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Eshoo to FCC: Advanced Telecom Should Include Mobile

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) has told the FCC that it should include mobile broadband in its next Sec. 706 report on whether advanced telecommunications (broadband) is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely manner.

Eshoo was adding her voice to the comments the FCC solicited last month on how it should structure its next report.

Historically the FCC has not included mobile broadband, but said this time around it was probably time to change that.

While Eshoo said, as the FCC has in explaining the exclusion of mobile, that it is not a substitute for high-speed wireless and is "technologically distinguishable," the congresswoman said that both provide a "critical gateway" to the Internet "and should be viewed as such when examining the state of broadband deployment."

Cable operators have long argued that mobile should be added to the mix.

Eshoo pointed out in a letter to the commission that for many rural, tribal and minority communities, mobile is the primary means of accessing the Internet. "The FCC's definition of advanced telecommunications capability should fully reflect the deployment of both fixed and mobile broadband services."

Eshoo applauded the FCC's proposal to boost the definition of high-speed broadband and urged it to consider other factors such as latency and consistency of service in the definition as well—the FCC asked whether it should do that next time around.

The FCC also asked whether pricing or data allowances should be factored into availability. Eshoo said yes. "[T]he FCC can and should ensure this information is included in the 2016 Broadband Progress Report."