FCC releases last flawed broadband report
The Federal Communications Commission released its latest survey of broadband availability, the last that relies on a reporting method that is now almost universally derided, and which the FCC will finally abandon, starting with its next report.
The FCC simultaneously released a separate report with data on local telephone service competition in the United States.
In the broadband area, the FCC has been collecting statistics that suggest that if there is one customer with a broadband connection in a zip code, then broadband is available. It also defines broadband as at least 200 kbps in at least one direction – a long outdated figure. The approach is being abandoned because the definitions create a skewed (if not useless) view of broadband availability.
High-Speed Lines - click here to enlarge image 
The Commission’s next broadband report will rely on definitions and criteria that will render data most agree will provide a far more accurate picture of the broadband market.
Meanwhile, the latest report , with data through mid-2008, attaches numbers to known phenomena: broadband usage is creeping upward, penetration of higher-speed broadband is likewise increasing and new access technologies – notably fiber-based techniques – are taking hold.
Among wired providers, cable continues its dominance of the market, but that was never in doubt. Wireless connections continue to grow at a breakneck pace.
Alternative access means (mobile wireless, satellite) are growing, but not much. The number of power line connections in fact fell.
The report includes a chart that breaks down broadband by speed. There are more than 50,000 subscribers (not necessarily all residential) of 100 Mbps broadband service, at least half of which are apparently Verizon FiOS customers.
The 25- to 100 Mbps category has incomplete data, largely because MSOs asked that their numbers be kept confidential for competitive purposes.
Cable continues to have far greater coverage (96 percent) than DSL (83 percent) – but that considers only where each is available. Cable is available in only 67 percent of all zip codes, whereas DSL is available in 87 percent of zips.
As for its telephony report, the FCC determined that end-user customers obtained local telephone service by using approximately 124.6 million incumbent LEC switched access lines, 30 million CLEC switched access lines and 255.3 million mobile telephony service subscriptions at the end of June 2008.
Of the 30 million CLEC end-user switched access lines, 9.4 million lines were provided over coaxial cable connections, the FCC reported. The 9.4 million lines represent about 71 percent of the 13.1 million end-user switched access lines that CLECs reported providing over their own local loop facilities, according to the report.
Mobile telephony service providers reported 255.3 million subscribers at the end of June 2008, which is 17 million, or 7 percent, more than a year earlier. About 8 percent of these subscribers were billed by mobile telephony service resellers, the FCC reported.
|More Broadband Direct 07/24/09:|
|• FCC releases last flawed broadband report |
|• Cable-Tec Expo gets green sheen |
|• Juniper Networks' Q2 earnings drop 88% |
|• Silicon Image's revenue down in Q2 |
|• Nandlall new CTO at Extreme Networks |
|• Ericsson's profits drop 56% in Q2 |
|• Samsung's Q2 profit rises |
|• Familiar script: Netflix's Q2 tops expectations |
|• Broadband Briefs for 07/24/09 |