FCC Report Finds Broadband Deployment Lacking

Free Press Praises FCC for Recognizing Problem, Hopes for Strong Action to Reverse Decline
Contact Info: 

Liz Rose, Communications Director, 202-265-1490 x 32

WASHINGTON – Today, the Federal Communications Commission released the findings of its sixth Section 706 report, determining that broadband services are not being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely manner. The report, mandated by the 1996 Telecommunications Act, requires the FCC to assess the status of broadband deployment. The Act defines broadband as the "capability that enables users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications using any technology."

The FCC reports that more than 14 million Americans live in areas without access to any high-speed Internet service, a number that may actually understate the scope of the problem. The findings also reveal that less than 2 percent of U.S. broadband connections are capable of originating a high-definition quality video stream, and that less than half of all connections are capable of receiving such a stream.

Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner issued the following statement:

"Today's report is the first time the FCC has determined that broadband deployment is not reasonable and timely, and we are extremely pleased that the Genachowski FCC had the courage to do what all previous Commissions could not, and that is to put politics aside and take an objective look at the law and the data.

“Millions of Americans lack access to broadband, and tens of millions more have only the option to purchase slow connections that fall well short of the congressional definition of 'broadband' – at expensive prices. The facts present a sobering reality of our broadband problem. We pay far too much for far too little, and the lack of meaningful competition among Internet service providers leads to delayed investment and slow technological progress.

"Now that the FCC has taken the first step of acknowledging America’s broadband problem, we hope that it will advance policies to reverse this decline though the promotion of real competition and true consumer choice.”

Link to April 21 testimony of S. Derek Turner regarding The National Broadband Plan: Deploying Quality Broadband Services to the Last Mile: http://www.freepress.net/resource/april-21-2010-testimony-s-derek-turner

Link to Free Press Comments on the sixth 706 Notice of Inquiry: http://www.freepress.net/files/Free_Press_6th_706_NOI_Comments.pdf

People + Policy

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people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good