Who Wins, Who Loses With Broadband Grants

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 (s CMCSA), Verizon (s VZ), smaller all-fiber networks AT&T (s T), Qwest (s Q), 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 (s TWC), Charter
Basic Wireless Broadband Speeds no     no    
Advanced Wireless Broadband Speeds 3 Mbps down/1Mbps up Clearwire (s CLWR), AT&T’s HSPA+ network, Verizon’s LTE network T-Mobile’s HSPA network, Sprint’s (s 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