Redefining Broadband FCC style

Surely, Our Nation Can Do Better Than This! What’s in a Name? In this case… a lot!

Please REPLY to the FCC proposal to redefine Broadband Internet in order to call un-and under-served regions “served.” A link is provided for you at the end of this newsflash.

The new head of the FCC, Ajit Pai, has proposed that cellular Internet be counted as a full substitute for home Internet access. This move essentially allows the administration to lower broadband standards by redefining what constitutes broadband internet access, rather than addressing an unserved reality in rural towns and underserved (poor) urban neighborhoods. In addition, the standards set during the Obama administration defining broadband as providing 25 Mbps download speed and 3Mbps upload would be watered down to broadband being defined as a 10 Mbps/1Mbps standard, and possible via cellular access.

[To read about the FCC proposal in full, go to https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/09/senate-democrats-fight-fcc-plan-to-lower-americas-broadband-standards/]

Twelve concerned Senators responded to the FCC in a letter that reads, in part:

At this time, such a striking change in policy would significantly and disproportionately disadvantage Americans in rural, tribal, and low-income communities across the nation, whose livelihoods depend on a reliable and affordable broadband connection… In reading this notice of inquiry, it appears that the FCC, by declaring mobile service of 10Mbps download/1Mbps upload speeds sufficient, could conclude that Americans’ broadband needs are being met—when in fact they are not. By redefining what it means to have access, the FCC could abandon further efforts to connect Americans, as under this definition, its statutory requirement would be fulfilled. We believe that mobile broadband service cannot adequately support the same functions as does fixed service currently and, therefore, cannot be a substitute at this time. A small business owner who wants to begin a new venture today would not be adequately supported by mobile-only service. Should the decision to change current policy be made with the technology currently available, it would signal a strong departure from the Commission’s mission, while also implying that certain consumers must accept lower-quality connectivity.

Those of us who have lived with inadequate satellite and cellular Internet know what we have been fighting for and why. Underserved and unserved regions cannot progress, cannot compete, and do not get a fair deal with cellular or satellite internet access that inevitably carries low data caps and punitive contract conditions that are expensive as well as inadequate in the world we now live in.

Ordinary folks like us can comment on this Neanderthal proposal until September 21. You do it by going to this FCC site:  https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/proceedings?q=name:((17-199))

It’s a pain in the neck to be asked to make your voice heard, I know, but I urge you to respond to and politely protest this proposed FCC action.

To read further about this, go to: http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/FCC-Tries-to-Lower-the-Bar-For-Broadband-Deployment-140106

Keep up the fight. We still have to win additional fiber to the home coverage in Round 3. That round does incorporate and anticipate federal CAF funds to be in play to complete NY’s plan to extend true broadband coverage to unserved and underserved regions of the state. Our partner and prospective provider, MTC, has seen nothing to suggest that there is any impact in the FCC’s proposal on the New York State / FCC partnership via CAF funds for New York State at this time. Round 3 awards are expected to be announced at year’s end. That does not mean we should not weigh in on the absurd notion that cellular internet at the FCC’s proposed speeds with low data caps and punishing overage charges is broadband.

Best-Bonnie (Lexington Broadband Initiative)