Cable Industry to FCC: Google Fiber View of Broadband Competition is Too Narrow

(Image credit: Google)

NCTA-The Internet & Television Association is telling the FCC that it should include all makes and models of broadband in gauging competition in the communications marketplace.

That came in comments on the FCC's framework for its next review of that marketplace.

NCTA took aim at comments from Google and INCOMPAS that the FCC should only consider service with symmetrical upstream and downstream speeds or only service of at least 1 gig downstream as providing competitive service. NCTA said that was a transparent effort to game the competitive analysis by "excluding options that millions of consumers purchase."

It said that limiting the competitive landscape to a minority of available services would be like assessing automotive competition by only looking at high-end sports cars.

Google Fiber argues that competition can be inadequate because of a variety of factors including "asymmetric bandwidth, data caps, and opaque pricing that makes broadband unaffordable..."

Back in February, the FCC's new Office of Economics and Analytics asked for comment on the FCC's biennial report to Congress on the state of competition in the communications marketplace.

That report encompasses competition for voice, video, audio and data services from "providers of telecommunications, providers of commercial mobile service, multichannel video programming distributors, broadcast stations, providers of satellite communications, Internet service providers, and other providers of communications services."

The FCC has to assess whether laws and regulations, or "demonstrated marketplace practices" pose a barrier to competitive entry or expansion of existing competition.

The FCC issues its first communications competition report in 2018, so this will be its second bite at the apple.

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.