« Older: A response to Sandy Castle’s Letter to the Editor Newer: Let’s Take Back The Tennessee House of Representative Seat for District 78 »
With every passing month, the United States falls further behind the global leaders in broadband Internet access thanks to a combination of market and policy failures. Our markets lack the competition to bring lower prices, higher speeds, and universal access. Our policies lack the imagination and potency to create real change. Meanwhile, Americans pay more money for less service than a dozen other nations. A third of U.S households are still stuck with dial-up, and another third lack Internet access of any kind. Our broadband problem is becoming a crisis.
Yet major telecommunications legislation now moving through Congress lacks a comprehensive vision for how to bring multiple competitive broadband providers to each market offering truly high-capacity connections at affordable prices. Cable and telephone companies hold a cozy duopoly over broadband services with a 98 percent share of the residential market. Not only have we failed to craft policies to bring competitive pressure, we are poised to strip away the nondiscrimination rules that keep network owners from engaging in anti-competitive activity in the Internet content market. Scrapping so-called Network Neutrality rules will not bring us better broadband. But it will guarantee noncompetitive broadband markets for a generation.
To make matters worse, the Federal Communications Commission seems content to ignore the broadband problem and pretend we are moving forward. While the FCC is crowing about an uptick in 1 megabit per second (Mbps) DSL connections, Japanese consumers are paying the same price for 100 Mbps. How long can we afford to be 100 times slower than the rest of the world?
In April, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin published an op-ed in the Financial Times claiming that the United States is “closing in on President George W. Bush’s goal of providing broadband access to every US household.” But Martin failed to mention that President Bush’s stated goal was universal and affordable broadband access by 2007. The United States is nowhere near reaching this target, and the biannual reports generated by the FCC twice a year to monitor progress in the broadband market obfuscate more than they enlighten.
This report by Free Press, Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America comes one year after our first report on the state of the U.S. high-speed Internet market. Broadband Reality Check II updates our previous publication and details new empirical research in this area. Among its key findings:
The United States is falling behind the rest of the world in broadband penetration.
The United States trails the rest of the world in broadband speed and price.
The U.S. broadband market is dominated by regional duopolies of cable and telephone companies that face little competition.
America’s digital divide — between rich and poor and urban and rural areas — shows no sign of closing.
The FCC uses misleading and meaningless measures of broadband coverage and competition.
New Policies Are Needed for Real Broadband Competition and Deployment
U.S. broadband connections are slow, expensive and not available to everyone. Congress and the FCC have the power to reverse these disturbing trends, but they need to take an honest look at the lack of meaningful competition in the broadband services market. Faith-based policy and wishful thinking will not bring broadband to rural areas, and the repeated use of misleading data will not help low-income consumers afford broadband.
This report recommends that Congress and the FCC consider the following policy options to reach the goal of universal, affordable broadband access:
Moreover, we must engage in a serious policy debate going forward that will generate the big ideas necessary for systemic changes that address the slow adoption rates, high cost, low capacity, and lack of competition in American broadband markets. U.S. broadband policy needs a vision for how to bring truly big broadband (50-100 Mbps) from multiple, competitive providers to every community. Absent such goals, we will never regain our position as the world leader in technology.
This is the summary of a much longer report on Broadband competition in the United states. You can read the full report in detail at: http://www.freepress.net/docs/bbrc2-final.pdf
The report is by Free Press , they are a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media and involve the public in media policymaking. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal, affordable access to communications. Learn more»
Bill Larson is is politically and socially active in the community. Bill is a member of the Friends of Dunbar Cave.
You can reach him via telephone at 931-249-0043 or via the email address below.
TopicsBellsouth, Cable, CDE Lightband, Charter Communications, FCC governement, Referendum
© 2006-2017 Clarksville, TN Online is owned and operated by residents of Clarksville Tennessee.