FCC Finally Admits US Broadband Competitiveness Sucks; Broadband Co's Then Order Their Favorite Politicians To Trash FCC

from the gee,-who-coulda-thunk-it dept

Every year, the FCC is required to come out with a report on broadband competitiveness. Every year, it’s a joke. Way back in 2006, the GAO looked at the 2005 report and pointed out that the FCC’s methodology sucked and was highly inaccurate. Basically, the FCC looked at whether or not a single node in a zip code was wired for broadband (defined at some laughably low rate), and declared that the provider offered service across that entire zip code. On top of that, it relied on the broadband providers themselves to let the FCC know who was covered. So, in theory, you could have a zip code where only two houses were covered by broadband, and the FCC would define that entire zip code as not only covered, but a competitive market. That was in 2006. Yet, the FCC basically ignored the GAO and kept putting out its bogus reports each year, even as the GAO continued to highlight the problems of the report.

So here we are, years later, and the FCC has finally, finally, finally changed its methodology and for the first time released a report admitting that all is not well in the US broadband market. As Broadband Reports notes:

The report ditches the inaccurate zip code determination, and takes the long-overdue step of bumping the minimum definition of broadband from just 200 kbps, to at least 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.

I should admit, by that definition, even I don’t have broadband at home. To be honest, I’m less concerned about the amount of people who have access to broadband, as I am about the actual level of competition, which isn’t really covered by this report. Still, it’s amusing to see how angry the telcos and some elected officials are about the FCC finally telling the truth.

A telco lobbying organization, US Telecom immediately trashed the report saying it “strained credulity.” And, it didn’t take elected officials long to start grandstanding as well. Rep. Cliff Stearns wasted little time blasting the FCC report, saying he was “perplexed” by the report.

Perhaps we can clear up some of the confusion. You see, it appears that over the course of Cliff Stearns career, the single largest contributor to his campaign was (you guessed it) AT&T. Oh, and as for this year’s campaign, it’s probably worth noting that while AT&T is still his top contributor Comcast and Verizon are number two and three respectively, and closing in fast. And, of course, in the last election (2008), Stearns’ top two contributors were AT&T and the National Cable & Telco Association. Verizon was fourth. But I’m sure that has nothing whatsoever to do with Stearn’s confusion over the FCC report. Couldn’t possibly be… And people wonder why every day citizens think that DC is corrupt.

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Comments on “FCC Finally Admits US Broadband Competitiveness Sucks; Broadband Co's Then Order Their Favorite Politicians To Trash FCC”

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abc gum says:

Re: So?

“This guy got voted into office by the citizenry”

– People usually choose the lesser of two evils … big choice.

“they can’t all be on the take, can they”

– I detect sarcasm

“DC is no more corrupt and stupid than the American people who for vote for such legislators”

– Bullshit. What choice is there … dont vote ? It would be nice if there was a “none of the above” check box.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: So?

My friend, you have to watch it in person. Come to America, watch it in person. If you want to truly understand politics in America, visit any major urban setting and just experience life there and then use it as a background for what is being said in the political arena. It’s amazing.

There is such a disconnect in the States these days with regard to our politicians, it’s unbelievable. They flatout making voting as difficult as possible so they can control turnout. More to the point, as someone earlier pointed out, you’re choosing between corrupt asshole and corrupt douchebag. Yay!

Remember, the way you control elections is NOT by manipulating votes, cheating, or any other nefarious deed that can be traced back to you. You simply make it so that no matter who wins, that person is your guy. And that pretty much sums up lobbying efforts here….

Yogi says:

Re: Re: So?

Sounds real sad.

Actually I had an economist friend who recently worked for a few years in the States, and he said that he could not believe the degree of corruption that he saw there – even saying that basically, businesses regularly impose taxes on the population through legislation.

This practice would imply a very high tax burden, but I believe that actually taxes are very low in the States, compared to other Western counties, so what gives? Is everything just being put down as “deficit” in the national budget? Somebody will have to eventually pay the bills…

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re: So?

So, you retract your prior comment ?
“DC is no more corrupt and stupid than the American people who for vote for such legislators.”

“I believe that actually taxes are very low in the States,”

– Not so. there are many different taxes, add them all up and it is significant.

“Somebody will have to eventually pay the bills”

– Yep. And those who influenced the spending are most reluctant in efforts to pay it back.

Drop That Penguin! (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: So?

“This practice would imply a very high tax burden, but I believe that actually taxes are very low in the States, compared to other Western counties, so what gives?”

Most of this money isn’t collected as tax, but as telecom rate increases. In an interview just out on SmartPlanet, David Cay Johnston states that we’ve forked over $350B worth of rate increases specifically to fund “the information superhighway”; over how many years he didn’t say.

Kasey Krehbiel (profile) says:

LightSquared Broadband

Eventually, the tiered pricing plans Verizon and AT&T and their price gouging, profit-mongering and competition-limiting are going to are going to come back and bite them really hard, and I hope guys like these are the culprits:


LightSquared broadband is “the nation’s first wholesale-only integrated wireless broadband and satellite network.” It’s 4G LTE backed up by satellite. Hopefully, this will be the final straw toward a single bill for communications access. No more phone, then internet, then TV, then cell phone, then cell internet bills. Hopefully.

Alatar says:

Opposed to here in France

Here the situation is quite different : we’ve got high competition in the broadband Internet domain, but miserable in the mobile operators part, while in the US competition is fierce in mobile and non-existent in broadband.

Maybe we should propose a merger between France and the US, in which we would keep France’s DSL operators and USA’s mobile ones…

Anonymous Coward says:

Granny told me. Sit down here beside me my young one and let me tell how it’s done. The rich control the land and the only hope you have is by staying away from Politicians, Lawyers and Police. They can’t be trusted because they lie for a living. They will lie every time to get what they want. They have no conscience to appeal to. They have no problem selling you out to get what they believe is their right because of their power. Stay away from them and you will live a long and prosperous life.

cybercy2010 (profile) says:

It sounds like most of you have broadband access. No broadband or cable access for me. I used to have dial-up, as it was that or nothing. I checked into satellite service and got a major case of sticker shock. Now I have wireless service, as someone was kind enough to start a company that serves rural communities. One monthly fee, as many “toys” as I want can be used.

Cynyr (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I have something like broadband… 400-500KB/sec down, and 40KB/sec up. Should i decide to use that whole 40KB up, my pings go out to 1200ms. Since I live in an apartment and the complex has agreements with 2 providers, thats all I get, local telco, and local cable co. I could probably pay for a higher tier of my DSL service, but when it’s already $70/month as you have to have phone service and dsl service with them minimum(the dsl service is what limits the speed, not the ISP), then a ISP on top of that. I’d like to get FIOS, or business cable or something, but i’m not sure comcast will just sell it to me without a business license.

Anonymous Coward says:

Entanglement can be made possible with fiber.

Now about speeds, the U.S. is a sorry place for people.

In Europe in some places you can get at your home something like.

25Mb/s or in megabytes that would be 8 MB/s down and 16Mb/s or in megabytes that would be 2 MB/s.

Now for people who don’t understand that or are using an Apple operating system that uses a different definition of what 1 mega means(i.e. Apple uses 1000 to refer to thousands and not 1024) lets say what that means in seconds.

150 Megabytes(in megabits this would mean 150*8=1200 megabits or 1.2gigabits) takes less than 20 secs to download.
150 Megabytes upload takes about 30 secs.

CNN was noting how in montana and other places not normally seem as tech hubs one funny thing is happening, people are getting jobs using teleconference to offer help and teach others, this is only possible if people can have real broadband.

Telcos are hurting the economy!

End of rant.

wide awake (profile) says:

there is no REAL COMPETITION in the United States

I recently learned that in France, since the national government has so strongly supported broadband plus cable tv and telephone, the cost is LESS THAN US $40/mo for ALL THREE and the DL speed is 20MB !!!!!! And look at the corrupt crap-system WE get- all because of the corporatism rampant in our US of A. This USED to be known as FASCISM, but now commonly termed CORPORATISM (with all the same EVIL implications of blind congressional support for the evil trans-national, monopoly corporate criminal corporations)!!!!

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