Every year, the FCC checks in with the industry it nominally regulates
to see whether broadband deployment is going well; if it determines that
Americans are getting the internet they need, then it can legally shrug
off its duty to regulate the carriers and force them to step up the
There’s only one problem: the US lags virtually every rich nation in the
world in broadband speed and price. Given that the FCC is staffed and
led by former telcoms lobbyists and executives, this poses a real
difficulty. Unless the Commission can massage the truth, it might
actually have to hold its corporate pals to account.
Enter AT&T and Verizon, who just filed comments with the FCC saying that broadband in America is fine,
despite the dismal pace of fiber and even cable rollout – because the
wireless carriers have picked up the slack by offering slower, more
expensive wireless plans that combine brutally low data-caps with arbitrary throttling.
The carriers were joined by their lobbyists, the NCTA, who filed similar comments.