Public Knowledge Applauds FCC Broadband Report

Public Knowledge Friday said it was just fine with the FCC's conclusion that fixed broadband was not being deployed in a reasonable and timely manner.

In comments on the latest fixed broadband deployment report, a summary of which was released this week by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, Public Knowledge, which is a critic of large ISPs, said the FCC was right not to "rubber stamp" the accessibility claims (and, it could be added, gains) of carriers.

The FCC concluded that while by 2014, 90% of Americans had access to high-speed broadband defined as 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream, and that percentage had grown from 80% in 2012, that still did not qualify as reasonable and timely deployment. Public Knowledge agreed.

"As the 2016 Broadband Report fact sheet says, although broadband access providers have made progress in developing the technology for faster broadband speeds, this technology remains out of reach for millions of Americans. This is particularly true for rural Americans, Native American tribes, and the urban poor," the group said.

Former Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn is a top advisor to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, but the finding that fixed deployment did not measure up predates him, though it is only under the last two Democratic chairman that the definition of reasonable and timely appears to equate with nothing short of universal access.

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.