FCC Pressured To Admit It Sucks
Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) opened up a can of Congressional hearings on the Federal Communication Commission over the regulatory agency’s understanding of what, exactly, constitutes broadband and how many people in the US actually have access to it.
200Kbps is not broadband, asserts Markey, and he’s going to keep FCC chairman Kevin Martin in a headlock until he admits it.
Well, Markey’s actually drafting a bill, called the Broadband Census of America Act, that would define "broadband" as speeds exceeding 2Mbps – quite a bit higher than the 768Kbps available via most DSL lines.
The bill also requires the FCC to reform its broadband reporting. Under current measurements, based on ZIP codes, artificially inflates the reach of American broadband access.
As he gave Martin a righteous noogie, Markey reminded him that broadband access in the US is dismally sub-par compared to the rest of the world, especially compared to Japan, where 50Mbps fiber connections are available for about $30 per month.
And that stinks, especially since the telecommunications and cable industries were given $200 billion to build out that broadband infrastructure over 10 years ago. The current speeds they’re calling broadband were defined nine years ago, according to Free Press’ Ben Scott.
"We have always been limited by the FCC’s inadequate and flawed data," Scott said, as quoted by ArsTechnica.
Some other things the FCC sucks at:
Ensuring a neutral Net.
Standing up to the telecoms.
Understanding that sometimes people say bad words (and it’s a violation of free speech to try and make them stop).
Standing up to the Parents Television Council.
Not allowing cable companies and telecoms to gouge their customers (something they’re sure to continue without Net Neutrality assurances).
Supporting a la carte television programming so the consumer doesn’t have to put up with 200 channels he doesn’t want.