It behooves us to be realistic, to assess facts honestly, and to avoid rushing to solve non-existent problems while real needs remain unaddressed. The Internet works fine for those of us who have it, but it doesn’t work at all for the rest of us.
US broadband is nothing to sneer at, as all of us who have taken the time to study it in depth are happy to say. Alternative fact reports targeted at naive journalists have the potential to do serious harm, so I would encourage anyone who finds OTI’s United States of Broadband remotely credible to dig a little deeper before firing off clickbait headlines. You might be a victim of fake news.
The Wehe data doesn’t tell us whether the observed behavior is consistent with company disclosures or general net neutrality conventions. While we don’t expect legal opinions from network performance scholars, it’s important to know more about the triggers of network management.
The trouble with 477 is that providers can only report on the areas they cover, while the real questions are about the areas they don’t. It may be that the best way to get the data we need is through the Census. It deserves some investigation even though Pallone and Doyle didn’t raise the question.
So yes, 5G is over-hyped the same way that all breakthrough technologies are over-hyped. The market will ultimately shape it, and we will also find new applications that the marketing folks do not anticipate yet. So in that sense, 5G is also under-hyped, just as breakthrough technologies always are.
Before the broadband benchmark is adjusted again, the FCC really does need to lay out a methodology for coming up with the numbers. It appears than the 25/3 standard was driven by the desire of Netflix to stream 4K video everywhere.
A recent study by the Berkman Klein Center shows that publicly-funded broadband networks are cheaper – but slower – than those built with private capital. On average, consumers who buy broadband service from a government provider pay $10 per month less than those who patronize commercial providers, but their download speeds are close to 7 Mbps slower.
Let’s not be distracted by shiny objects any more. The Internet still has tremendous promise as well as serious problems to solve. Making it better through continuous experimentation should be the top priority.