200kbps is NOT modern Broadband

The Daily Tar Heel has a new article about broadband in Orange County. Its called Initiative looks to expand high-speed internet access. Here is a small bit of it:

About 90 percent of Orange County can access high-speed Internet, according to a report released Friday by the e-NC Authority.

The report reviewed an annual study that began in 2002 to track the availability of high-speed Internet access across North Carolina.

“We look at high-speed access based on the Federal Communications Commission’s definition of 200 kilobytes or higher per second,” said Cary Edgar, communications director for e-NC.

e-NC works with Internet service providers to determine what percentage of households in a given area has the ability to subscribe to a high-speed Internet connection.

Here is how I responded in there comments:

When considering these numbers I think its important to know how e-NC defines broadband. New studies put the United States lower on broadband adoption because more modern studies defined “broadband” as higher than services provided to most subscribers in Orange County. Also methods of measurement where flawed in old studies. Such as determining that broadband was available in an area because one company had a T1 line while the rest of the community had nothing.

From e-nc’s website
“According to the Federal Communications Commission, high-speed Internet access is considered to include connection speeds of 200 kilobits-per-second (kb/s) and higher.”

200 kbps is an old number than needs to be updated. It is no longer an accurate measure of what Orange County residents need. Its also important to consider that broadband services in our area are asynchronous. Meaning download speeds are faster than upload speeds. Plus the actual usable speeds of our cable modems are not constant. They fluctuate based on the traffic on them and the bandwidth shaping that is done by service providers routers.

I recommend a report called the Broadband Reality Check for more information about the actual state of broadband in the US. http://www.freepress.net/docs/broadband_report.pdf

I will write something later to elaborate further and provide links to more info. There is also the Broadband Reality Check II. http://www.freepress.net/docs/bbrc2-final.pdf

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