Technology

Comcast Exec Dismisses Broadband 'Hand-Wringing'

Says critics of U.S. status disserve policy with misunderstood, misused stats 3/22/2013 07:56:02 AM Eastern

Comcast Global VP of public policy Rebecca Arbogast dismissed
the broadband bad-mouthers, telling a Free State Foundation policy forum crowd on
Thursday that the U.S. was clearly a global leader in Internet.

The FCC, in its most recent state of broadband report,
concluded once again that high-speed broadband was not being deployed to all
Americans in a timely manner, based on the fact that some people still didn't
have access.

Arbogast said that the hand-wringing over the "alleged
failing and falling state of U.S. broadband" was mostly based on
misunderstood and misused statistics. "That's not the way to make
policy," she said.

She called speed comparisons between the U.S. and densely
populated areas like Korea were "silly at best."

She said the U.S. has the second most affordable entry level
broadband and that the absolute price of broadband was essentially flat while
speeds increase 900%. She pointed out that over the same time the cost of college
has increased 72%. "That's a real problem," she said. "Broadband
isn't."

Arbogast said that the U.S. was also a leader in what it did
with broadband, including its impact on economic, political and social life.

Arbogast derided the oft-quoted stat that the U.S. is 22nd
in broadband. "It is not true. It doesn't even rise to the level of
'truthiness' in the Colbertian sense." She pointed out that the stat
appears to come from a three-and-a-half-year-old study. "That kind of
disinformation is not a good basis for policy analysis."

She said adoption appears to have plateaued, and
said everybody needs to do what they can. For its part, she plugged Comcast's
Essentials program, which provides low-cost broadband to low-income homes with
school-aged children.

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