Chairman Pai’s rosy broadband deployment claim may be based on gigantic error

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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai's latest claim that his deregulatory policies have increased broadband deployment may be based in part on a gigantic error. Even the modest gains cited by Chairman Pai rely partly on the implausible claims of one Internet service provider that apparently submitted false broadband coverage data to the FCC, advocacy group Free Press told the FCC in a filing this week. A new Form 477 filer called Barrier Communications Corporation, doing business as BarrierFree, suddenly "claimed deployment of fiber-to-the-home and fixed wireless services (each at downstream/upstream speeds of 940mbps/880mbps) to census blocks containing nearly 62 million persons," Free Press Research Director Derek Turner wrote. Free Press speculates that BarrierFree ignored FCC instructions to report service only in census blocks in which an ISP currently offers service and instead simply "listed every single census block located in eight of the states in which it's registered as a CLEC [competitive local exchange carrier]."

In an update to this story, BarrierFree Chief Operating Officer Jim Gerbig acknowledged that the company made a mistake in its filing. "There is indeed an error in the Form 477 filings for BarrierFree, and it doesn't reflect our current level of broadband deployment," Gerbig said. "A portion of the submission was parsed incorrectly in the upload process. With the government shutdown in January, we were unable to submit revised documents before the full report went live... We are working with the FCC to improve our 477 data for the December 2017 filing, and expect to have it resolved soon."

Chairman Pai’s rosy broadband deployment claim may be based on gigantic error Read Free Press' filing