FCC report reveals availability gap in Idaho's broadband market

Idaho's Treasure Valley may be an emerging technology hub, but an FCC report points out that there is a lack of broadband availability throughout the state.

According to the report, nearly 50 percent of Idaho's residents lack access to a broadband data service. Overall, Idaho trails the national average, the report said.

"The situation is even worse in rural Idaho, where 79 percent of residents lack access to service meeting today's speed requirements," the FCC said. "Nationwide, 17 percent of Americans lack access overall, while over half of rural residents lack access."

What's interesting about this report is it emerges less than a week after the FCC voted to change the definition of what a minimum broadband connection speed is from 4 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a report he led that the faster broadband benchmark better reflects consumers' appetite for bandwidth hungry applications like Netflix's (NASDAQ: NFLX) over-the-top video service. The FCC's report revealed that 53 percent of rural Americans can get access to a 25/3 Mbps connection. Alternatively, only 8 percent of urban Americans can get a 25/3 speed service from a local telco or cable operator.

The move to up the basic speed limit to 25/3 Mbps was met with both applause from consumer groups and opposition from lobbying groups like the National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA).

Michael Beckerman, president of the Internet Association, an organization that represents Internet content companies, wrote in an FCC filing that the availability of higher access speeds has given birth to a new set of services like streaming video. He added that streaming video revenues rose 175 percent between 2010 and 2013, to $5.12 billion from $1.86 billion.

However, the NCTA told the FCC that a proposed redefinition of broadband to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream is excessive.

For more:
- Idaho Statesman has this article
- here's an FCC broadband map

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