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.

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  1. identicon
    Nicko, 7 Feb 2007 @ 11:08am

    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.

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