Mar 202008

Today Strategic client Tellabs released some interesting survey data. Tellabs used the subscription lists of leading trade publications to ask telecom professionals about broadband — what the definition of broadband should be, and the state of availability in the United States. Over 450 respondents shared some very strong opinions on this important issue.

There are 14 countries that get broadband to a higher percentage of their citizens than the U.S. I get the fact we’re a larger country, and its tougher for us than say a Korea or a Denmark. But can’t we do better? Some of the tools seem to be there already — for example, every American already pays a fee on their monthly bill (Universal Access Fund) to subsidize phones lines to rural areas. It’s 2008 — can’t we take that money and switch it from voice to broadband?

Nine out of ten telecom professionals think the FCC definition of broadband isn’t true. Industry pros are very concerned about the gap in broadband availability in this country, and they want something done about it. Some percentages from the survey:

  • 94% think the current FCC definition of 200/kbs isn’t a true broadband experience
  • 79% think where you live should not dictate availability
  • 81% think the government should use some of the Universal Service Fund to expand broadband availability in rural areas
  • 89% think lack of broadband hurts an person’s education, productivity and employment opportunities
  • Here’s a link to the release with full results:

    All this is especially topical in light of the FCC putting out its semi-annual broadband access numbers yesterday. According to the FCC, over 99% of zip codes have at least one broadband provider! And some zip codes have 8 or 9 different providers to choose from! I don’t know about you, but I’ve never lived in any of those zip codes.

    So apparently, all is well when it comes to broadband in this country. This doesn’t seem to pass the smell test to me. Here’s a link to the FCC release yesterday:

    Does anyone happen to live in one of these zip codes, and have another take? Check out Drew Clark’s site, Drew has started this organization precisely to get a more accurate picture of what broadband availability really is out there from actual end users.

    Care to take the survey yourself? Here’s a link to the same survey taken by the industry folks. Please click HERE and add your voice to the debate. If there are enough respondents, I’ll be happy to post the results in a couple of weeks.

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      5 Responses to “Telecom Industry Asks — Can We Get Real About Broadband?”

    1. “8 or 9 different providers to choose from”, I’ve never seen that. And if that is true how many of them are truly affordable for all Americans? The Communications Workers Of America are promoting just that – affordable high speed Internet for all with their project Speed Matters. Check out our website for ideas on how we can make this goal a reality at

    2. Yes I’d be interested in knowing what the definition of “broadband availability” is. I live at the end of a street and cul de sac and I know that it will be years before FIOS actually becomes available. I wonder if Verizon says somewhere that FIOS is actually available here?

    3. You can help out by taking a quick speed test on our site –
      There is also our state-by-state report and an interactive map of connection speeds that you can drill down to the zip code level –

    4. Roger, thanks for the comments. I will definitely check that out.

      Where did you get your state information? If you haven’t connected with Drew at, you should.

      And what’s your take on the FCC apparently changing the definition of broadband? Although based on my read, it’s not clear they are actually saying that 200k will no longer be counted.

    5. Chris,
      Our data comes from speed tests taken on the website.

      While we fully support the FCC’s move to increase the definition of “high speed” from 200 Kbps to 768 Kbps it is still clearly not enough. We believe that “A reasonable national goal would be 10 megabits per second download speeds and 1 megabits per second upload speeds by 2010 – enough to insure a decent amount of capacity.”

      I’m also am not sure that they intend to do away with the 200K measurement, the report they released used the old methodology.

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