Wednesday, September 8, 2004

FCC Report Highlights Growing Broadband Availability

Advanced telecommunication capabilities are being deployed on a reasonable and timely basis to all Americans, , according to a new 60-page report from the FCC. The study found that broadband deployment is accelerating across the U.S. in both rural and urban areas. Some key findings:

  • There were 28.2 million advanced lines (>200 kbps in at least one direction) as of December 2003.

  • Cable modem service represented 58% of these lines, with ADSL representing 34% of these lines as of year end 2003.

  • As of December 2003, only 6.8% of zip codes in the U.S. reported no high-speed lines, compared to 22.2% of zip codes with no reported lines in June 2001. There also has been a steady growth in the% of zip codes reporting four or more providers of high-speed lines, from 27.5% in June 2001 to 46.3% in December 2003.

  • As of May 2004, carriers have deployed FTTH to 128 communities in 32 states.

The 60-page report highlights the growth in Wi-Fi Internet access hotspots, WiMax, third-generation mobile phones, personal area networks, satellite technologies, fiber to the home, and broadband over power lines, in addition to more familiar cable modem and DSL services.

"As other countries place their eggs in the basket of one, typically dominant supplier of broadband, we are committed to broadband deployment over multiple platforms. Deployment of multiple broadband platforms is the best way to meet the President's goal of universal and affordable access to all by the year 2007," wrote FCC Chairman, Michael K. Powell.

In a dissenting opinion, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps wrote: "The history of great infrastructure developments in this country is a tale of private sector - public sector partnership. In broadband, business will lead the way, as it should. But there is a role for government too -- a statutorily mandated role totally in keeping with how this country historically built its infrastructure. When we find ourselves eleventh in the world, something has gone dreadfully wrong. When Congress tells us to take immediate action to accelerate deployment, we have an obligation to do it. When the highest reaches of government aim for universal broadband by 2007, we need a strategy to meet that goal. I see none here."
  • In August 2004, Nielsen//NetRatings reported that broadband connections for the first time reached 51% of the American online population at-home during the month of July, up from 38% of the online population a year ago.

    The research company reported a plateau in the overall growth of Internet access in the U.S..

    Sixty-three million Web users connected to the Internet via broadband during July 2004 as compared to 61.3 million accessing the Internet through narrowband. Overall growth for broadband connections rose 47% year-over-year, while narrowband dropped 13% annually.


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