Broadband: NCTA Tells FCC To Focus On Unserved, Adoption


Broadband deployment and adoption have been successful "by all reasonable measures," the National Cable & Telecommunications Association told the Federal Communications Commission Monday in response to its request for comment on a national broadband plan.

That is, in large part due to the $145 billion cable operators have invested since 1996 in facilities and equipment for communities large and small, said the cable trade association.

NCTA said there was room for improvement in terms of broadband deployment and adoption, however, and is committed to working with the FCC to make those improvements.

NCA said the FCC's two priorities should be reaching unserved areas, then boosting adoption by those served but not taking advantage of the service.

NCTA told the FCC to promote facilities-based competition. While NCTA noted that the FCC should look at other countries' success stories, it added the caveats that it needs to get its facts straight and accurate, and account for the differences between those nations.

While NCTA pointed out that the cable industry alone --meaning without government aid in this instance-- has already wired 92% of the country with high-speed broadband, but conceded that the government may have to take a more "active" regulatory role to achieve Congress' goal of "more complete deployment."

If so, the government must do "nothing" to deter the private sector investment happening already in most areas of the country, according to the trade group.

NCTA reiterated its problems with targeting underserved areas rather than focusing on unserved.

"Prioritizing unserved areas also avoids creating disincentives for providers to continue deploying broadband through private investment," it wrote in its filing. "Channeling government support for deployment to areas with at least one existing provider - whether through grants or some other form of government assistance - would give the provider receiving the support an advantage over others serving the same market."