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Summary:

Congress is debating a stimulus bill that would funnel more than $800 billion into the economy. There are two versions of it wending their way through the legislative houses, so we gathered the key differences, put them in the chart below and pointed out which ISPs […]

Congress is debating a stimulus bill that would funnel more than $800 billion into the economy. There are two versions of it wending their way through the legislative houses, so we gathered the key differences, put them in the chart below and pointed out which ISPs and technologies win under each. Regardless of the final version, it’s safe to say that ISPs will want Congress to spend more, and equipment providers will take whatever they can get.

  House Bill Winners Losers Senate Bill Winners Losers
Grants for Broadband $6B     $9B    
Funds The Broadband Data Improvement Act yes consumers, anyone wanting to get data on actual broadband penetration ISPs that don’t want to provide this data yes same as House same as House
Offers Tax Credits no     10 percent for broadband and 20 percent for advanced broadband deployed before Jan. 1, 2011 ISPs, equipment sellers anyone worried about national debt
Basic Broadband Speeds 5 Mbps down/1 Mbps up DSL, cable, Verizon FiOS, other fiber Dial-up, congested cable, DSL that’s far from the node 5 Mbps down/1 Mbps up (only defined for tax credits) same as House same as House
Advanced Broadband Speeds 45 Mbps down/15 Mbps up Comcast, Verizon, smaller all-fiber networks AT&T, Qwest, smaller fiber-to-the-node and DSL providers; cable companies that aren’t upgrading to DOCSIS 3.0 100 Mbps down/20 Mbps up (only defined for tax credits) Verizon FiOS, other all fiber providers AT&T, Qwest, Comcast (C cmsca), Cox, Time Warner Cable, Charter
Basic Wireless Broadband Speeds no     no    
Advanced Wireless Broadband Speeds 3 Mbps down/1Mbps up Clearwire, AT&T’s HSPA+ network, Verizon’s LTE network T-Mobile’s HSPA network, Sprint’s EVDO network, Pre-WiMAX networks 3 Mbps down/768 kbps up (only defined for tax credits) same as House Consumers, especially those in rural areas only served by wireless. Anyone who wants to upload data over a wireless connection
Net Neutrality Language FCC will define “open access” within 45 days of passage Depends on how it’s defined Depends on how it’s defined Offers “interconnection and nondiscrimination requirements” but no definition Depends on how it’s defined Depends on how it’s defined
  1. Stacey, you have a great way of illustrating EXACTLY how public policy affects industry. I really enjoy your posts. Keep up the good work!

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  2. DOCSIS 3.0 can easily do 100Mbps/20Mbps. Don’t understand your winnners/losers for the Senate proposed bill for that criteria given that fact. I agree ADSL won’t do that, but DOCSIS 3.0 can.

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  3. Stacey Higginbotham Friday, January 30, 2009

    Victor, I was looking at the upstream requirements. So far, I have not seen 20 Mbps on DOCSIS 3.0 and haven’t heard of operators focusing on that. Theoretically it is possible, but they would have to take chunks of spectrum from other services.

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  4. Thank you Stacey, I am really interested in the information that you compiled Stacey. If you have the time, a follow up listing your sources would be very helpful for staying on top of the issue.

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  5. Love the last box… “depends on how it’s defined.” :-)

    Let’s rev up them engines and let the net neutrality debates begin… again!

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  6. Stacey Higginbotham Saturday, January 31, 2009

    Bryan, if you’re looking for the bills, you can find the house version here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.1:

    The Senate version related to tax credits is here: http://finance.senate.gov/press/Bpress/2009press/prb013009.pdf
    The Senate version of the broadband grants is here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:S.336:

    Hope that helps.

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  7. Sprint and Verizon can meet the “Advanced Wireless Broadband” speed requirements using EV-DO Rev-B. It is a technology that alllows CDMA carriers to combine multiple EV-DO Rev-A channels. In 5 MHz of spectrum, it can do peak downlink speeds of 9.3 Mbps and peak uplink of 5.4 Mbps. Alcatel-Lucent, Airvana and Qualcomm demonstrated the technology almost two years ago.

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  8. Looks like license-exempt wireless (e.g. wi-fi), and therefore the citizenry, loses.

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  9. Excellent post! This is an example of why Stacey is such a great asset to the Gigaom team. Thanks for gathering this info.

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  10. There are many more problems with the bill than are mentioned above. See my comprehensive analysis of the House bill (the Senate bill is, so far, not much different) at

    http://www.brettglass.com/bbstim.pdf

    –Brett Glass

    P.S. — By the way, Stacey, I must take issue with your comment that a subsidy for wireless somehow makes consumers “losers.” Wireless is by far the most cost-effective way of deploying broadband to unserved and underserved areas.

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