Cincinnati Bell is not happy. Apparently, when you take millions of dollars from taxpayers for broadband expansion, you are expected to provide all of those taxpayers with…..broadband speeds? Who knew?
In Cincinnati Bell’s case, after taking over $2 million annually from the FCC to help fund expansion of broadband, the telecommunications company is mad that the FCC wants them to provide all residents with at least 10 Mbps, even though the definition of broadband is 25 Mbps. Essentially, the FCC is stating that if your company takes taxpayer money to expand broadband in a certain area, you must provide all of those taxpayers with speeds that aren’t even half of what is considered to be broadband speeds.
According to Cincinnati Bell, that is too much for them. In a filing to the FCC, Cincinnati Bell claims that:
“One of the problems with imposing a 10/1 Mbps requirement is that it can’t be delivered to every location.This is because even at service providers like Cincinnati Bell, which has been rolling out FTTH throughout parts of its service area, a large part of its market is still served by copper-based facilities that have inherent distance and speed limitations. Some of these challenges include distance from a Central Office, number of users connected to a node, and simultaneous usage.” – FierceTelecom
You see, Cincinnati Bell hasn’t actually upgraded many of the areas that they “service” through older copper lines, most of which service low income families. Even though Cincinnati Bell has been given a number of highly lucrative local tax breaks, they haven’t kept up with areas that aren’t considered profitable to them. So, while other parts of the city are being offered 1 Gbps service, other parts of the city are left with slow, unreliable DSL service.
Additionally, Cincinnati Bell points out that many people don’t want such fast speeds such as 10 Mbps. Haven’t you heard? Some people enjoy slow DSL speeds. How does Cincinnati Bell know this? Because people in low income areas are not paying for higher speeds on higher priced packages, according to Cincinnati Bell.
“Another issue is understanding what consumers are willing to pay for. If the FCC imposed the 10/1 requirement it would mean that it could apply to all Lifeline support customers even if those customers don’t want that level of service. Cincinnati Bell itself offers a number of broadband options that range from 2 Mbps to 1 Gbps in areas where it has built out its FTTH network.” – FierceTelecom
Cincinnati Bell doesn’t cite the price for these packages for a reason. Much like what other telecom companies have done, Cincinnati Bell wants the FCC to ignore the fact that the reason so many low-income people choose the slower speeds is strictly due to the high price of the already slow DSL service. Does anyone actually believe that people are turning down faster speeds because….the speeds are “too fast” for them?