Federal Communications Commission Data on Broadband in North Carolina

August 22 – Unexplained discrepancies in the Federal Communications Commission’s data on broadband availability about North Carolina mar their reliability, according to a June 2008 report commissioned by the e-NC Authority.

Broadband Census North Carolina (Sidebar)

By William G. Korver, Reporter, BroadbandCensus.com; and Drew Clark, Editor, BroadbandCensus.com

August 22 – In its bi-annual report released in March 2008, the Federal Communications Commission states that there are more than two broadband providers in every ZIP code in North Carolina as of June 30, 2007.

However, unexplained discrepancies in the FCC’s data mar its reliability, according to a June 2008 report commissioned by the e-NC Authority, a state-chartered non-profit organization responsible for coordinating statewide broadband policy.

On pages 57-59 of the June 2008 report, “Capturing the Promise of Broadband for North Carolina and America,” the authors carefully lay out the discrepancies in the FCC data. (See the link below.)

The number of broadband lines on June 30, 2006, and on December 31, 2006, cannot be correct, says the e-NC report. According to the FCC report, the number of asymmetric DSL (ADSL) lines grew from 561,102 in June 2006 to 648,201 in December 2006; while the number of cable modem lines grew from 650,757 in June 2006 to 1,040,513 in December 2006.

“While the increase in the number of ADSL lines is plausible, the 60 percent increase in the number of cable modem lines is not, as it vastly exceeds the percentage increase in cable modem lines anywhere else in the United States during that period and is not offset by decreases in the number of ADSL lines,” read the e-NC report, which was written by attorneys Jim Baller and Casey Lide of the Baller Herbst Law Group.

The e-NC report also notes that the June 2007 FCC report introduced further discrepancies, and unaccountably ranks North Carolina 11th among the states in its percentage of household broadband penetration.

The e-NC report summarizes North Carolina’s own data-collection efforts, including percentage of DSL and cable modem service at the end of 2006 for each of the 100 counties in the state.

With respect to the FCC report for North Carolina, the agency recently increased the definition of broadband from 200 Kilobits per second (Kbps) to 768 Kbps, however, since the June 2007 data was collected. Consequently, some of what the FCC classified as broadband in the March 2008 report is likely no longer considered to be high-speed Internet.

According to the June 2007 FCC report, 32 percent of ZIP codes in North Carolina, with high-speed lines in service, had ten or more broadband providers. The following is the data collected by the FCC concerning the percentage of ZIP codes on June 30, 2007 with high-speed lines in service in North Carolina:

Zero 0
One 0
Two 0
Three 3
Four 6
Five 10
Six 12
Seven 15
Eight 11
Nine 11
>=Ten 32

The initial set of data listed below regards the amount of high-speed providers by technology in North Carolina as of June 30, 2007. The number that appears in parenthesis concerns the amount of high-speed lines per technology North Carolina. Both set of figures are from the FCC’s March 2008 report.

ADSL- 33 (725,396)
SDSL- 18 (24,100)
Traditional Wireline- 20 (21,531)
Cable Modem- 13 (1,134,075)
Fiber- 11 (5,683)
satellite- 1, 2 or 3 (*)
fixed wireless- 8 (*)
mobile wireless- 5 (*)
power line and other- 0 (0)
Total (unduplicated)- 65 (2,894,042)

Of the 2,894,042 high-speed lines in North Carolina the FCC states that 1,877,677 were residential as of June 30, 2007, while 1,016,365 were business high-speed lines.

The overall amount of lines has risen from 205,100 in June 2001 to the number of 2,894,042 in June 2007, according to the FCC.

Only 85 percent of the time did residential end-user premises have access to high-speed services (xDSL availability) where state ILECs (incumbant local exchange carriers) offered local telephone service in North Carolina, according to the March 2008 report.

However, North Carolina ranks far better (96 percent) in terms of residential end-user premises in the state of New York having high-speed Internet services available (cable modem) where cable systems provide cable television service.

The following are the amounts of ADSL high-speed lines and Coaxial cable lines found in North Carolina as of June 2007, according to the FCC March 2008 report:

ADSL- 725,396
Coaxial Cable – 1,134,075

Editor’s Note: The FCC states that * means data has been withheld to maintain carrier confidentiality.

Articles and Documents Referenced by this Sidebar:

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