Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 7:23am
MARKEY HOLDS HEARING ON BROADBAND ACCESS
[SOURCE: Congressman Ed Markey]
Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, chaired a hearing to discuss draft legislation regarding broadband mapping and data collection. The legislation seeks to address the lack of accurate information about the nature and extent of broadband service across America in order to pave the way for the development and implementation of a comprehensive national broadband strategy. In his remarks he said: "I believe at this point there is growing consensus if not unanimity -- around the fact that current data collection methods used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are inadequate and highly flawed. Currently, the FCC counts a single broadband subscriber in a 5-digit zip code as indicating the entire zip code has broadband availability, even if the sole subscriber is a business and not a residential consumer. This can lead to highly inaccurate and overly generous notions of actual broadband availability and use, particularly in rural areas where zip codes are quite large. In addition, the Telecommunications Act compels the FCC to assess the nationwide availability of “advanced telecommunications capability,” which Congress defined as having “high-speed” capability. The FCC implemented this provision and defined “high speed” in 1999 as meaning 200 kilobits per second. The problem is that the FCC has not kept pace with the times or technology. Simply put, in 2007 terms, 200 kilobits per second is not high speed. The bill proposes increasing this ten-fold to 2 Megabits per second."
* Hearings on broadband data suggest Congressional push for national strategy
* FCC Out of Touch with Broadband Reality
Free Press Policy Director Ben Scott told Congress that the Federal Communications Commission has failed to uphold its obligation to effectively collect data on broadband deployment across the United States. "We cannot evaluate problems that we don't measure or study -- much less can we solve them," Scott said. "The bill under discussion would represent a leap forward in our knowledge about broadband markets and inevitably improve broadband policy." The hearing coincides with the filing deadline for an FCC Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking input on whether high-speed broadband is being made available to all Americans. Free Press, Consumers Union and Consumer Federation of America filed comments outlining the FCC's failure to address the current deficiencies of the broadband market, and urging the Commission to develop and implement a comprehensive broadband policy.
* Scott testimony: http://www.freepress.net/docs/scott_testimony_5-17.pdf
* McSlarrow Advises Caution On Legislating 'High-Speed' Definition
National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow told legislators Thursday that while he supports a draft bill requiring better data collection on the rollout of broadband, he doesn't buy the "sky is falling" scenario driving some backing the bill. McSlarrow said that speeds are increasing, prices falling, and that the industry is developing a new cable modem service with speeds exceeding 100 megabits per second. McSlarrow agreed that the FCC's definition of high-speed access, which includes 200 kilobits as high speed, has been outstripped by technology, but added the cautionary note that the government should be careful of legislating another definition of high-speed for the same reason given the pace of change, saying that "what makes sense today may look strange a couple of years from now."
* Broadband mapping is trojan horse for Big Govt. net regulation
[Commentary] Calls by House Telecom Chairman Ed Markey and other Big Government proponents for better "broadband mapping" is simply a "trojan horse" for regulating the Internet. and more government intervention in the marketplace.
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