Federal Internet Law & Policy
An Educational Project


Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY
- Broadband
- Network Neutrality
- Classification of Internet over Broadband
- Sec. 706
- Stimulus Plan
- Natl BB Map
- FCC Natl BB Plan
- Dial Up
- - Naked DSL
- - UNE
- - Net over Wireline (Info Service)
- Cable
- - Open Access
- Fiber
- Wireless
- - 3G
- - Wifi
- - WiMax
- - 700 Mhz
- Powerline
- Satellite
- Municipal Broadband
- Telecom Services
- Computer Inquiries
- Network Neutrality
- Forbearance
- Backbones
- Layers
- Interconnection
- - Negotiation
- Reciprocal Comp
- Mergers
- Federal Advisory Committees
- Universal Service
- Statistics: Broadband

Derived From: Broadband Internet Regulation and Access: Backbround Issues, CRS Report for Congress, Nov. 21, 2008 (copy acquired through wikileaks)

Broadband or high-speed Internet access is provided by a series of technologies that give users the ability to send and receive data at volumes and speeds far greater than Internet access over traditional telephone lines. Currently, a number of telecommunications companies are developing, installing, and marketing specific technologies and services to provide broadband access to the home. Meanwhile, the federal government — through Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) — is seeking to ensure fair competition among the players so that broadband will be available and affordable in a timely manner to all Americans who want it.

Broadband is being increasingly viewed as a vital public infrastructure, significant to the nation’s (and to individual regional, state, and local) economic growth and vitality. Broadband access, along with the content and services it enables, has the potential to transform the Internet — both what it offers and how it is used. For example, a two-way high speed connection could be used for interactive applications such as online classrooms, showrooms, or health clinics, where teacher and student (or customer and salesperson, doctor and patient) can see and hear each other through their computers. An “always on” connection could be used to monitor home security, home automation, or even patient health remotely through the Web. The high speed and high volume that broadband offers could also be used for bundled service where, for example, cable television, video on demand, voice, data, and other services are all offered over a single line. In truth, it is possible that many of the applications that will best exploit the technological capabilities of broadband, while also capturing the imagination of consumers, have yet to be developed.

Broadband Technologies

There are multiple transmission media or technologies that can be used to provide broadband access. These include cable modem, an enhanced telephone service called digital subscriber line (DSL), satellite technology, fiber, mobile or fixed wireless technologies, and others. Cable and DSL are currently the most widely used technologies for providing broadband access. Both require the modification of an existing physical infrastructure that is already connected to the home (i.e., cable television and telephone lines). Each technology has its respective advantages and disadvantages, and competes with each other based on performance, price, quality of service, geography, user friendliness, and other factors. The following sections summarize cable, DSL, and other broadband technologies.

NBP Implementation Status:

Status of Deployment

"According to the latest FCC data on the deployment of high-speed Internet connections (released March 2008), as of June 30, 2007, there were 100.9 million high speed lines connecting homes and businesses to the Internet in the United States, a growth rate of 22% during the first half of 2007. Of the 100.9 million high speed lines reported by the FCC, 65.9 million serve residential users.3 While the broadband adoption rate stands at roughly 58% of U.S. households,4 broadband availability is much higher. As of June 30, 2007, the FCC found at least one high-speed subscriber in 99% of all zip codes in the United States. The FCC estimates that “roughly 20 percent of consumers with access to advanced telecommunications capability do subscribe to such services.” According to the FCC, possible reasons for the gap between broadband availability and subscribership include the lack of computers in some homes, price of broadband service, lack of content, and the availability of broadband at work.5"

"According to the International Telecommunications Union, the U.S. ranks 24th worldwide in broadband penetration (subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in 2007).6 Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found the U.S. ranking 15th among OECD nations in broadband access per 100 inhabitants as of December 2007.7 By contrast, in 2001 an OECD study found the U.S. ranking 4th in broadband subscribership per 100 inhabitants (after Korea, Sweden, and Canada).8 While many argue that the U.S. declining performance in international broadband rankings is a cause for concern,9 others — including the Administration — maintain that the OECD and ITU data undercount U.S. broadband deployment,10 and that cross-country broadband deployment comparisons are not necessarily meaningful and inherently problematic.11 Finally, an issue related to international broadband rankings is the extent to which broadband speeds and prices differ between the U.S. and the rest of the world."

National Broadband Plan p. 39.

Speeches, Press Releases, Hearings

Government Papers




Press Releases


Mexico Communications Network Symposium, Albuquerque, New Mexico , November 10, 1999



Regulatory Proceedings

CC Docket No. 01-337 Comments Due March 1 
Replies Due April 22
Ex Parte Period
Broadband and Dominant Provider Proceeding Express Your Views!  Comments can be filed with the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System.  FAQ: How to participate in FCC Proceedings.

Fed Reg Notice 1/15/02:  Synopsis of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)
    1. In this proceeding, the Commission initiates an examination of appropriate regulatory requirements for incumbent LECs' provision of domestic broadband telecommunications services (broadband services). The NPRM focuses on traditional Title II common carrier regulation, arising largely out of sections 201 and 202 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, as applied to incumbent LEC provision of broadband services. In particular, the Commission seeks comment on what  regulatory safeguards and carrier obligations, if any, should apply when a carrier that is dominant in the provision of traditional local exchange and exchange access services provides broadband service.
    2. The Commission asks for comments on the nature and scope of the market for domestic broadband services. It also seeks comment on the relevant market dynamics--including intermodal competition and the nascent stage of market development for residential broadband services--affecting the provision of domestic broadband services. The Commission requests comment on the appropriate regulatory requirements under Title II of the Act for the provision of broadband services by incumbent LECs given current market conditions.
    3. In particular, the Commission asks interested parties to address how the Commission can best balance the goals of encouraging broadband investment and deployment, fostering competition in the provision of broadband services, promoting innovation, and eliminating unnecessary regulation. As part of this proceeding, the Commission also invites comment on the Petition filed by SBC Communications on October 3, 2001, requesting an expedited ruling that it is non-dominant in the provision 
of broadband services, and asking the Commission to forbear from dominant carrier regulation of those services.
    4. Background. The NPRM summarizes the various regulatory requirements the Commission has developed in the past, which involve streamlining regulation of firms in increasingly competitive markets, and competitive safeguards to ensure competition in related markets.
   5. Identification of Incumbent LEC-Provided Broadband Services Markets. The Commission asks for comment aimed at defining and analyzing the relevant markets in which incumbent LECs provide these broadband services. Consistent with Commission precedent, our regulatory response should be guided by a full understanding of the existing market dynamics for broadband services. The Commission begins its analysis by asking questions about the relevant product and geographic markets for incumbent LEC-provided broadband services. It then analyzes what, if any, market power the incumbent LECs may possess 
in the relevant markets for broadband services.
   6. Appropriate Regulatory Requirements. Once the Commission has defined the relevant product and geographic markets for broadband services, it can use this information to determine what regulatory requirements, if any, should govern the provision of broadband services. The Commission begins by briefly describing relevant portions of the existing regulatory structure for broadband services provided by incumbent LECs. Then it invites interested parties to propose alternative requirements for these broadband services in light of existing market and technological developments. The Commission encourages interested parties to develop proposals for new or modified regulatory requirements for broadband services.

FCC Don / Non Dom webpage

Fed Reg Notice 1/15/02

IN THE MATTER OF REVIEW OF REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS FOR INCUMENT LEC BROADBAND TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES. Granted a limited extension so that parties may file reply comments on April 22, 2002. Action by: Deputy Chief, Common Carrier Bureau. Adopted: 03/22/2002 by ORDER. (DA No. 02-705). CCB , FCC 3/25/02

  • FCC Initiates Proceeding to Examine Regulatory Treatment of Incumbent Carriers' Broadband Services

  • IN THE MATTER OF REVIEW OF REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS FOR INCUMBENT LEC BROADBAND TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES. Comment Date 45 Days after publication in the Federal Register. Reply Comment Dates, 30 days after Comment Date. (Dkt No. 01-337). Action by: The Commission. Adopted: 12/12/2001 by NPRM. (FCC No. 01-360). CCB
  • FCC To Review Broadband Rules, ISP Planet 12/14/01
  • Local Competition and Broadband Reporting, CC Docket No. 99-301

    LOCAL COMPETITION AND BROADBAND REPORTING. Adopted rules and standardized form to collect basic information about two critical and dynamic areas of the communications industry: the development of local telephone service competition and the deployment of broadband services. Dkt No.: CC- 99-301. Action by the Commission. Adopted: March 24, 2000. by R&Order. (FCC No. 00-114). CCB 

    FCC Adopts Data Collection Program To Assess Local Telecommunications Competition And Broadband Deployment. Information to Assist Commission's Efforts to Further Deregulate Telecommunications Markets and Determine State of Broadband Deployment; News Media contact: Mike Balmoris 0253. by MO&O. Action by: the Commission. Adopted: March 24, 2000. Dkt No.: CC- 99-301. CCB. News Release

    This proceeding is promulgating rules requiring certain entities to report data to the FCC on the deployment of broadband.  Below is some relevant language of significance to the Internet:

     61.  The Commission does not regulate internet services, but recognizes that Internet Protocol (IP) telephony may become an important substitute for circuit-switched telephony.  As a result, when evaluating the development of local competition, we believe it is necessary to include the development of IP-telephony service.  However, while the proposed survey instructions direct reporting entities to report lines that may be used in connection with IP- telephony service, as discussed below, the survey questions do not identify the use of IP- telephony per se.  We seek comment whether we should undertake a more specific determination of the extent to which the internet is being used to provide telephony services and how we should do so.
         62.  Survey instructions direct LECs to report lines in service that connect directly to an end user at one end and, at the other end, connect to a carrier switch or to a network that carries voice calls to the public switched telephone network.  For purposes of this Notice, "public switched telephone network" includes the traditional circuit-switched telephone network as well as all alternatives to the wireline infrastructure, regardless of switching technology.  The distinguishing characteristic is that only those networks that enable a telephone service subscriber to place a voice call to any other telephone service subscriber are included.  Thus, for example, the number of lines reported by a LEC would not depend on whether that LEC has deployed packet-switching technology into some, or all, of its serving wire centers.  Similarly, the LEC would report a line if it connects an end user to the network of another entity that offers telephone service to the general public, regardless of the switching technology deployed in the network of that entity.
         63.  Reported numbers of lines in service to end users therefore would include (but would not separately identify) lines serving residences in which computer hobbyists, for  example, have installed software that enables voice calls to be placed over the public internet. The reported number of lines also would include any unbundled LEC loops that the LEC provides to another communications carrier in connection with the second carrier's offering of an IP-telephony service to the general public.  By contrast, to the extent that a corporation uses a dedicated network to carry IP-based voice calls, the lines that comprise the dedicated corporate network would not be counted in the survey.
         64.  We note that numbers of lines in service to end users, reported in Sections I - III of the survey, also would not include lines (or, more precisely, added functionality of lines) that connect end users to internet service providers (ISPs) but which the reporting carrier provides to the ISP rather than to the end user.  Examples of such arrangements are the recently announced agreements under which America Online will lease, from Bell Atlantic and SBC Communications, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) capacity that America Online will incorporate into a premium (higher-speed) option for its internet service.  In these circumstances, however, the LEC that provides DSL capacity to the ISP would continue to report the voice grade line that it provides to the end user.  Also, if the DSL capacity that is provided to the ISP meets the definition of broadband that we propose to adopt for purposes of the survey (i.e., supporting either one way or two way communication, at bandwidthgreater than 200 Kbps), and the line connects to a customer, then, as outlined in the next section of this Notice, the ISP would report the line in Section IV and possibly Section V of the survey.  We invite comment on this particular means of collecting data about DSL, and potentially other, high-capacity communications services with internet-related uses.

    FCC Local Competition And Broadband Reporting Requirements Webpage

    See Form 477 FAQ Do ISPs have to File?

    Notice of Proposed Rulemaking | Wordperfect | Adobe | Text | (proposed rules governing deployment of broadband)

    Press Release (Oct 8, 1999)

    WIP Internet Telephony webpage

    Exparte Rules:  This is a "permit-but-disclose" proceeding.  You can voice your opinion but must file a written summary of your views with the FCC Secretary. See Ex Parte Fact Sheet ¶¶ 9-10.

    Apr 17 FCC Data Collection Workshops. FCC, Wash D.C.

    IN THE MATTER OF LOCAL COMPETITION AND BROADBAND REPORTING. Erratum to R&O (FCC-00-114), released March 30, 2000. Action by Chief, Common
    Carrier Bureau. Adopted: April 14, 2000. by Erratum. (DA No. 00-869). CCB 

    COMPETITION AND BROADBAND REPORTING REQUIREMENT. Dkt No.: CC-99-301. Contact: FCC Call Center at 1-888-CALL-FCC or 0484. News
    Media Contact: Michael Balmoris 0253.

  • FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION RELEASES DATA ON HIGH-SPEED SERVICES FOR INTERNET ACCESS. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today released summary statistics of its latest data on the deployment of high-speed Internet services in the United States.. News Release. Adopted: 08/09/2001 CCB. Contact Michael Balmoris at 0253 Report | Press Release
  • U.S. Report Inspires Hot Debate over High-Speed Internet, Newsfactor 8/13/01
  • FCC: Broadband customers up 158 percent, CNET 8/10/01
  • High-speed Internet connections more numerous, FCC says, Nando 8/10/01
  • Broadband Use Skyrocketing - FCC, Newsfactor 8/10/01
  • FCC Reports 63 Percent Jump In Broadband Use, Washtech 8/10/01
  • Books


    See also| Broadband Deployment Statistics |Cable News | Wireless News |
    | DSL News | Fiber News | Backbone News | Power Line News | Satellite News | Dial Up | Laser | Industry | Municipalities |


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