Wednesday, January 07, 2015

FCC pronouncements on Internet adequacy won't address U.S. telecom infrastructure deficit

Only 25Mbps and up will qualify as broadband under new FCC definition | Ars Technica: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler today is proposing to raise the definition of broadband from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream to 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up.

As part of the Annual Broadband Progress Report mandated by Congress, the Federal Communications Commission has to determine whether broadband “is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” The FCC’s latest report, circulated by Wheeler in draft form to fellow commissioners, “finds that broadband is not being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion, especially in rural areas, on Tribal lands, and in US Territories,” according to a fact sheet the FCC provided to Ars.

Unless the U.S. Federal Communications Commission under Wheeler's chairmanship decides this year to reclassify Internet service as a common carrier utility that like telephone service must be offered to all premises that request it, the FCC will find itself issuing similar findings next year and every year thereafter.

Blair Levin, who served as chief of staff to one of Wheeler's FCC predecessors, Reed Hundt, predicted in 2012 that for the foreseeable, the best wireline network available to most Americans will be the same one they had then. Nearly three years later, that will remain the case regardless of any FCC pronouncements of what constitutes adequate Internet service and whether Internet infrastructure is being deployed in a timely manner -- lacking meaningful action.

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