FCC Releases Draft 2018 Broadband Deployment Report

The Commission released a Fact Sheet on the Draft 2018 Broadband Deployment Report (“Draft Report”), with a corresponding statement from the Chairman, in advance of a final report where the Commission will report on its annual progress. The Chairman stated that although more actions are needed, the Commission is headed in the right direction and “the FCC’s top priority under [his] leadership remains bridging the digital divide and bringing digital opportunity to all Americans.”

The Fact Sheet outlines the following key takeaways from the Draft Report:

  • The 25/3 Mbps speed benchmark is maintained – finding this is an appropriate measure by which to assess whether a fixed service provides advanced telecommunications capacity.
  • Mobile services are not full substitutes for fixed services – noting that are “salient differences” between the two technologies, including variations in consumer preferences and demands.
  • Finding that fixed and mobile services are not full substitutes, the Draft Report takes a holistic view of progress and deployment.
  • In a change from the prior report, the FCC determines that analyzing broadband deployment progress is most consistent with the language of Section 706 – finding that analyzing progress enables the Commission to determine whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed as the law requires.
  • Since the last report, the FCC has taken many steps to encourage broadband deployment – specifically, reducing regulatory barriers to infrastructure deployment, enacting a Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, reforming the USF program, modernizes BDS rules, authorizing new wireless spectrum uses, and eliminating regulations in the Title II Order.
  • In contrast to the last report (under Democratic leadership), the Draft Report concludes that the FCC is meeting its statutory mandate to encourage the deployment of broadband on a reasonable and timely basis.
  • Broadband deployment remains the FCC’s top priority.

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