Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Benton Questions FCC Conclusions Based on Flawed Broadband Data
On May 29, the Federal Communication Commission released its annual Broadband Deployment Report, finding that advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed on a reasonable and timely basis. The following statement may be contributed to Benton Foundation Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss:
There is an old joke about a drunk man searching for his keys under a streetlight and when asked if that’s where he lost them, he answers, ‘No, but this is where the light is.’ Unfortunately, we can’t make light of the FCC’s latest broadband report which arrives at a crucial conclusion using, by its own admission, flawed data. Many may argue that the FCC came to the wrong conclusion; others will say that it is correct. But the point is: How can the FCC come to any conclusion when it knows the information it is basing its decision on is flawed?
Recently, the FCC majority has engaged in legal gymnastics to change the standard the FCC uses to comply with its annual obligation to report to Congress on the state of broadband deployment in the U.S. Perhaps we should ask Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendon Carr these simple questions: Do you live in a home that cannot access broadband? If you did, would you still agree that broadband is being deployed on a reasonable and timely basis? That is the conclusion these commissioners are asking 21.3 million Americans to come to. That is unacceptable. Let's stop making decisions in the dark.
Benton, a non-profit, operating foundation, believes that communication policy - rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity - has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities to bridge our divides. Our goal is to bring open, affordable, high-capacity broadband to all people in the U.S. to ensure a thriving democracy.
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