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Broadband: NCTA Tells FCC To Focus On Unserved, Adoption

Broadband deployment and adoption have been successful "by all reasonable measures," the National Cable & Telecommunications Association told the FCC Monday in response to its request for comment on a national broadband plan.

That is in large part due to the $145 billion cable operators have invested since 1996 in facilities and equipment for communities large and small, said the cable trade association.

NCTA said there was room for improvement in terms of broadband deployment and adoption, however, it is committed to working with the FCC to make those improvements.

NCTA says the FCC's two priorities should be reaching unserved areas then boosting adoption by those served, but not taking advantage of the service.

NCTA told the FCC to promote facilities-based competition. While NCTA says the FCC should look at other countries' success stories, it added the caveats that it needs to get its facts straight and accurate as well as account for the differences between those countries.

The NCTA points out that the cable industry alone--meaning without government aid in this instance--has already wired 92% of the country with high-speed broadband, but concedes that the government may have to take a more "active" regulatory role to achieve Congress' goal of "more complete deployment."

If so, the government must do "nothing" to deter the private sector investment happening already in most areas of the country, it said.

NCTA reiterated its problems with targeting underserved areas rather than focusing on unserved. "Prioritizing unserved areas also avoids creating disincentives for providers to continue deploying broadband through private investment," it wrote in its filing. "Channeling government support for deployment to areas with at least one existing provider – whether through grants or some other form of government assistance – would give the provider receiving the support an advantage over others serving the same market."