ID Insight Validates FCC Broadband Report, Poised to Support Stakeholders in USF Reform
NORTHFIELD, MINN. (August 10, 2010) — The FCC’s assertions that the U.S. is not making reasonable broadband progress and that over 1,000 counties are un-served has been validated by the first database of its kind, BroadBand Scout from data and analytics company ID Insight.
As an independent third-party broadband data validation firm tracking 100 million consumers and businesses, ID Insight’s assessment of the FCC 706 Report typifies the important role it expects to play with government, industry and constituent stakeholders in the drive for USF reform. Statistics compiled by the newly released version of BroadBand Scout reveals that 1,205 counties are not served by broadband, representing 13.9 million households, and less than half of broadband connections can receive HD video streaming.
ID Insight also reinforces the FCC’s finding that there is a consistency with respect to demographics, namely that unserved areas are more likely to have lower incomes and are located in more rural areas. The complete BroadBand Scout report is available at no charge at www.idinsight.com/BroadbandAvailability.asp.
BroadBand Scout addresses the need to have accurate, up-to-date third-party data-validation tools. Several FCC decisions and actions have stirred controversy that threatens to impede progress in implementing the National Broadband Plan and Universal Service Fund reform. Additionally, states are reporting discrepancies and disputes trying to obtain reliable data needed to create broadband maps. BroadBand Scout provides federal and state agencies as well as broadband project teams with the data they need to make faster, better and more cost-effective broadband decisions, and to deploy broadband where it is needed most.
In the FCC’s Sixth Broadband Deployment Report, released in late July, the federal agency increased the minimum speed threshold for broadband. The new standard increased from 200 kilobits per second (kbps) in both directions to 4 megabits per second (mbps) download and 1 mbps upload. The new metrics returned results that prompted the FCC to revise its previous findings that broadband is being reasonably deployed across the country. The FCC now puts the figure at 1,024 counties unserved, representing 8.9 million households.
According to ID Insight president Adam Elliott, the decision to increase the minimum speed that defines broadband, which the FCC calls “overdue,” significantly changes the landscape. “You get a completely different picture of who is unserved depending on where you draw the line regarding what constitutes broadband. That picture – and the methods of measuring broadband access – is constantly changing and evolving,” Elliott says. “BroadBand Scout allows us to see an accurate and current picture of broadband usage, no matter the definition.”
Using the previous definition of broadband the FCC had relied on since it started issuing reports in 1999, 200 kbps upload and download speed, ID Insight found that 111 counties (107,000 households) were unserved. “How you define broadband is obviously important because that directly impacts where money and other resources are allocated,” says broadband industry consultant Craig Settles. “But equally important is the ability to have a third party accurately measure which communities do or do not meet that definition.”
By using a unique analytical survey process of accessing millions of records in ID Insight’s proprietary databases that were initially assembled to track Internet usage activity, BroadBand Scout can report data based on any download and upload speed, geographical location or other metrics. The database also accurately tracks the service provider and the type of connection subscribers are using down to any geographic location.
Since it launched in December 2009, BroadBand Scout has been providing information to communities, state governments and broadband carriers to verify broadband mapping projects, provide market research and deliver to communities an accurate picture of the current broadband landscape.
For more information, visit www.idinsight.com/solutions/SolutionsBBS.asp.