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Critics Say FCC's New Report Declaring US Broadband Healthier Than Ever is Based on Flawed Data

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its 2019 Broadband Deployment Report on Wednesday stating the digital divide is shrinking substantially, and more Americans than ever have access to high-speed broadband. According to the report, "the number of Americans with access to at least 250 Mbps/25 Mbps broadband grew in 2017 by more than 36%, to 191.5 million." Moreover, the report also indicates that the number of rural Americans with access to high-speed services increased by 85.1% in 2017. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says that "this report shows that our approach is working."

"But Pai's fellow FCC Commissioners said the report, which only tracks broadband improvements as of the end of 2017, paints an inaccurate picture of the industry," reports Motherboard's Karl Bode. "For example, it fails to discuss how broadband pricing continues to skyrocket as consumers increasingly only have access to faster speeds from just one ISP, usually their regional cable provider."

"The report reaches the wrong conclusion," said Democratic FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks in a statement: "The rosy picture the report paints about the status of broadband deployment is fundamentally at odds with reality. ... I am also compelled to speak out about the process that led to this report, which, when initially circulated, was based on massive, erroneous overstatements of high-speed internet deployment in the underlying data."

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