Broadband isn’t being deployed in fast enough, CWA tells FCC

“More than 34 million people still lack access to broadband at the Commission’s 25/3 Mbps speed definition,” CWA wrote in comments to the Federal Communications Commission. “There are still too many school children who must sit on the library steps or go to McDonald’s for wifi access to do their homework.” And only 38 percent of American households have a choice for high-speed broadband access. Therefore, CWA said, the FCC must conclude that broadband has not been deployed across the country in a reasonable and timely manner.

CWA’s comments were made in response to the FCC’s annual inquiry into the state of broadband deployment, as mandated by Section 706 of the Communications Act.

Most important, CWA emphasized that mobile broadband is not a substitute for wireline broadband service. Even with the new so-called “unlimited” plans, wireless is more expensive, less reliable, and you can’t do homework or apply for a job on a small screen.

In a recent letter to the FCC, 12 US senators agreed. “We believe that mobile broadband service cannot adequately support the same functions as does fixed service currently, and therefore, cannot be a substitute at this time,” the senators’ letter read. A small business owner who wants to begin a new venture today would not be adequately supported by mobile only service. Should the decision to change current policy be made with the technology currently available, it would signal a strong departure from the Commission's mission, while also implying that certain consumers must accept lower quality connectivity.”

CWA urged policymakers to take action to accelerate broadband deployment and close the digital divide with $40 billion in infrastructure subsidies for underserved communities, tax initiatives to spur investment in gigabit networks, and digital inclusion initiatives to make broadband more affordable.

Do you think high-speed broadband is being deployed fast enough in your community? Is wireless a substitute for wireline broadband? Tell the FCC what you think.

 

Links:

CWA comments on 706 Notice of Inquiry (FCC, Sept. 5, 2017)

Twelve US senators’ letter to the FCC (Aug. 31, 2017)

FCC’s 706 proceeding comments page (FCC, Sept. 11, 2017)