US Broadband Rollout Receives Failing Grade, FCC Says

It’s been in several news sources, but I think ArsTechnica does the best job of discussing the issue.  The short of it is that thousands of people are still without access to broadband in the US.  The most interesting thing for me is that, when you get down to it, this is all a geography question.  The initial report from 1999 basically listed a county as having access if a single person had access.  The new method says that 1% of the population in the county has to have access to count, which is still a fairly loose metric.  However, even that one change made the report conclude the US is failing compared to even a decade ago.  Not this concerns access, not subscription, which is a critique some on the FCC have made about the report.  In addition to the geographic change, the FCC bumped up the standards that are now considered “broadband” (a welcome and long needed change, in my opinion).  That also is not without controversy from critics.  What I find oddly lacking in the reports I’m reading about the FCCs conclusion is a comparative international component.  The fact of the matter is that when the US is compared with most other industrialized countries, access, speed, cost per megabit, and adoption are sorely lacking.  Perhaps that should be factored into evaluating the US’s success in broadband deployment (or perhaps it shouldn’t – please discuss in the comments if you’re itching to give an opinion!)

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