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FCC begins review to make broadband data available

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday said it would take public comments about a petition by public interest group Free Press to make data on broadband access rates more broadly available.

The request by Free Press focuses on a database the agency already has, on information about where broadband providers offer their service. That information, which is not public except for some charts, is meant to help the agency see where consumers have no access or few choices of service providers.

Data have taken a spotlight at the FCC as it proposed in the national broadband plan to collect pricing and speed information of consumers. The information will be used, among other things, to see if Internet service providers are living up to their promises of advertised services.

"This is an opportunity for the agency to make good on their commitment to transparent data-driven policymaking and is consistent with their recommendations in the broadband plan to make the data it collects available to the public,” said Ben Scott, policy director at Free Press.

The agency said comments are due April 19. It will then seek reply comments that will be due May 4.

By Cecilia Kang  |  March 19, 2010; 4:19 PM ET
 
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Comments

Note that Google reporter Cecilia Kang quotes Ben Scott, a Google lobbyist, in this article but provides no independent or dissenting opinion.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | March 20, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

In Brett Glass' sad little paranoid mind, if you work on an issue, and that issue intersects with the advocacy of Google, then you are then a Google lobbyist.

OK. Let's accept that. Public Knowledge is a strong advocate for special access regulatory reform. So is Brett. Therefore, Harold Feld is a Lariet.net lobbyist.

WaPo editors: Brett's trolling lunacy aside, there were blatant spam ads in another one of these comment threads. Any quality control over there at all? Brett's lunacy and racism are one thing, but Phishing scams in these threads are not very amusing.

Posted by: BrettsLimpD | March 20, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Gee, it's obvious that people play nasty inside the Beltway. (The poster above is, I would guess, one of Google's lobbyists, for whom my observations above hit close to home.)

In any case, commentary on and critical analysis of news reporting, and in particular pointing out bias and conflicts of interest in the press, are vital to democracy and are my First Amendment right.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | March 20, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Not to pick on BrettGlass but would you please provide us with some "independent or dissenting opinions"?

And please, stop accusing everybody of being a Google Lobbyist - It really doesn't cast you in a favorable manner..

Posted by: SwampFox11 | March 21, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Here's an excellent dissenting opinion -- from an expert at the FCC itself. Every point made in it as just as valid today as it was then.

http://projects.publicintegrity.org/docs/telecom/telecomfoia/10.1%20Feldman%20Decl.pdf

Posted by: LBrettGlass | March 21, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Not exactly sure what the dissenting opinion is, considering the document is over 3 years old.

Are you arguing that the FCC already adequately determines the amount of broadband competition based on Form 477?

Or as far as transparency goes, that the information needs to be kept anonymous for competition-related concerns?

I'll admit the article written wasn't terribly informative about the subject, I guess it is expected that I already know a good amount about the topic.

I don't see how releasing price data would harm a company if it is anonymous, unless you are arguing that people would be able to figure out which company was selling the service based on the speed/price in their area - which I could conceivably believe if the data is presented in a particular sort of manner.

Posted by: SwampFox11 | March 21, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

If you read the FCC's declaration (and it still is every bit as valid today as it was when it was written), you'll understand that releasing the Form 477 data would do great harm to broadband competition, and especially to smaller and independent providers. It would also constitute a breach of trust (would anyone ever file Form 477 again, knowing that the FCC did not keep its promise to keep data confidential?) and a violation of the Trade Secrets Act.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | March 22, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

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