Every year, as Congress directed, the Federal Communications Commission asks for comment on whether advanced telecommunications capabilities are deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion (the so-called Section 706 inquiry). Yesterday, the Fiber Broadband Association filed our comments in this proceeding.
When Congress enacted Section 706 in 1996 to help accelerate investments in high-performance broadband networks, speed was the key indicator of success. Since 1996, broadband deployment has surged, and people have come to depend on broadband not just to surf the internet, but for video conferencing, streaming videos and music, and making sure their IoT devices stay connected.
Today, while speed is certainly a factor in measuring broadband deployment, it has become clear that consumers also value other factors, including service reliability and latency. These indicators are essential in providing a superior broadband experience which is why the Fiber Broadband Association encourages the FCC to include service reliability and latency in its 706 assessment.
“Modern consumers and businesses demand more than fast connection speeds. They want quality service and a reliable connection,” said Lisa R. Youngers, Executive Director of the Fiber Broadband Association. “That is where all-fiber networks excel, delivering the highest speed and most reliable service with low latency. The FCC should use this year’s 706 inquiry to catch up with consumers and start measuring the total broadband experience.”
The average home today has at least 10 connected devices and that number is only growing, which means that networks will need to support enormous, responsive, and reliable data flows to make sure everything and everyone remains connected. And consumers are well aware that all-fiber-based services are capable of doing just that. In fact, a white paper found that consumers so valued access to fiber that having all-fiber connectivity may increase a home’s value by up to 3.1 percent.
To ensure that consumers and businesses are getting the experience they desire, the Commission also should keep working to eliminate excessive regulation and barriers that slow the acceleration of all-fiber deployment throughout the country. The FCC’s recent pole attachment order is an excellent example of how the government can reduce barriers to deploying fiber networks. The Fiber Broadband Association looks forward to working with the Commission as it continues to pursue that goal.
You can read the Fiber Broadband Association’s comments to the FCC here. For more about fiber broadband and the benefits to our nation and our nation’s economy, visit our website at fiberbroadband.org.