ITIF Says U.S. Broadband is Making Progress Despite Conclusions in "706 Report"

August 22, 2012

WASHINGTON (August 22, 2012) - Richard Bennett, Senior Research Fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, addressed the "706 Report" released by the Federal Communication Commission on August 21, 2012 with the following statement:

"The FCC's latest "706 Report" on the progress of broadband deployment in the United States reaches the erroneous conclusion that we're not making reasonable progress toward bringing broadband networking to all Americans. The report's conclusions are not supported by the evidence, do not conform to the statutory direction of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and overlook the non-adoption problem that actually dwarfs the deployment problem by an enormous degree.

In fact, America's broadband infrastructure is moving in the right direction, and is doing so at a reasonable and even commendable rate. Average broadband connection speed in the United States has risen from 22nd to 15th in the last two years according to Akamai, a majority of the world's LTE users are in the United States, and LTE networks are beginning to reach rural areas where the best wired options fail to meet the FCC's own definition of true broadband service. We're never going to bring wired broadband connections to the far reaches of rural America without massive subsidies, so the goal should be to deploy appropriate technologies at a reasonable subsidy level.

A holistic analysis of the U.S. broadband infrastructure must reach the conclusion that we're making "reasonable progress" as a nation. It's unfortunate that the FCC's institutional structure, which views wired and wireless networks as antagonistic services, prevents it from seeing that a variety of technologies are capable of meeting residential networking needs.

This is the third consecutive 706 report to exhibit these errors. Congress should clarify the intent of Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act to prevent future analytical errors by the Commission."

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The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank at the cutting edge of designing innovation strategies and technology policies to create economic opportunities and improve quality of life in the United States and around the world. Founded in 2006, ITIF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-partisan organization that documents the beneficial role technology plays in our lives and provides fact-based analysis and pragmatic ideas for improving technology-driven productivity, boosting competitiveness, and meeting today's global challenges through innovation. For additional information, visit ITIF at www.itif.org or contact Steve Norton at (202) 626-5758 or snorton@itif.org.

Contact: Samantha Greene
Email: sgreene@itif.org
Phone: (202) 626 5744