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Broadband Investment Spurs Business Growth and Job Creation, Studies Find

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2009 – Broadband investment, deployment and adoption in the United States will bring significant benefits to the economy, and facilitate business growth and job creation, according to a study commission by the Internet Innovation Alliance, and other groups.

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WASHINGTON, July 23, 2009 – Broadband investment, deployment and adoption in the United States will bring significant benefits to the economy, and facilitate business growth and job creation, according to a study commission by the Internet Innovation Alliance, and other groups.

According to the July 2009 study, done by Mark Dutz, Jonathan Orszag and Robert Willig of Compass Lexecon, consumers in the U.S. are receiving “more than $30 billion of net benefits from the use of fixed-line broadband at home, with broadband increasingly being perceived as a necessity.”

The study, titled “The Substantial Consumer Benefits of Broadband Connectivity
for U.S. Households,” [PDF] examined specific ways broadband benefits consumers and it’s overall effect on the economy. The Internet Innovation Alliance is telecom- and technology-industry supported group urging a national broadband policy.

According to the study, the benefits to consumers are “on the order of $32 billion per year,” compared to roughly $20 billion in 2005.

Based on 2009 survey data, the study estimates that a 10-fold increase in broadband speeds would yield an additional $6 billion a year for existing home broadband users.

Further, this data only takes into account the effects of fixed-line internet connections.  “The sizable benefits to households from mobile wireless broadband services,” according to the study, “are additional to our estimates.”

Broadband is becoming an increasing necessity, especially in the current economic downturn, because consumers are using job board and career information sites to seek employment, which is why people are not cutting their broadband, the study found.

“Economic profits and producer surplus generated by the investments of broadband service providers and the providers of value-added services via broadband,” along with other factors, “amount to billions and billions of dollars of additional economic gain to society each year from broadband adoption,” according to the study.

Regarding the importance of broadband to those hard hit by the economic downturn, approximately 88 percent of internet users “have gone online to get help with personal economic issues that have arisen in the recession and to gather information about the origins and solutions to national economic problems,” according to a July 15 statement of the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Those hard hit by the turn down have not only kept their broadband service, but “are among the most avid and wide-ranging internet users for advice and understanding,” said Pew.

According to the Pew Internet report, “The Internet and the Recession,” the main activities of the “online economic users in the past year” include price comparisons, job searches, seeking advice on personal finances, material on how to improve job-related skills, loans, and unemployment benefits, and checking real estate values, the release said.

Also weighing into the broadband-and-the-economy debate was the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a technology think tank, and Speed Matters, the campaign of the Communications Workers of America. For every $5 billion dollars invested in broadband, according to the two groups, 250,000 jobs are created, including “100,000 direct and indirect jobs from telecom and IT equipment spending plus another 150,000 in “network effects” spurring new online applications and services.”

A fact sheet created by ITIF and Speed Matters also stated that “with every percentage point increase in broadband penetration, employment expands by nearly 300,000 jobs,” partly because “broadband networks attract investment to areas that would not otherwise be viable to many businesses such as rural areas and inner-city regions.”

While consumers and the economy as a whole have benefited tremendously from the use of broadband, many parts of the country still have not fully taken part.

Part of the problem, according the fact sheet, is that “many lawmakers still conceive of high speed Internet as an optional luxury instead of a necessary foundation for economic success.”

In order to fix this problem, the fact sheet recommended supporting tax incentives for broadband providers to expand networks with speed requirements “capable of sustaining the business demands of tomorrow,” encouraging efforts to expand high speed networks to economically depressed areas with high unemployment and underserved rural areas, and connecting programs for affordable computer purchase, broadband access and digital literacy linked with job training for low-income and displaced workers.

Broadband Data

Ookla Has Verizon as Fastest Q1 Fixed Provider, T-Mobile Takes Top Spot for Mobile

T-Mobile was also named the most consistent mobile operator and topped 5G download speeds.

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Image of Speedtest from May 2017 by Daniel Aleksandersen used with permission

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2022 – A market report released Friday by performance metrics web service Ookla named Verizon the fastest fixed broadband provider in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2022, and T-Mobile as the fastest mobile operator during the same period.

Verizon had a median download speed of 184.36 Mbps, edging out Comcast Xfinity’s speed of 179.12 Mbps. T-Mobile’s median mobile speed was 117.83 Mbps.

Verizon had the lowest latency of all providers, according to Ookla, well ahead of Xfinity’s fourth place ranking, yet sat at third for consistency behind both Xfinity and Spectrum.

T-Mobile was also the most consistent mobile operator during the first quarter, achieving an Ookla consistency score of 88.3 percent, which along with median download speed represented an increase from the fourth quarter of 2021.

The company also achieved the fastest median 5G download speed, coming in at 191.12 Mbps.

Verizon also notably increased its 5G download speed from its Q4 metric, attributed in part to the turning on of new C-band spectrum in January following deployment delays and protest from airlines. For mobile speeds, it stood in second behind T-Mobile, bumping AT&T to a standing of third. These rankings were the same for mobile measures of latency and consistency.

Yet on 5G availability, AT&T remains ahead of Verizon.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra came in as the fastest popular device in the country, running at 116.33 Mbps.

Ookla is a sponsor of Broadband Breakfast.

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Broadband Data

FCC’s Rosenworcel: Broadband Nutrition Labels Will Create New Generation of Informed Buyers

The FCC hopes companies will make it easier for consumers to choose a broadband plan that fits their needs.

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Photo of Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel speaking at the Mobile World Conference 2022 in Barcelona

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission’s broadband nutrition labels will usher in a new era where buyers have simple information about what they’re buying, agency Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said Friday.

Consumers should know what they’re signing up for when they spend hundreds “or even thousands” of dollars per year for internet service. She was speaking at Friday’s commission hearing on its so-called broadband nutrition label initiative.

The hearing comes on top of a public comment period on the initiative. Many providers are pushing for more flexible regulations on compliance.

When consumers choose a broadband provider for their household, Rosenworcel said may people make decisions with “sometimes incomplete and inaccurate information.”

“The problem for broadband consumers isn’t a total lack of information, but there’s loads of fine print,” Rosenworcel said. “It can be difficult to know exactly what we are paying for and these disclosures are not consistent from carrier to carrier,” which makes comparing prices and services harder and more time-consuming for consumers.

The comments built on other recent speeches by Rosenworcel promoting the initiative, encouraging state attorneys general’s ability to enforce companies’ commitments through their states’ consumer protection statutes.

The FCC began a plan in 2015 for broadband labels that was voluntary. The new initiative directed by last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law makes this effort mandatory for broadband providers.

Matt Sayre, managing director of cross sector economic development firm Onward Eugene, said residents in rural Oregon would benefit from simple information when considering broadband providers. During a time where dial-up and satellite-based offerings were primarily available, Sayre said his neighbors “never used terms like latency or packet loss.”

“These are important aspects of good internet service, but not easily understood by most people,” Sayre said. “Citizens understood they needed better service but were uncertain about what tier of service they needed. This is where broadband labels can be very helpful.”

The hearing was the agency’s first on the initiative.

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Broadband Data

Small ISP Organizations Push FCC for Flexibility on Broadband Label Compliance

Advocates say strict compliance requirements may economically harm small providers.

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Photo of outgoing WISPA CEO of Claude Aiken from April 2018 by New America used with permission

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2022 ­­– In comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday, organizations representing small internet providers are pushing for flexible regulations on compliance with a measure that requires clear reporting of broadband service aspects to consumers.

The measure was adopted at a late January meeting by the commission, mandating that providers list their pricing and speed information about services in the format of a “broadband nutrition label” that mimics a food nutrition label. Congress’ bipartisan infrastructure bill enacted in the fall required that the FCC adopt such policy.

The organizations that submitted comments Wednesday say that strict compliance requirements for the new measure may economically harm small providers.

Among those leading the charge are trade associations Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association and America’s Communications Association as well as provider Lumen Technologies.

In comments, limited resources of smaller providers were cited as factors which could disadvantage them in terms of complying with the measure to the FCC’s standards and several organizations asked for small providers to be given extra time to comply.

In separate comments, internet provider Lumen said that the FCC must make multiple changes to its approach if it is to “avoid imposing new obligations that arbitrarily impose excessive costs on providers and undermine other policy goals.”

Last month, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said that she looks forward to increased coordination between the FCC and state attorneys general for the enforcement of the measure.

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