The U.S. Congress has just passed legislation that would require the FCC to issue an annual report on the availability of broadband across the United States. Members of Congress should be applauded for their clear understanding of the importance of broadband availability.
The U.S. ranks low worldwide on broadband availability, price and speed. With the addition of annual FCC reports, carriers will have a much better understanding of where broadband is not yet available and thus know where best to expand. This will be a big improvement from current standards, which state that the FCC needs to report regularly, in which regularly is not clearly defined.
The new annual reports will consist of consumer surveys about the availability, speed and price of broadband. These numbers will then be compared to those of other countries so that the U.S. can work to improve its worldwide broadband ranking.
Current FCC reports have been under scrutiny because they claim that 99% of U.S. households have access to broadband. What these reports fail to mention is that the FCC’s definition of broadband access is one household per zip code.
Additionally, the FCC has skewed the definition of broadband speeds, citing that anything faster than 200K bits per second are broadband, which falls short of the worldwide definition. The new plan addresses this issue by requiring the FCC to break out five speed tiers in its upcoming broadband reports, the lowest tier being 200K bps to 768K bps and the fastest tier more than 6M bps.
The passing of this legislation illustrates Congress members’ clear understanding of the importance of efficient broadband as it give communicates and families the opportunity to connect to a world of opportunity.
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