How Increasing Broadband Competition Can Address the Adoption Gap

Much of the focus in policy circles has been on how to expand broadband access to those Americans without it. This is a worthy goal, but we should not lose sight of the magnitude of the other part of the digital divide: the adoption gap. FCC data shows about 35% or approximately 114 million Americans do not subscribe to broadband service at their homes. Cost is often cited as the leading factor for why Americans do not subscribe to broadband even when it is offered. Clearly, we need a strategy to address this gap, too.

Profiles of Monopoly: Big Cable and Telecom

The 2020 edition of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's Profiles of Monopoly: Big Cable and Telecom report analyzes the latest data available from the Federal Communications Commission to investigate broadband competition in communities across the country. Thanks largely to the power of monopoly corporations like Comcast, Charter, and AT&T, millions of Americans still do not have a real choice when it comes to their Internet service.

Time to Stop Talking About Unserved and Underserved

I work with communities all of the time that want to know if they are unserved or underserved by broadband. I've started to tell them to toss away those two terms, which is not a good way to think about broadband today. The main reason to scrap these terms is that they convey the idea that 25/3 Mbps broadband ought to be an acceptable target speed for building new broadband. Urban America has moved far beyond the kinds of broadband speeds that are being discussed as acceptable for rural broadband. Cable companies now have minimum speeds that vary between 100 Mbps and 200 Mbps.

Why Your Internet Sucks

A transcription of a segment on The Indicator from Planet Money, "Why Your Intenet Sucks." 

One question that comes up regularly in one form or another from listeners: Why does our Internet suck so badly? And I can understand if you live in a rural area where, you know, it's inevitably patchy service, you know, it's hard to connect people. But 80% of people in the US live in urban areas, where we're all clustered together, which means we should be easy to service, right? And yet, our Internet sucks, too. Why is that? 

Verizon expands home Internet options to customers in rural areas

Verizon's new LTE Home Internet initial launch includes Savannah (GA), Springfield (MO), and Tri-Cities (TN/VA/KY). Beginning July 30, Verizon will expand home Internet access to customers outside the Fios and 5G Home footprints, expanding home connectivity options to rural areas. With LTE Home Internet, customers will get unlimited data, and experience download speeds of 25 Mbps with peak Internet speeds of 50 Mbps.

Verizon joins both T-Mobile and AT&T with a fixed wireless offering targeting more rural markets.

Charter’s donations to charities and lawmakers may help it impose data caps

Nonprofits and local politicians are lining up to support a Charter Communications petition that would let the ISP impose data caps on broadband users and seek interconnection payments from large online-video providers. Charter filed the petition with the Federal Communications Commission in June, asking the FCC to eliminate merger conditions applied to its 2016 purchase of Time Warner Cable two years early.

OTI’s Cost of Connectivity 2020 Report: A Critical Review

Advocates for municipal broadband are, if anything, persistent.

America’s Monopoly Problem: Why It Matters and What We Can Do About It

Corporate control over our broadband — an essential public infrastructure — is leaving many of us disconnected, underserved, or paying too much for substandard service. By creating public options and fostering competition, cities and states can usher in fast, affordable, and reliable Internet access, which is a necessary prerequisite for participating in economic and civic life.

Can 5G Compete with Cable Broadband?

One of the recurring themes used to promote 5G is that wireless broadband is going to become a serious competitor to wireline broadband. The Federal Communications Commission and the industry have implied for years that 5G cellular will be a competitor for landline broadband. I still can’t see many homes accepting 5G cellular as a replacement for landline broadband. I can think of a number of important ways to compare and contrast the two broadband products:

The Cost of Connectivity 2020

Consumers in the US pay more on average for monthly internet service than consumers abroad—especially for higher speed tiers. This report examines 760 plans in 28 cities across Asia, Europe, and North America, with an emphasis on the US. Key Findings: