Next Century Cities, Public Knowledge, and Common Cause submitted joint reply comments in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s Notice of Inquiry on broadband deployment. The groups urged the Commission to increase the minimum benchmark speed of 25 Mbps/3 Mbps as it fails to meet marketplace demands and is quickly becoming outdated. Further, the comments reiterate that because Form 477 data is neither complete nor accurate, it is not a reliable source for evaluating broadband deployment. The agency has consistently relied on overstated broadband speeds and coverage to assign resources. As a result, Americans in the most disconnected communities are left waiting for connectivity solutions.
The reply comments reiterate two important points that Next Century Cities has cited in previous filings. First, the groups suggest that pricing information be added to the Commission’s data collection. Considering that affordability is one of the main barriers to adoption, pricing information is a critical factor in determining whether broadband is both physically and economically within reach for the households that continue to struggle with connectivity. Secondly, the comments cited a chorus of advocates and concerned parties who agree — mobile wireless broadband is not a substitute for a fixed broadband connection.
Click here to review the reply comments filed on the FCC’s electronic filing system, ECFS, on December 9, 2019.