Telecoms want cheap spectrum, low standards

Telecoms want cheap spectrum, low standards

Summary: The United States is ranked 19th in broadband speeds with an average advertised rate of 9.6 megabytes per second, Compare that to Japan with 92.8 mbps, Korea with 80.8 mbps and France with 51 mbps. The industry is calling out for more spectrum to be sold off to businesses, more spectrum auctions. But when it comes to defining standards, Verizon, AT&T and Comcast want the bar set very low.

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When it comes to words with nebulous meanings, "broadband" has to be at the top of the list. There was a time when it meant anything faster than dialup. In many places, broadband service doesn't offer much more than that.

The United States is ranked 19th in broadband speeds with an average advertised rate of 9.6 megabytes per second, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Compare that to Japan with 92.8 mbps, Korea with 80.8 mbps and France with 51 mbps.

The industry is calling out for more spectrum to be sold off to businesses, more spectrum auctions. "We can't wait eight to 11 years for additional spectrum," CTIA President Steve Largent told reporters after a speech by Blair Levin, the FCC's top broadband official.

Levin told industry executives at that speech this morning that "A key input is spectrum. There is consensus in the record; there is not enough of it," Reuters reported.

So, what are providers going to do with all that spectrum? Provide massively bigger pipes to consumers and businesses? Well, in letters to the FCC the big telecoms all encouraged the FCC to keep its definition at these underwhelming numbers.

At least 0.768 mbps downstream and 0.200 mbps upstream.

Verizon: "It would be disruptive and introduce confusion if the commission were to now create a new and different definition." Comcast wants the definition at 0.256 mbps for downstream and upstream.

Hmm. How about a different perspective? How about 5 mbps in both directions, as FreePress recommends.

"We fully recognize that incumbents for the most part will scoff at a symmetrical definition," wrote Derek Turner, research director at Free Press. "The commission must ignore any such self-serving pleas for watered-down standards."

Topics: Government US, Broadband, Government, Networking, Telcos

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4 comments
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  • Talk about "clear as mud"!

    First, we have no way of comparing the "advertised" speeds in Japan - vs - U.S. without doing some "graduate level" research because the units are archaic and best suited to showcasing advertising.
    Second, the carriers seem to be wanting to use the equivalent of ounces when requesting spectrum but use lbs to lure consumers to make it appear that we are getting a "great deal"!
    kd5auq
  • Of course comcast wants to lower the definition

    this way instead of having to upgrade their equipment to reach speeds considered "broadband" they just want to lower the definition and be able to claim they are.
    John Zern
  • Telecom Company's Different Perspective

    Telecom companies has always viewed the market in different perspective. It has changed the momentum of the growing technology and that is the reason they are facing lot of difficulties.
    Hardik Upadhyay
  • Advertised rate...

    As providers over sugscribe their ciruits the advertised rates become less and less likely.

    In truth I care less about what the definition of broad band is. One could easily make a case for levels of broadband to indicate varying rates.

    I'm much more interested in build out of areas that are un-or under served due to lack of expected revenue to the ISP.

    I am also much more interested in serving the economically challenged.

    I'd be ok with exploring a public option here too. We are with teh information superhighway now where highways were in the 1700's in america. At that time toll roads were common and taffis were charged for crossing borders and even county lines. Eventually making the roads availbale to almost everyone came to be understood as a way to economic progress and most of those regressive practices were disconinueed. We can learn from the past.

    bernalillo