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Yeah, Who Wants Accurate Broadband Stats Anyway
The quest to have the FCC actually know what's going on...
by Karl Bode 05:51PM Tuesday Jun 19 2007
FCC chief Kevin Martin may say the FCC's hands-off policies are helping the broadband market, but the reality is the agency has absolutely no idea how competitive the marketplace is, given their admittedly keystone cops-esque approach to monitoring deployment. They've only recently started to correct their methods, but are getting kickback from The American Cable Association, who insists that actually knowing who has broadband will harm broadband growth.

"Our members are doing the best they can to deploy advanced broadband services as deep as possible into the areas they serve," says ACA president and CEO Matt Polka in a prepared statement on the lobbying group's website. "These additional reporting requirements are nothing but a burden that will slow our members down as they look to expand broadband service in their rural marketplaces."

This is in contrast to the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (the NCTA) who has thrown their support behind a new bill that would make 2Mbps the gold standard for broadband connectivity, while shoring up penetration data collection shortcomings. Still, the NCTA took aim at recent OECD data suggesting the United States is in any way falling behind in broadband deployment.

The NCTA, in addition to the fact that their larger cable clients can more easily afford the change, may be aware that improved penetration stats could give their larger cable clients a marketing edge against selective next-gen telco (FiOS, U-Verse) deployment. Phone providers are on a massive push to eliminate franchise agreements -- and subsequently the build-out requirements that forced cable to serve many areas that may not be particularly sexy from a telcoTV ROI perspective.

Still, ISPs large and small haven't liked sharing penetration data that exposes their deployment shortcomings no matter who's asking. Last fall we interviewed the The Center for Public Integrity, a group that's trying to obtain broadband deployment data but is facing serious legal opposition from incumbent providers.

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L337
Premium
join:2005-03-10
Chicago, IL

Are you serious?

Being able to keep track of everyone's history is just out of the question. Think of the stacks of hard drives they will have in QBs!
backness

join:2005-07-08
K2P OW2

Re: Are you serious?

I don't really see why this is an issue... the providers in question know which areas are served and which aren't.

That about sums up the whole thing for me.

hmmm.... why would the data holders not want the information to be public?
nasadude

join:2001-10-05
Rockville, MD

Re: Are you serious?

said by backness:

...
hmmm.... why would the data holders not want the information to be public?
because it would expose the gaping holes in coverage that exist and would show how little competition there is.

In the major metro area where I live, there is RCN, Verizon, Comcast and who knows how many small providers - at my house, I have one choice for broadband, comcast. It is highly likely, however, that the FCC data for my county probably shows "several" providers available.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 edit
said by backness:

I don't really see why this is an issue... the providers in question know which areas are served and which aren't.

And so does anyone who wants to bother to find it. So why should the FCC spend taxpayer dollars to get info that is already available to anyone who wants it?

»www.speedtest.net/global.php
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PDXPLT

join:2003-12-04
Banks, OR

1 recommendation

Re: Are you serious?

said by FFH5:

So why should the FCC spend taxpayer dollars to get info that is already available to anyone who wants it?
If it's "readily available" (and I don't think it is), then the FCC shouldn't need to spend much, if any money to get it, should they?

The FCC needs that information in order to ensure compliance with the 1996 Telecomm Act. Which is, of course, why Martin is loathe to determine accurate penetration data: if such data showed the broadband wasn't being deployeed in a timely manner, the Telecomm Act would compell the FCC to actually do something about it, and that's something he wants to avoid at all costs. Ideology always triumphs over reality.

All that website shows is what ISP's serve a given city.

POB
Res Firma Mitescere Nescit
Premium
join:2003-02-13
Stepford, CA

So easy even the telco errand boy can do it...

Oh yeah, I can definitely see how tracking stats would harm broadband growth...anytime you track anything, it just increases the pressure on the tracker to actually have half a clue as to WTF he's doing.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: So easy even the telco errand boy can do it...

said by POB:

Oh yeah, I can definitely see how tracking stats would harm broadband growth...anytime you track anything, it just increases the pressure on the tracker to actually have half a clue as to WTF he's doing.
The ACA represents small rural cable companies. Their point is that if they are spending their capital dollars upgrading their accounting systems to support 9 digit zip codes for reporting purposes, they won't be spending their scarce capital $'s in increasing their reach to more customers.

The NCTA doesn't have a problem because they represent the large cable companies like comcast, time warner, etc. And their accounting systems can be more easily handle reporting requirements with a much smaller percentage increase in their administrative cost budget than small cable companies can.
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POB
Res Firma Mitescere Nescit
Premium
join:2003-02-13
Stepford, CA

1 edit

Re: So easy even the telco errand boy can do it...

said by FFH5:

The ACA represents small rural cable companies. Their point is that if they are spending their capital dollars upgrading their accounting systems to support 9 digit zip codes for reporting purposes, they won't be spending their scarce capital $'s in increasing their reach to more customers.

Like I said...tracking stats puts way too much pressure on the tracker to know WTF he's doing and we can't have that. What is this world coming to expecting accurate results when there is an entire $0.02 to be saved from not doing it correctly if at all.
--
The Toll

jdracer47

join:2005-10-16
Auburn, PA
Yes, small rural providers like BLUE MOUNTAIN CABLE based in Cressona, PA. BMC passed off "highspeed internet" that was 2 T-1 lines bridged off to 400 or so subscribers and refused to upgrade their crappy service. This while charging $40.00 a month for it and refusing to unbundle it so it ended up being $76.00 a month. Yes they sure needed protection, while they were raping and pillaging their customers. My max speed was around 300K at night, and dropped well below 56K modems. I enjoyed the weekend long outages too, due to no tech support available on the weekends. BLUE MOUNTAIN CABLE is an embarrassment to Schuylkill County, PA--THE BIRTH PLACE OF CABLE TV!!!

Thank you Governor Rendell for Act 183, I have Verizon DSL now thanks to the legislation, it is a damn shame though we had to thwart Muni WIFI to get it in place.
nasadude

join:2001-10-05
Rockville, MD
"...rather than increasing consumer costs with costly billing-code enhancements and reporting requirements that serve no useful business purpose."

smells like BS to me. I have a hard time believing this reporting would be a large burden.

perhaps the method of reporting would be slightly onerous, but if a company doesn't have this information already, how in the hell can they have a business plan? I keep seeing numbers from verizon and att on their deployments of "xxx homes passed", "xxx homes subcribing", so they already have the information, they just don't want to report it.

MrMoody
Free range slave
Premium
join:2002-09-03
Smithfield, NC

1 edit
Another thing it would do that they don't want, is point out nearby unserved areas for their competitors or the government to move into before they can snail-crawl their way out to them. The poor, broke, barely solvent incumbents need protection (cue sad violin music).
nanoflower

join:2002-07-14
30876
The thing that gets me is they all have to have this data in any case. They need to know where there customers are to get an idea on where they need to market harder, and to see where they need to improve the plant. So all of this data is available at any half-way well run company. They just don't want to share the information with anyone (including the FCC) lest someone use that information against them.

wilbilt
Pronto Resurrected
Premium
join:2004-01-11
Oroville, CA

Re: So easy even the telco errand boy can do it...

said by nanoflower:

all of this data is available at any half-way well run company. They just don't want to share the information with anyone (including the FCC) lest someone use that information against them.
Like municipalities that the broadband providers refuse to serve?
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We were taking a vote when the ground came up and hit us.

FastiBook

join:2003-01-08
Newtown, PA
Word.

DOStradamus
MVM
join:2003-11-04
Santa Rosa, CA

Hey! I Know Where The FCC Can Get Accurate Stats.....

NBC/Universal!

They've lately been claiming to know everything.

-NK

batterup
I Can Not Tell A Lie.
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Netcong, NJ

1 recommendation

Oh my poor little chirldren.

Little children, there is no Santa Clause; there is also no free lunch.

The people demanded competition because MCI/WorldCom/CLEC/Teletruth told them it would spur innovation and bring prices down. They lied.

Competition means having to do it as cheaply as possible and that does not lend its self to spending $40,000.00 to bring FiOS to a chicken coop. Look at a map of cell phone providers. They all cover the same profitable areas and ignore the places where there no people.

Why oh why do you hope the FCC or Santa Clause will bring broadband to the great unwashed? Who is going to pay for it, Teletruth perhaps?

Look at this list. Those of us on the top will have every company fighting for our business. They will give us higher speed at a lower cost. The great unwashed at the bottom are not profitable. Sorry Northern Mariana Islands.

Remember it is a business. If you don't like it vote Commie in the next election.

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642 South Dakota 9 - Hanson
643 Tennessee 1 - Lake
644 Tennessee 2 - Cannon
645 Tennessee 3 - Macon
646 Tennessee 4 - Hamblen
647 Tennessee 5 - Fayette
648 Tennessee 6 - Giles
649 Tennessee 7 - Bledsoe
650 Tennessee 8 - Johnson
651 Tennessee 9 - Maury
652 Texas 1 - Dallam
653 Texas 2 - Hansford
654 Texas 3 - Parmer
655 Texas 4 - Briscoe
656 Texas 5 - Hardeman
657 Texas 6 - Jack
658 Texas 7 - Fannin
659 Texas 8 - Gaines
660 Texas 9 - Runnels
661 Texas 10 - Navarro
662 Texas 11 - Cherokee
663 Texas 12 - Hudspeth
664 Texas 13 - Reeves
665 Texas 14 - Loving
666 Texas 15 - Concho
667 Texas 16 - Burleson
668 Texas 17 - Newton
669 Texas 18 - Edwards
670 Texas 19 - Atascosa
671 Texas 20 - Wilson
672 Texas 21 - Chambers
673 Utah 1 - Box Elder
674 Utah 2 - Morgan
675 Utah 3 - Juab
676 Utah 4 - Beaver
677 Utah 5 - Carbon
678 Utah 6 - Piute
679 Vermont 1 - Franklin
680 Vermont 2 - Addison
681 Virginia 1 - Lee
682 Virginia 2 - Tazewell
683 Virginia 3 - Giles
684 Virginia 4 - Bedford
685 Virginia 5 - Bath
686 Virginia 6 - Highland
687 Virginia 7 - Buckingham
688 Virginia 8 - Amelia
689 Virginia 9 - Greensville
690 Virginia 10 - Frederick
691 Virginia 11 - Madison
692 Virginia 12 - Caroline
693 Washington 1 - Clallam
694 Washington 2 - Okanogan
695 Washington 3 - Ferry
696 Washington 4 - Grays Harbor
697 Washington 5 - Kittitas
698 Washington 6 - Pacific
699 Washington 7 - Skamania
700 Washington 8 - Whitman
701 West Virginia 1 - Mason
702 West Virginia 2 - Wetzel
703 West Virginia 3 - Monongalia
704 West Virginia 4 - Grant
705 West Virginia 5 - Tucker
706 West Virginia 6 - Lincoln
707 West Virginia 7 - Raleigh
708 Wisconsin 1 - Burnett
709 Wisconsin 2 - Bayfield
710 Wisconsin 3 - Vilas
711 Wisconsin 4 - Marinette
712 Wisconsin 5 - Pierce
713 Wisconsin 6 - Trempealeau
714 Wisconsin 7 - Wood
715 Wisconsin 8 - Vernon
716 Wisconsin 9 - Columbia
717 Wisconsin 10 - Door
718 Wyoming 1 - Park
719 Wyoming 2 - Sheridan
720 Wyoming 3 - Lincoln
721 Wyoming 4 - Niobrara
722 Wyoming 5 - Converse
723 Puerto Rico 1 - Rincon
724 Puerto Rico 2 - Adjuntas
725 Puerto Rico 3 - Ciales
726 Puerto Rico 4 - Aibonito
727 Puerto Rico 5 - Ceiba
728 Puerto Rico 6 - Vieques
729 Puerto Rico 7 - Culebra
730 Virgin Islands 1 - St.Thomas Island
731 Virgin Islands 2 - St. Croix Island
732 Guam
733 American Samoa
734 Northern Mariana Islands
jdracer47

join:2005-10-16
Auburn, PA

Re: Oh my poor little chirldren.

This must be the Fios distribution schedule, neither my nearest city or county even make the list (Pottsville, PA and Schuylkill county PA).

Anonman

@bellsouth.net
Why should people be punished for where they live?

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA

Re: Oh my poor little chirldren.

Well, on one hand, I do understand the teleco/cable company's argument that some places would take a lot of infrastructure investment without much return. These companies are businesses after all and aren't in the business of losing money.

However, I don't buy their arguments against reporting that they don't serve the areas. It's like the arguments about small, unserved towns getting Muni-Broadband. The big companies don't want to serve the areas, but they don't want anyone else to serve them either just in case they one day decide to move into the area. Can't have competition in the broadband market, no can we? That's just Un-American!
nasadude

join:2001-10-05
Rockville, MD
8 Washington, DC-MD-VA

oops, that one must be a boo-boo - I live in the DC metro area and no competition where I live, no fios, no dsl only cable.

that's the whole point of making this data public, so people can actually see where service is available and competition exists. Then we won't get BS lists like you posted that don't mean anything

asdfdfdfdf

@Level3.net

-1 recommendation

" ignore the places where there no people."

"... bring broadband to the great unwashed? Who is going to pay for it, Teletruth perhaps?

... Those of us on the top ... The great unwashed at the bottom are not profitable..."

Which is it? Are there no people or is it that the great unwashed, who aren't on top, should be left to rot? It can't be both.

BTW, the great unwashed want the opportunity to BUY service like you do. Most of them aren't asking hateful contemptuous fools to buy their service for them.

If the unwashed are such a pit of company destroying vipers, undermining profit, why are these companies spending so much time and effort trying to keep control of these people with anti-muni lobbying and such? Why waste resources trying to stymie other people's efforts at creating alternatives for the unwashed good for nothings?

I don't really grasp why a superior being would be wasting his time, on this site, contaminating himself with the filth of the unwashed.

batterup
I Can Not Tell A Lie.
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Netcong, NJ
The list I posted has nothing to do with broadband. It is a US census list used by all business that is in business to make money for their owners. Ma Bell brought affordable POTS to all but you wanted a free market. Now you have it. Ma Bell is dead and yet the people weep.

DigitalXeron
There is a lack of sanity

join:2003-12-17
Hamilton, ON

...

Okay,

We can analyze the problem until dooms day, but will that actually do anything?

What needs to be done is people must stop analyzing everything and actually DO something about the problems.
--
--Kradorex Xeron

ispjournalist

@internet.com

The ACA is lobbying, not discussing

I'm guessing that they want the FCC to hand cable operators money to pay for the transition from 5 digit ZIP code billing to 9 digit.

Of course it's irrational -- it's Washington, D.C., where logic dies.
DaveTap

join:2007-04-25
Orlando, FL

Re: The ACA is lobbying, not discussing

My Comcast(formerly AT&T Cable) and AT&T(formerly SBC, Ameritech, IL Bell, and recently engulfing Southern Bell) bills both have 9digit zip codes... so does my Dad's Embarq (formerly Sprint) Is there another trend here? Like Telcos buying up smaller companies with better customer service ratings to just to get their names?