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
    RuralBroadbandGuy, 7 Feb 2007 @ 9:31am

    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.)

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