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US doing well in broadband – despite net neutrality

The US cable industry’s top lobbying group has consistently claimed that the current net neutrality rules harm network investment and raise costs for consumers, reports Ars Technica. “Yet that same group is now bragging about dramatic increases in broadband speeds and claiming that broadband prices are going down. The NCTA (Internet and Television Association) touted Akamai's latest State of the Internet Report this month in a post titled, ‘America's Internet speeds continue to soar’. The US is now in the top 10 countries for adoption of internet speeds over 15 and 25 Mbps as well as the top 10 for overall average speed, the lobby group said.” The US does still have a major rural broadband problem, with people in sparsely populated areas often not having access to cable or fibre. But even here, NCTA paints a rosy picture, saying that “gigabit cities are springing up across the country in both urban and rural communities, further driving average speeds into the stratosphere”. There has been a lot of debate over whether internet providers have increased or decreased capital expenditures since the FCC’s ‘Title II’ net neutrality decision. FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who is leading the charge to eliminate the net neutrality rules, says the rules have harmed investment in broadband. “But the increasing speeds, touted even by the same lobbyists who claim it harms investment, are proof that the current rules are working… Major ISPs have repeatedly told investors that they're boosting network capacity and that Title II hasn't hurt their investment plans.” Harold Feld, a consumer advocate and lawyer, suggests in a blog post that Pai's plan to overturn the net neutrality rules could be blocked in court if he justifies it solely based on investment numbers. The FCC has a mandate from Congress to ensure that Americans get faster broadband, but there’s no requirement that the FCC has to force ISPs to spend more, he notes. More at Ars Technica and Blog.

  • Tuesday, 20 June 2017

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