McDowell dishes 'Broadband Baloney'

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell lashed out at the common wisdom regarding broadband penetration in the United States. For years now, Congress has developed policy under the assumption that the nation is dismally slow in terms of broadband adoption. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranks the United States 15th in broadband penetration, behind Iceland, Luxembourg, Belgium and South Korea among others.

In a July 24 editorial in The Wall Street Journal entitled "Broadband Baloney," McDowell scolds the OECD for bad math. The organization rated countries based on broadband per capita, instead of per household, "putting countries with larger household sizes at a statistical disadvantage," he wrote.

McDowell further pointed out that the OECD rankings exclude a big chunk of WiFi.
"One-third of the world's WiFi hotspots are in the U.S., but WiFi is not included in the OECD study unless it is used in a so-called 'fixed wireless' setting."

Without referring to specific policy, McDowell stated his opposition to government-mandated data rates and build-out requirements, such as those in the 700 MHz rules up for adoption at the commission.

For more:
- McDowell's editorial is here (sub. req.)
- The OECD report is available here

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