ACA: FCC Should Rethink Unlimited Data Requirement

The American Cable Association has told the FCC that it needs to rethink its requirement of an unlimited data usage offering for the top two performance tiers as a quid pro quo for getting broadband buildout subsidies.

Verizon told the FCC that there was no evidence that such an offering was reasonably comparable to urban broadband offerings, the standard the FCC used for requirements for lower tiers of service. ACA said it agreed that the FCC's rationale was "thin" and suggested the CAF approach needed to be fattened with more data.

"Given that it has provided insufficient support for its proposal, the Commission should reconsider its decision, gather evidence about data usage," ACA told the FCC, "allowances in urban offerings for these top two performance tiers, and use these data to establish a 'reasonably comparable' requirement for data usage allowances."

The FCC back in May voted on a framework for letting competitive broadband/telco providers, including cable ISPs, bid for over $2 billion in Connect America Fund (CAF) Universal Service Fund money the price cap carriers—Verizon, AT&T, for example—chose not to take.

The CAF fund is the subsidy for high-cost advanced communications services (to mostly rural areas) that the FCC is migrating from phone to broadband. Incumbents with all that incumbent infrastructure were given first crack at the funds and took $9 million, but that left $2 billion for competitive carriers, which the FCC is making bid on it.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.