FCC changes broadband calculation rules

The Federal Communications Commission adopted new data collecting and reporting practices for helping to more accurately determine broadband penetration in the U.S. The FCC changed its methods after coming under heavy fire for using a model that was too lax in its definition of what constituted broadband speed, and was not capable of counting broadband adoption accurately at street level. With the new rules, broadband speeds are defined as beginning at 768 kbps rather than the old baseline of 200 kbps, and service providers must organize data based on the different speed tiers they offer. Also, companies must calculate broadband penetration by looking at census blocks, rather than the old way of looking at a zip code and counting it as conquered if broadband happened to be available for one household anywhere in that zip code. The FCC also said broadband speeds now have to be reported for both downloads and uploads.

These are all welcome changes, though as at least one FCC commissioner noted, they come at a late stage in broadband's market maturation. Some broadband service providers won't welcome the changes, though if they protest, they likely will do so carefully and quietly. Most are reserving comment until they get a better look at the full written record of the FCC's changes in a few weeks. Meanwhile, some Net neutrality proponents may feel the FCC still hasn't gone far enough.

For more:
- see this post at CNET News.com
a survey commissioned by Tellabs details broadband gaps

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