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NCTA to FCC: Broadband Is Being Deployed in Timely Manner

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association Friday expressed its frustration with not getting credit from the FCC for its broadband buildouts.

A new FCC broadband deployment report says fixed broadband is still not being rolled out in a reasonable and timely manner, despite also finding strong year-over-year increases.

In response to the report, NCTA said Friday that, in fact, it was.

“The reality is that progress in deploying broadband in America has been reasonable and timely," NCTA said.

"The conclusions of the FCC’s 706 Report continue an alarming trend of ignoring objectivity and facts in order to serve political ends and maximize agency power," it said.

After several reports under Republican FCCs found buildouts were reasonable and timely, the most recent reports under Democrats have not. That authorizes the FCC under Sec. 706 of the Telecommunications Act—though that point is debated—to regulate broadband to achieve that aim. In fact, given the goal of ubiquitous deployment, likely nothing short of that "chicken in every pot" metric will past muster under this FCC.

NCTA was not pleased with the FCC's continued use of 25 Mbps as a definition of high-speed broadband, at least when that suits its purposes. "Once again, the FCC arbitrarily defines ‘broadband’ as requiring a 25 Mbps connection (notwithstanding its lower 10 Mbps standard used when doling out universal service support), and in so doing, diminishes the Report’s value and chooses expediency over honest assessment," NCTA said.

"Private industry has invested over $1.4 trillion to build robust networks that reach most Americans and, as the Commission found just ten days ago, continue to significantly increase in speed and performance every year."

The FCC released its latest figures on ISPs delivering on advertised speeds, which it concluded happened in most cases, with some of those exceptions where they actually overdelivered.

"The fact that the Commission released the positive Measuring Broadband America report without fanfare during the quietest week of the year (Dec. 30) while trumpeting its Section 706 findings far and wide just two weeks later confirms that this report is more theater than substance.”