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New Bill: Broadband Is 2Mbps
Proposal would improve penetration mapping
by Karl Bode 09:10AM Friday May 18 2007
Just days after suggesting the FCC should be defanged for disagreeing with it, the cable industry is throwing its weight behind a newly proposed bill (discussed in part this morning) that would improve the mapping of broadband penetration and raise the minimum speed necessary to be considered broadband to 2Mbps downstream & 1Mbps upstream. For years, the FCC has faced criticism for considering 200kbps to be broadband. They've also been chided for a policy that considers one wired home in a zip code to mean that entire zip code is "served" with broadband.

The FCC has admitted their data collection process is flawed, but they've yet to take any steps to improve it. The NCTA supports this current measure (at least so far) because cable providers traditionally offer faster speeds than DSL competitors -- though many cable upstream speeds won't likely reach the proposed 1Mbps qualification point either. Perhaps the NCTA likes the idea of improved penetration data showing shortcomings in telcoTV deployment versus their already deployed coaxial?

At this juncture we'll believe improvement on this front when we see it. The nation's largest providers spend significant sums of money to ensure penetration data isn't easily accessible (via lawyers and lobbyists). Accurate penetration data would highlight deployment gaps to consumer advocates, regulators and competitors, while shining a brighter light on the practice of "cherry picking" and the lack of substantive broadband competition in many markets.


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