Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Obama administration, FCC use incumbent "broadband adoption" talking point designed to shift attention from nation's telecom infrastructure deficiencies

Obama Seeks Broadband for 20 Million More Low-Income Subscribers - The New York Times: The White House also released a report outlining the economic effects of broadband adoption, focused on how families without broadband at home are at a disadvantage in finding jobs.

Once again, the Obama administration and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission conflate access to advanced telecommunications service with its use. They are two different things. The unfortunate use of the term "broadband adoption" parrots a favorite talking point of the legacy telephone and cable companies to take the focus off the nation's telecommunications infrastructure deficiencies that leave some 34 million Americans without access to landline premise service according to the FCC's most recent estimate released in January. After all, the incumbent argument goes, why should we build Internet telecom infrastructure when people aren't using computers at home and therefore not adopting "broadband?"

The term "broadband" dates back to the late 1990s when people were beginning to migrate from narrowband, dial up Internet service to faster "broadband" connections. The context there was personal computer connections to the Internet. Which is also outdated given that today, Internet connections also provide voice and video services that don't require a personal computer.

As long as policymakers insist upon living in 1999, it will be difficult for America to advance into the 21st century.

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