ACA Worries FCC Will Subsidize Cable Competitors

In the U.S., broadband is defined as Internet service with a minimum speed of 4Mbit/s downstream and 1Mbit/s upstream. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) thinks that definition may create too much wriggle room when it comes to broadband subsidies. And that worries the American Cable Association (ACA). In response to a request for comment by the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau, the ACA has submitted its concerns about the requirements for broadband subsidies delivered as part of the new Connect America Fund (CAF). The FCC is proposing a revised "proxy" threshold of 6Mbit/s downstream and 1.5Mbit/s upstream to determine which geographic regions can be classified as unserved, and therefore given CAF funds. The ACA, however, wants to keep the proxy requirement at 3Mbit/s downstream and 768kbit/s upstream, arguing that cable's Docsis technology means services with speeds advertised at the lower rate are likely to deliver actual speeds of 4 Mbit/s downstream and 1Mbit/s upstream. "The FCC should protect the public by ensuring that broadband deployment subsidies do not result in significant government-supported overbuilding, which would cause real harm to cable operators that have invested only private capital," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. (See also ACA Balks at Telco-Led Broadband Proposals and ACA Asks FCC to Keep Broadband Subsidies in Check) — Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable

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