Award Winning Blog

Friday, March 21, 2008

Slightly Less Deceptive FCC Broadband Statistics Forthcoming

Recognizing the need for better calibrated broadband statistics, which more closely tracks actual choices available to consumers, the FCC has made improvements designed to increase the precision and quality of broadband subscribership data collected. Rather than generally report on market penetration by any broadband service that offers 200 kilobits per second in one direction, the FCC has expanded the number of broadband reporting speed tiers to capture more precise information about upload and download broadband speeds. The Commission also will require broadband providers to report numbers of broadband subscribers by census tract, broken down by speed tier and technology type, instead of the much geographical region represented by a zip code. Additionally the Commission expects to improve the accuracy of information it gathers about mobile wireless broadband deployment.

Now the not so good news: achieving better broadband penetration in the United States increasingly is a matter of cost, not availability. One would think that with all the in-house and sponsored researcher economic help available the FCC would happen across the concept of CROSS-ELASTICITY, i.e., apples to apples comparison of similarly priced options. Put simply in the current broadband marketplace there are some options that offer comparatively slower bit rates at higher prices, e.g., wireless satellite and terrestrial options. Consumers opt for these services when they so value mobility that they are willing to make bitrate and price tradeoffs, or when they have no better options.

The FCC will still count broadband options regardless of price, so the bad news remains that the Commission’s statistics will overstate what options exist within the same price points.

1 comment:

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