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Last Friday, Public Knowledge joined Common Cause, Center for Rural Strategies, and Benton Foundation in filing comments with the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau in response to a Public Notice seeking comment on the state of fixed wireline competition. Public Knowledge contends that as the FCC prepares its first annual Communications Marketplace report in compliance with the RAY BAUM’s Act of 2018, the agency should measure fixed and mobile broadband as distinct -- and separate -- product markets.
The Communications marketplace report should also take affirmative steps to address the role competition, or lack thereof, plays in the the rural and urban digital divide. Finally, the existing record evidence from numerous recent rulemaking proceedings makes clear that the current broadband marketplace is not competitive. Certain marketplace practice and regulation rollbacks serve as barriers to competition that the Commission must address.
The following can be attributed to Daiquiri Ryan, Policy Fellow at Public Knowledge:
“The Commission's first annual Communications Marketplace report has the potential to be a powerful analytic tool. The state of competition in the broadband marketplace is foundational to the Commission’s statutory mandate to ensure universal service to American consumers. Closing the digital divide -- for rural, low income, or communities of color -- will require a competitive marketplace in order to address both availability and affordability barriers to adoption.
“The Commission needs to carefully and individually analyze competition in different market areas to gain a robust, meaningful understanding of what is available to consumers. The agency should provide a detailed analysis of all components of the broadband market -- rather than blending them all together in an effort to hide potential problem spots.”
You may view the filing here.