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U.S. Broadband Performance Less-Than-The-Best, Berkman Center Reports to FCC

WASHINGTON, October 14, 2009 – In a draft 232-page report that the Berkman Center of Harvard University conducted for the Federal Communications Commission – and was released by the agency on Wednesday – the United States was rated less-than-the-best in broadband performance.

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WASHINGTON, October 14, 2009 – In a draft 232-page report that the Berkman Center of Harvard University conducted for the Federal Communications Commission – and was released by the agency on Wednesday – the United States was rated less-than-the-best in broadband performance.

The draft report found the U.S. lacking in fixed broadband, mobile penetration and in average prices at medium and very high speeds.

Titled “Next Generation Connectivity: A review of broadband internet transitions and policy from around the world,” the report distinguishes between countries with successful broadband outcomes from those whose outcomes might be seen as less than desirable.

The U.S. is a good performer in both advertised and actual speeds, said the report. It has lower-than-average broadband prices, and provides the lowest rates for slow internet connections. The same is not true for higher-speed broadband connections, where U.S. prices are higher.

The U.S. began the 21st century in the top quintile of nations in low prices and high broadband penetration. But it has been overtaken by other countries over the past decade.

The Berkman report favorably commented on “open access” policies, including unbundling, wholesaling, functional or structural separation and co-location requirements. Such policies had fallen out of favor during the Clinton administration and particularly the Bush administration.

The report said, however, such open access policies have played a core role in the first-generation transition to broadband in most high performing countries. Such policies have been used in other countries to increase levels of competition, lowering entry barriers and regulating telecommunications inputs.

The lowest prices were mostly found in countries where there were multiple competitors in the market, included those who entered the market and made use of such open access facilities to build their presence.

In the stimulus and recovery funds, the current level of U.S. investment to support the rollout of high-capacity networks is generally higher, on a per-capita basis, than the investments made in other countries.

The report said that the leading countries in fiber deployment are also the leaders in large, long-term capital investments through tax breaks, government expenditures and low-cost loans.

Additionally, many countries invested in supporting broadband demand by including programs such as extensive trainings for adults in the workplace, as well as teacher training and curriculum development programs in schools. Generally, such programs have subsidized computer hardware and connection costs for low income users.

Bringing better broadband to the U.S. must include the general goal of bringing fiber deeper in the neighborhoods, and bring cable as close to the home as possible, said the report.

Fiber capacity has been seen as “futureproof” and will likely scale over longer periods to accommodate the increasing capacities and growth rate of communications needs capacities and innovations, said the report.

An intern at the National Journalism Center, Mercy was a Reporter-Researcher for BroadbandCensus.com until November 2009. She was a business reporter on leave from the Daily Nation of Nairobi, Kenya. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and Education from Daystar University in Nairobi.

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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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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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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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