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McSlarrow Advises Caution On Legislating 'High-Speed' Definition

National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow told legislators Thursday that while he supports a draft bill requiring better data collection on the rollout of broadband, he doesn't buy the "sky is falling" scenario driving some backing the bill.

McSlarrow said that speeds are increasing, prices falling, and that the industry is developing a new cable modem service with speeds exceeding 100 megabits per second. The marketplace is driving improvements,  but also said NCTA generally supports better data collection, according to McSlarrow.

The House Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee is considering a draft of a bill that would require the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Association to collect more and better data about where broadband service is available and at what speeds and compare that data to 75 other countries. It would also redefine "high-speed" access so that 200 Kps no longer qualified.

McSlarrow agreed that the FCC's definition of high-speed access, which includes 200 kilobits as high speed, has been outstripped by technology, but added the cautionary note that the government should be careful of legislating another definition of high-speed for the same reason given the pace of change, saying that "what makes sense today may look strange a couple of years from now."