

Re: First the Patent Office, now the FCC

don’t elect people because they are for/against abortion…for/against health care…for/against war. Because those issues DO NOTHING for you in your daily life and actually LIVING in America. Those are just hype issues that they think we want to hear about. Sure its important. BUT frankly i don’t give a damn whether or not my president is religious. I want some young person in there who’s actually lived in a (normal sized) house before, in a (average) neighborhood. Where their electricity went out all the time, their “broadband” (choices) were limited at best but where every 10 year old knows how to access the internet somehow and knows the difference between services, etc. This would be the only way, because then they could start putting advisers around him/her that know something…

Cynthia Powell (profile) says:

Re: Re: First the Patent Office, now the FCC

I so agree with you. That’s the way it used to be. Someone that did know politics but knew he was there for the “everyman” back home and not what power he had in his little hands and paying back all the fat cats who put him there. I want an average human man in office who had to pay bills, work for a family, maybe even had to (gasp) work through college to pay for that. The politics of the world don’t mean anything to us. They all hate us for meddling anyway. Keep the money here, the politicians working for us and not their cronies. Or worse for big business. We don’t give big bucks so they can lie to us on TV. So we don’t count. The FCC will be out of business if they keep this up. Too many people I know just outside of normal size towns can’t get broadband. They do well to keep the electricity on. Dialup should be dead by now. I’m embarrassed for the things the politicians think we should do without so we can meddle in someone else’s business in another country we will never see.

Barrenwaste (profile) says:

What do you expect....

….from an organisation that believes it has the right to dictate what we can and cannot hear and see? Frankly, the fact that the FCC even exists in America is apalling. No agency should have the right to censor american speech, as stated by the constitution, especially one that does not espouse the mores of the society it censors. Then, I guess censors never really follow the mores of the day or they wouldn’t be censors.

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