Press Release
July 25, 2008

The Federal Communication Commission's proposed broadband goals are "too vague and tame" to meet the rapidly increasing consumer appetite for high-bandwidth video and data services, and they need to be more ambitious if the U.S. is to keep pace with other industrialized countries, according to comments filed yesterday before the FCC by the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council.

"We believe the Commission should be more ambitious in seeking to promote the universal availability of not only broadband services but high-bandwidth, bidirectional broadband services," the Council noted in the filing.

The comments were submitted in response to the Commission's Broadband Goals as set forth in the latest draft of the FCC's revised strategic plan for 2009-2014. In the filing, the Council urged the Commission to adopt the goals outlined in the "100 Megabit" Congressional Resolutions introduced by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV) and U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA). Those resolutions call for universal and affordable access by 2010 to networks transmitting at 10 megabits per second bidirectionally, and to 100 megabits bidirectionally by 2015.

"In this era of expanding user-generated content - from video uploads and peer-to-peer applications to the ongoing development of cloud-computing applications - our government has to move beyond its current view of what broadband is supposed to do," said Joe Savage, President of the FTTH Council. "In order to ensure our national competitiveness, our policies need to recognize that consumers will need vastly expanded bandwidth for uploading data, as well as much faster download speeds, in just the next few years."

The FTTH Council's filing cited a UBS Investment Research report indicating that average data speeds worldwide are growing at an annual rate of 20% to 30%, and that the current average speed for downloads is already 10 Mbps globally. It also cited a Cisco Systems report predicting that Internet traffic in North America alone will triple over the next four years, and grow even faster in parts of Asia and Europe where FTTH networks are being aggressively deployed.

"Today, a little more than 10 percent of American households have access to FTTH networks," said Savage. "We need to ensure that our government's policies promote the most aggressive deployment of these critical, high speed, next-generation networks so as to ensure that America keeps pace with the world in the availability of next-generation broadband. And the FCC's strategic planning needs to be brought up to speed to ensure that this happens," he said.


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