Federal Communications Commission

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Business Broadband Survey Data Note

November 29th, 2010 by Steven Rosenberg

Broadband is transforming the way businesses – large and small – function, communicate and grow. Always-on broadband connections enable e-commerce, facilitate fast business- to-business transactions, allow transfers of large amounts of data around the world, and make it possible to connect offices across the globe.

To understand more about the business broadband market, we conducted a survey of 3,506 American managers, owners or IT directors at businesses with 5 or more employees.  The survey focused on the different kinds of broadband connections businesses subscribe to, the ways businesses use broadband, attitudes toward broadband-enabled applications, and potential barriers to adopting the technology. 

The survey finds that nearly all businesses report having a broadband Internet connection in at least one location (95%).  Businesses most commonly use their broadband connections to buy products and supplies online, for research and online advertising. The results also indicate that most businesses (85%) are not planning to upgrade to faster speeds in the next year, with cost listed as a leading reason not to upgrade. For those businesses that are planning to upgrade, running new applications and improving communication with customers were the most cited reasons for doing so.

The FCC continues to focus on the role of broadband in stimulating private investment, creating jobs, and supporting our global competitiveness. The results of the survey released today will help the Commission ensure that it has the right policies in place to help achieve those goals.

Read the survey results.

The Evolution (and Revolution) in Broadband Data

September 2nd, 2010 by Steven Rosenberg

Broadband is an evolving technology, as is our twice-annual report on Internet access connections in the U.S. In our last report, we introduced changes that were closer to revolutionary – county and census tract-level data, reports on 72 different upload and download speed categories, and improved information about mobile and residential connections. The changes in the report we’re releasing today, based on June 2009 data, are more evolutionary, but they’re important nonetheless. 

First, we move away from the framing the report around speed classifications based on the 200 kilobits per second (kbps) standard that we have used for a decade, classifications the Commission dubbed “high-speed” if connections were greater than 200 kbps in one direction and “advanced” if > 200 kbps was delivered both up and down. Consistent with that move, we’ve renamed the report the Internet Access Services Report (it used to be called the High-Speed Services report).

Second, we add information about the number of fixed connections with 3 Mbps downstream and 768 kbps upstream or faster. As we explain in the recently released 706 report, this speed tier is the best approximation for the availability of a network capable of delivering 4 Mbps down- and 1 Mbps up-stream. The 4/1 speed was also the national broadband availability target laid out in the National Broadband Plan and related papers. 

Interestingly, while the 706 report notes that more than 90% of homes have access to networks capable of providing that speed, today’s report shows that only 44% of fixed residential subscriptions have advertised speeds of at least 3 Mbps down, 768 kbps up. This may be surprising, but it is consistent with the types of use that are most common and to other data (see Broadband Performance paper).

Of course actual speeds may lag advertised – hence our effort to gather hard data on the differences between actual and advertised speeds.

As with prior reports, this Internet Access Services Report includes information on the number of broadband providers in each area. It’s important to remember that the maps we have posted portraying these numbers do not represent the number of competitors in any area. Because every provider’s service footprint is different, the presence of multiple providers in a census tract does not mean those providers all offer service to any particular business or residential location. Even for providers that serve the same area, different offerings may not compete with one another (e.g., a 50 Mbps fiber-to-the-home offering may not compete with a 768 kbps DSL offering). But, as you’ll see, with the new report providing data on higher-speed tiers, a whole new picture emerges.

The report doesn’t focus only on fixed broadband service.  Note the incredible growth of wireless data plans: subscriptions to mobile data services for full Internet access increased by 40% in just six months. That increase underscores how critical it is to free-up more spectrum to support these popular, innovation-driving services, as called for in the National Broadband Plan and by the President in his June 28th Executive Memorandum.

All good, but we’re not yet satisfied: the report still needs improvements – and, more to the point, the data collection needs to be improved. As we underscored in our Data Innovation Initiative, we want the decisions of this Commission to be driven by the best data possible. That means gathering the data we need to support policy decisions – including, for example, answering questions about competition – and improving public access to as much data as we can while protecting confidential data. 

Change – either evolutionary or revolutionary -- is good, but change is a challenge for everyone. I believe the changes we’ve made so far and are planning for upcoming Internet Access Services Reports are worth the effort.

Capture The Phone Numbers Using Your Camera Phone

If you have a camera and a 2D matrix code reader on your mobile phone, you can capture the FCC Phone numbers right to your phone by following these three easy steps:
Step 1: Take a photograph of one of the codes below using the camera on your mobile phone.
Step 2: Use your phone's Datamatrix or QR Code reader to decode the information on the photograph. Please note, these code readers are device specific and are available to download on the internet.
Step 3: Store the decoded address information to your phone's address book and use it with your Maps or GPS application.

Datamatrix and QR FCC Phones