FCC’s broadband deployment report comes under fire
Ajit Pai, chair of US regulator FCC, has commented on USTelecom’s release of broadband investment figures for 2018, and the FCC’s own 2019 broadband deployment report (which was reissued after problems with data), saying that “the latest evidence reaffirms that our policies are working. [The] figures show that investment in our nation’s broadband networks rose in 2018 for a second straight year, with an estimated increase of $3 billion. That follows other positive news. For instance, in 2018, fibre was deployed to more new homes in the US than any year in history, and small cell deployment more than quadrupled. Average broadband speeds have increased substantially. And the digital divide is closing.” Pai pointed to “turning the page” by reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens and cutting red tape that discourages broadband deployment, one key move being the ending of net neutrality rules a year ago in June 2018. However, several commentators have criticised the FCC’s report. FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said, “This report deserves a failing grade. It concludes that broadband deployment is reasonable and timely throughout the US. This will come as news to millions of Americans who lack access to high-speed service at home.” Homing in on the data analysis, she added: “The claim in this report that there are only 21 million people in the US without broadband is fundamentally flawed. Consider that another recent analysis concluded that as many as 162 million people across the country do not use internet service at broadband speeds.” On net neutrality, the FCC said that eliminating the rules would help smaller ISPs in particular bring competition to the market, an item in Yahoo! Finance notes. “A year later, the bargain looks unfulfilled. Evidence remains scant of ISPs saving money from this regulatory rollback, or working to give consumers faster or better broadband options… Industry group USTelecom said it estimated broadband investment had increased from $72 billion in 2017 to $75 billion in 2018. But its data also shows individual telco firms pulling back.” Read the FCC broadband deployment report and more on Yahoo.
- Monday, 17 June 2019