Thursday, November 01, 2007

Broadband Delimma - Part 3

In a news release titled FCC Releases Broadband Access Data, Proposes Changes to Data Collection November 1, 2007 from CommunicationsDirect News, it appears that there is some positive movement in terms of understanding and redefining broadband:

Kevin Martin, the chairman of the FCC, has also announced that following criticism of the 200 Kbps criteria as anachronistic, broadband data collection is set to be upgraded, with Dow Jones reporting that granularity will be improved to use nine-digit ZIP codes from the current five-digit ZIP Codes. The tiers of broadband service would also be measured with 200 kilobits to 768 kilobits per second considered to be first-generation broadband, 768 kilobits to 1.5 megabits basic broadband, between 1.5 megabits and 3 megabits a second classified as high-speed service, between 3 megabits and 6 megabits called robust service, and anything over 6 megabits a second called premium.

This is positive, but what is still lacking is a National Broadband Policy that allows the U.S. to regain a leadership role in regards to penetration, speed and affordability. Two "old-school" notions that need to be broken, and I think are starting to be addressed by the FCC are:
  1. that 200kbps is considered broadband
  2. if anyone within a zip code has broadband access, then the whole zip code is considered to have broadband availability. (now getting more granular). I'd like to know it street by street!
The FCC is now classifying broadband into certain levels (i.e., first generation, high-speed, robust and premium). This will help to truly gain an understanding of what is being offered. Problem is, what is considered high-speed under this scheme will not be considered high-speed in the near future. I predict 12 to 18 months.


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