Friday, August 07, 2009

Promises, promises: FCC building record to rebut telco broadband deployment claims

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is ramping up his agency's work on a national broadband deployment plan due six months from now as required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

As the plan is developed, the FCC will be heavily lobbied by telcos and given assurances the companies will be building out advanced telecommunications infrastructure and turning up service pronto, as one failed AT&T deployment scheme that turned out not to be such was dubbed. Therefore, the pitch will go, the best national plan is no plan. Just leave it to us and we'll get 'er done.

But such platitudes aren't satisfactory to FCC officials, who have publicly complained they have received too much empty rhetoric and not enough substantive input in response to the agency's call for industry and public comment on what a broadband plan for the United States should include.

Being a careful, methodical lawyer, Genachowski is already building the record to rebut industry puffery with facts. Multichannel News reports the FCC has retained the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information (CITI) at Columbia's Business School in New York, to fact check previous broadband deployment capital expenditure claims of telecom companies.

"CITI will provide an analysis of the public statements of companies as to their future plans to deploy and upgrade broadband networks," Multichannel News quoted the FCC as saying, "as well as an historical evaluation of the relationship between previous such announcements and actual deployment."

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