May 18, 2007

House Dems: Broadband isn't broadband unless it's 2Mbps

Nate Anderson:

Saying that the FCC "has not kept pace with the times or the technology," Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) opened a hearing today into the FCC's methods for measuring broadband availability in the US. The US lags in speed, availability, and value, said Markey, compared to a country like Japan, where most residents can pay $30 a month for 50Mbps fiber connections to the Internet (which some senators would like to see migrate across the Pacific). But without accurate data on US broadband, neither the government nor private industry will be able to put forward a comprehensive national broadband plan.

Problems with the FCC's broadband data collection methodology have been well-known for years, and Congress is finally poised to step in and tell the agency how to fix the problem. The Broadband Census of America Act, currently in draft form, asks the FCC to increase its broadband threshold speed from 200Kbps to 2Mbps and to stop claiming that a ZIP code has broadband access if even a single resident in that ZIP code does. It also asks the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to prepare a map for the web that will show all this data in a searchable, consumer-friendly format.

The mood among the members of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet was jovial; Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) even opened by asking (in reference to the proposed map), "Why do maps never win at poker?" The answer: "Because they always fold." Groan.

Posted by James Zellmer at May 18, 2007 10:08 PM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
Posted to Broadband