Chairman's New Definition for Broadband Helps Bring the FCC into the 21st Century

A more realistic measure of high-speed Internet services will expose the scarcity of advanced broadband competition in the U.S.
Contact Info: 

Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838

WASHINGTON — On Thursday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler delivered a speech about the future of broadband at the 1776 startup campus. In his remarks, the chairman said that broadband users need Internet connections of at least 25 megabits per second — far beyond what slow DSL connections are capable of providing.  He also confirmed that users have few if any competitive options for these kinds of modern broadband services.

Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood made the following statement based on an advance written release of the chairman's speech:

"Americans need faster broadband and real competition in the broadband market, and we welcome Chairman Wheeler’s intent to bring his agency into the 21st century. Some of the chairman’s predecessors liked to pretend that slow DSL was still a viable and competitive option for innovators and consumers, so change on this front is long overdue.

"This is an important mindset not just for the Universal Service Fund, but for the FCC to take into its review of mega-mergers like Comcast-Time Warner Cable. That deal needs to be blocked. It would give Comcast a stranglehold on our nation's advanced broadband market and gatekeeper power over the entire Internet economy.

"The real proof will be in the agency's actions and not just its speeches. Beyond blocking the disastrous merger proposals in front of it, the FCC needs to take concrete steps to promote competition. It must understand that bedrock principles like nondiscrimination apply even in competitive and deregulated telecom markets. And it should start by actually collecting and better analyzing data on broadband competition and pricing — information the big ISPs have been so reluctant to turn over to the agency and to independent researchers studying this issue."

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people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good