Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Broadband Statistics and the Lack of Transparency

Above is a prepresentative page constituting the sum total of the FCC's broadband statistics compilation. Might the FCC have both the incentive and the ability to overstate penetration? I'll answer that question with a big yes! The FCC currently uses a 200 kilobits per second threshold and counts an entire zip code as served should one e-rate or other subscriber exist. Even with a 768 kbps thershold and greater geographical granularity the overstate remains. First the FCC does not use actual, measured throughput, but instead relies on carrier reports. Carriers sharing the FCC's incentive to overstate success can claim to meet the 200 or 768 kbps threshold based on a theoretical possibility. So the FCC can reach double digits even in rural areas based on the bogus assumption that 2G terrestrial wireless and satellite broadband exceed a theoretical throughput floor.

Additionally the FCC makes no price comparison, so a triple digit monthly subscription rate offers no disincentive at least for counting options.

The FCC proves the adage that there are lies, damn lies and statistics designed to prove a mission accomplished.