Scott Wallsten

TPI Assesses FCC Broadband Availability Data

The Federal Communications Commission released the second of its twice-yearly data on broadband availability on October 29, showing data as of December, 2020. The data, which are available at the Census Block level, show a continued increase in availability and speeds. The Technology Policy Institute (TPI) analyzed the data and incorporated it into the TPI Broadband Map following its release. Highlights of the new data are:

Interpreting Consumer Reports' broadband survey data

In June 2021, Consumer Reports (CR) released the results of a nationally representative survey related to broadband use. On the heels of that survey, CR launched its “Let’s Broadband Together” initiative, which uses crowd-sourced methods to gather more data.

Using an Index to Target Broadband Subsidies

The Technology Policy Institute's Broadband Connectivity Index (BCI) built into the TPI Broadband Map is derived using a principal components analysis that explicitly takes into account many factors of access to broadband.

TPI adds Broadband Connectivity Index to its broadband map

The Technology Policy Institute is adding a “Broadband Connectivity Index” (BCI) to the TPI Broadband Map. The BCI incorporates information from multiple datasets in a way that makes it possible to compare overall connectivity objectively and consistently across geographic areas.

How not to waste $45 billion in broadband subsidies

In the middle of the pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission used a reverse auction process to save taxpayers about $7 billion on projected expenses of $16 billion for broadband service to unserved areas — nearly a 50 percent savings!

Kentucky, Louisiana, and some Tribal areas lead early uptake of Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

Kentucky, Louisiana and Tribal areas have the largest shares of households signing up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program subsidy. The Technology Policy Institute's (TPI) Broadband Map uses EBB data from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to display program usage and overall progress across the country.

Does Competition Between Cable and Fiber Increase Adoption?

US broadband policy has emphasized the importance of facilities-based competition given its potential to encourage investment, improve quality, and lower prices. A natural question to ask today is whether this competition can encourage more adoption. Using Census-tract-level data from the Federal Communications Commission and the American Community Survey (ACS) from 2017-2019, Wallsten finds that competition between cable and fiber does not seem to bring the last group of unconnected people online.

Net Neutrality, Veterans, and Telehealth: The Beginning of a Regulatory Morass?

California’s net neutrality law, which a federal district court upheld in February, is already wading into the regulatory morass that brought down past regulatory regimes charged with maintaining neutrality in rail transport and energy.

Surprise! The FCC Has Been Collecting Broadband Price Data for Years

Since 2014, the Federal Communications Commission has collected detailed price data on nearly 24,000 broadband plans through its “Urban Rate Survey.” The FCC uses the survey data to “determine the reasonable comparability benchmarks for fixed voice and broadband rates for universal service purposes.” The presence of this data and analysis of it yield three conclusions:

You’ve Been Served: Defining Broadband as 100/100 is not 100

The pandemic has caused the U.S. to take seriously the question of how to make sure all residents have broadband access for remote learning, telehealth, government services, work, job training, and other activities necessary to participate fully in society. Unfortunately, the calls to define broadband as a connection offering symmetric, 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload bandwidth (100/100) are arbitrary, with no evidence supporting these numbers. Every application commonly used for key services, as well as popular entertainment streaming services, rely on far less than 100 Mbps.