Free Press: Shortcomings in FCC Internet Access Report ‘Inexcusable’

Contact Info: 

Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 x 35

WASHINGTON – The Federal Communications Commission released its latest report on Internet access service on Wednesday. The report, based on the semi-annual Form 477 census of Internet providers, is intended to allow the agency to monitor broadband adoption, competition, subscriber trends and service speeds. Though the FCC acknowledged last February that prior reports did “not provide sufficient information to assess competition" and pledged to make changes, the new report contains the same flaws and shortcomings as prior versions.

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

"The FCC continues its practice of releasing highly flawed and misleading analysis about the broadband marketplace that grossly overstates the level of broadband competition. The shortcomings in this report are inexcusable and suggest that Chairman Genachowski's commitment to run a 'data-driven' agency is thus far just an empty slogan.

“In 2008, the Commission made major changes to its broadband data collection practices. The new data was intended to allow the agency to examine the relationship between market concentration and broadband quality, price and adoption. But instead, the FCC continues to fail to take advantage of this information, choosing to publish misleading analysis in the same mold as the widely criticized reports released under Chairman Michael Powell and Chairman Kevin Martin.

"The National Broadband Plan highlighted the need to fix these data collection and analysis problems, yet the current FCC has missed its self-imposed deadline to address this matter. The Commission should immediately follow through on the Plan's recommendation to allow outside experts to access FCC data to make better use of the information available."

Link to Free Press February 2010 letter requesting to review Form 477 data: http://www.freepress.net/files/Free_Press_Request_for_Protective_Order_on_Form_477_Data.pdf

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