US FCC issues broadband deployment report

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published its annual Broadband Deployment Report, assessing progress in broadband deployment across the USA. In a press release accompanying the report, the FCC stated that the progress of broadband deployment ‘slowed dramatically’ due to the 2015 net neutrality rules, but that the actions taken by the FCC in 2017 to reverse the rules ‘have restored progress by removing barriers to infrastructure investment, promoting competition, and restoring the longstanding bipartisan light-touch regulatory framework for broadband’. The report concludes that ‘the Commission is now encouraging broadband deployment on a reasonable and timely basis’. This view is, however, not shared by all FCC members. Commissioner Rosenworcel and Commissioner Clyburn noted, in their dissenting statements, that the report falls short of reflecting the real situation, as many in the USA still do not have access to broadband. Other commentators argue that the report’s findings according to which the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality rules in 2017 lead to investments and competition are flawed, mainly because the new broadband deployments cited in the report actually began during the mandate of the previous FCC.