Thursday, January 9, 2014

Broadband Mapping Reply

Every so often we get a request from the State of Kansas to provide information on our coverage area so that they can update their maps for the NTIA.

They ask us to respond even if our response is that we are not going to participate.

Here is our response to their most recent request:


Dear Eileen,

Thank you for reaching out to us.

The problem with this survey is that it causes incumbent carriers to overstate their coverage and mis-represents the availability of broadband services.  Rural Douglas County, for example, shows that multiple ISPs provide "broadband" service even though there are large sections of the County where there are no Internet Service Providers at all.

The reasons for this are threefold.

1. Broadband is defined as 768 Kbps.
2. So called "4G" mobile providers are allowed to represent their products as acceptable for fixed broadband applications.
3. By overstating coverage, incumbents guarantee that no federal or state funds will be made available near their service area.

As a result, the survey you are conducting ( and others like it ) have the effect of cementing the arguments of incumbent providers that the US broadband market is healthy, that there is lots of competition and that consumers have a choice of multiple providers.

Since our goal as an organization has always been to expand broadband access, your survey works against our goal.  For this reason we decline to participate.

If you would like to discuss how our state might develop a broadband map that accurately reflects the availability of broadband (defined as capable of streaming at least 1 HD video stream), I would be happy to participate.

Thank you,

Joshua Montgomery