FCC's Unreleased Broadband Report Already Drawing Fire

Report finds broadband deployment to be inadequate
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At press time the FCC hadn't officially released its
so-called 706 report to Congress on the state of broadband (specifically
"whether

'advanced telecommunications capability' is being
deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion"), but the

report, which apparently finds that deployment wanting,
is already rubbing at least one important legislator the wrong way.
That release was expected Tuesday, but the responses were
already coming in after the report was likely briefed to legislators.

Scott Cleland of Netcompetition.org called it
"stupefying" that the FCC would reach the "unprecedented conclusion"
that

broadband was not being deployed in a "timely or
reasonable" manner.

Cleland saw the report as an effort to justify proposed
new net regulations and regulatory authority. "What is shake-one's-head unreasonable is for the FCC to take a 706 broadband 'incentives' provision of the Telecom Act and twist an FCC report to

justify erecting unprecedented FCC broadband Title II
regulations that would powerfully dis-incentivize broadband deployment

more than any other FCC policy change the FCC has ever
considered," he said.

Net competition members include the American Cable
Association, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association
and the

Cellular Telecommunications Association.

"Saying the private sector alone can't blanket every inch
of America with advanced telecommunications capability is one

thing, but implying that it's stalled is baloney," said
Rep. Joe Barton. "As the FCC has already observed, 95% of the
country has

access to broadband and we have jumped from eight million to
200 million subscribers in ten years. I am willing to reform the

Universal Service Fund and target any subsidies to
the unserved nooks and crannies, but the FCC should not use the
existence

of those nooks and crannies as an excuse for imposing
Washington wisdom in place of private sector performance, especially in

the middle of a recession."

An FCC spokesperson was not available for comment at
press time on the contents of the report, but the national broadband
plan is

prefaced on the FCC's assertion that there is more work
to be done by both industry and government on deployment and

adoption, including higher speeds at affordable prices,
and that the U.S. is lagging many other countries in some broadband
metrics, though there has been hot debate over the figures used to
justify that ranking.

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