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.
Even when the figures for 2016 are taken into account, the numbers show very clearly that Open Internet Orders are a drag on the rate of broadband improvement in the US. The numbers also show that the Title II order did more damage than the 2010 Title I order.
We want our broadband speeds to improve. The data show that the best way to make that happen is to challenge open Internet orders, especially those that classify broadband Internet service under Title II.
What the FCC can do is help to keep large swathes of the American population from falling behind. And it can do this by saying yes to network deployment and innovation. A good first step in that process is to let go of the vacuous virtuous cycle of networks + apps innovation. That argument is illogical.
The nice thing about focusing on wireless for the final leg of the extended broadband system is that it doesn’t duplicate effort or waste money. Despite the glory of fiber optic networks, people want mobility. So wireless is going to be part of the solution regardless. Why don’t we just accept that and concentrate on building the best wireless networks first and fill in with fiber only when and where it’s truly needed?