US Broadband Rollout Receives Failing Grade, FCC Says

Posted on Posted in general, Human Geography, Political Geography

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!)

2 thoughts on “US Broadband Rollout Receives Failing Grade, FCC Says

  1. Can you explain this:

    “Not this concerns access, not subscription, which is a critique some on the FCC have made about the report.”

  2. Of course Verizon, and likely other wireless companies, would have a problem with these changes. Since it pretty much invalidates 3g service as a broadband technology, and functionally 4g under real world application. I’m not sure I completely agree with 4 mbps as being the broadband minimum point of entry. Though in terms of the draconian limits placed upon the monthly download caps, matched by the majority of wireless/cell service providers, how could the FCC ever consider that “broadband”. When one can blow the typical 5 GB download limit in several hours (few unlimited cell options, none in rural areas), this isn’t “broadband”. Dial-up can transfer quite a lot more on a monthly basis (though certainly not with any throughput). I think the rural broadband initiative was meant in spirit to address this very problem. Rural folk have few, if any options, and poor rural communities have none. This needs to be treated like the last mile of phone service was back in the day when government actually did things. It is really holding us back as a country, not just in the country. My 10 cents.

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