Can New York Save Broadband?

iloveny-stack1When it comes to technology, California leads the way, but when it comes to pro-consumer efforts related to broadband access, New York appears to have taken up the cause. On Friday, the state’s chief information officer filed comments with the FCC related to the federal agency’s mandate to collect broadband penetration data, asking for several items that we’ve called for in our own broadband bill of rights. And earlier this month, members of the state’s congressional delegation helped put an end to Time Warner Cable’s controversial tiered pricing efforts.

In the filing with the FCC, NY State CIO Melodie Mayberry-Stewart calls for the agency to track several items tied to consumer satisfaction with a provider rather than just a geographic area’s access to broadband, including:

  • The ability of consumers to know the actual data transmission speeds;
  • Consumer sentiment with respect to providers implementing data caps or higher fees for high bandwidth users (high downloads);
  • Consumer sentiment with respect to network management practices regarding monitoring amount of downloaded content;
  • The ability of consumers to assess the impact of shared facilities on broadband speed, and, if so, the affect on their satisfaction with their service provider;
  • The desire of consumers to pay higher rates for increased bandwidth; and
  • Consumers [sic]  preferred source of accessing the Internet (fixed or mobile).

The idea of measuring consumer satisfaction as well as broadband penetration may be above and beyond what Congress had in mind when it passed the Broadband Data Improvement Act, but some of these items, such as noting the actual speeds a user could expect, better reflect the many shades of gray involved in measuring the quality of a broadband connection.

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