Skip to comments.Why is the FCC Looking Backwards on Broadband?
Posted on 08/22/2012 10:44:35 AM PDT by 92nina
The tech sector is one of the most forward looking, fastest growing, and innovative industries. It represents one-sixth of our economy and investment is going nowhere but up. But todays Federal Commissions Commission (FCC) report on the progress of broadband adoption makes one wonder how the industry flourishes despite being regulated by one of the most mind-bogglingly backward looking and pro-regulatory agencies in government.
The FCC has determined for the third year in a row that broadband is not yet being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion. The Commissions Eighth Broadband Progress Report (known as Section 706) found that 19 million Americans 6 percent of the population lack sufficient broadband, which they define as 4 Mbps. But not only does this finding completely fail to account for all types of broadband, there is good reason to believe it is consistently made to justify the Commissions regulatory agenda.
Only a slight amount of digging reveals the Commissions most glaringly absurd decision: they deliberately ignored wireless and mobile broadband service. When taking mobile broadband into account, the number of Americans without broadband drops from 19 million to 5.5 million a mere 1.7 percent of the population. This is made even worse by the fact that the law authorizing the report requires the Commission to consider broadband using any technology as newly appointed Commissioner Ajit Pai was quick to point out.
The Commissions failure to account for mobile broadband service is not only disingenuous, but completely backward looking. According to Ciscos Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, global mobile data traffic more than doubled for the fourth year in a row and mobile speeds grew 66 percent last year. The number of mobile broadband devices is poised to exceed the entire worlds population this year. And in the U.S., over 80 percent of Americans have access to at least three mobile broadband providers.
So if mobile is the future, why does the FCC ignore it? As Commissioners Rob McDowell and Ajit Pai both of whom rightly dissented from the report point out: the Section 706 report has consistently been used to justify further regulatory action. Its already been referenced to justify the FCC's Net Neutrality regulations and multiple subsidy programs. And just as the Commission ignored the laws direction in crafting this report by omitting wireless, theyve ignored that Section 706 directs them to spur broadband investment through deregulatory actions, including regulatory forbearance and removing barriers to infrastructure investment not new regulations.
Despite the conclusion, the Commission goes to great lengths in their report to praise broadband providers for investing tens of billions of dollars annually into improving access and speeds over $1 trillion over the past 15 years. In 2003, 15 percent of Americans had broadband. Thanks to this investment, today less than a decade later 98.2 percent of Americans have broadband. No matter what the FCC says, thats objectively a great amount of progress in a reasonable and timely fashion.
Remember John Edwards of the "two Americas" theme? This claim that they must step in on behalf of a fictional population who is "deprived" of broadband access is just another vote-getting attempt in order to gain more coercive power.
The small, local co-operatives who have served the remote rural areas of America with power and telecommunications services since the mid-20th Century, were providing DSL to their customers years ago. In many cases, such broadband services in remote rural areas of America, over a decade ago, exceeded the availability and quality of such service to some urban centers at that time.
Now, with mobile services, politicians' desire for more regulation and control is ludicrous and purely self-serving.
And that's the best that we can get, as AT&T is the only available ISP (besides a satellite connection, which has way to much built-in delay for what we do). They don't offer Uverse in our location, too rural, I guess. I can only wish for and dream about a 50 Mbps line!
“...And that’s the best that we can get, as AT&T is the only available ISP...”
If space on you property is available......
As an executive for a publicly traded broadband/telecom company, I can tell you that the notion that the broadband market sector is the “fastest growing” or is a “flourishing industry” is total nonsense. Take a look at the key players and key suppliers in the industry...they are tanking! The reason is the same as companies in most industries...they are sitting on the sidelines and refusing to invest in new technology and broadband build-outs because the Obama economy is in such a sorry state and they do not know what the future holds. While the FCC regulations are also a key part of the problem, the bigger issues is the larger economic landscape, for which I hold the current Administration responsible. I am not a huge Romney fan, but I can’t wait to vote against Obama in November for our country and me, personally.
Any RF and computer engineers here at FR care to chime in on this? I’m a sucker for a technical discussion. 4mbps on multiple channels means some serious multiplexing. With FSK or PSK, you’re looking at somewhere in at least the 10Ghz band or higher based on user density and RF bandwidth. The PSK31 format that the Ham radio operators use might be worth looking into, but at higher bands so as to not step on their toes.
All I know is that I have been unable to get boadband cable or DSL for over 10 years — I am 3 miles away from cable in one direction, and a mile in the other direction. No plans are being made to fix this situation.
My only other alternatives are Verizon USB device (5 gigs per month) or Hughsnet satellite (450mb per day). Better than dialup, but still archaic.
Bump for later
The FCC...'s Eighth Broadband Progress Report (known as Section 706) found that 19 million Americans -- 6 percent of the population -- lack sufficient broadband, which they define as 4 Mbps. But not only does this finding completely fail to account for all types of broadband, there is good reason to believe it is consistently made to justify the Commission's regulatory agenda... they deliberately ignored wireless and mobile broadband service. When taking mobile broadband into account, the number of Americans without broadband drops from 19 million to 5.5 million... The Commission's failure to account for mobile broadband service is not only disingenuous, but completely backward looking.But don't fret, someone will be along to blame this on crony capitalism.
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