The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Briefing.
A new brief by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program looks at broadband adoption in metropolitan areas. The brief found that, in 2014, more than 87 million households—or three-quarters of all households nationally—had a broadband Internet subscription. Nevertheless, broadband adoption remains highly uneven among specific groups. For example, only 46.8% of households with incomes under $20,000 annually had a broadband subscription in 2014, compared to 88.8% of households earning $50,000 or more. Likewise, while 54.1% of individuals with less than a high school diploma had a broadband subscription, 91.5% with a bachelor’s degree or higher did. Relatively low adoption rates also appear among older age groups—64.5 % of individuals 65 years and older—while those not in the labor force (69.7%) subscribe to broadband at marginally lower rates relative to the national average. Broadband adoption also varies substantially across different U.S. markets, including the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. Although these areas tend to have higher adoption rates (77.8%) than the country as a whole (75.1%), these rates can still differ by up to 30 percentage points or more in some cases. Tech centers have the highest adoption rates.
To boost broadband adoption the report recommends targeted income assistance programs (such as expansion of the Lifeline program); expanding digital skills curricula and training; incentivizing telecommuting; and continued research.
The PUC granted a joint motion filed by the parties and dismissed CenturyLink’s complaint that Charter Fiberlink failed to complete calls in the Duluth-Superior extended area service territory when the call involves certain telephone numbers that have been ported or otherwise transferred as part of the nationwide telephone number portability system. (See the Regulatory Mix dated 10/14/15). In granting the motion, the PUC noted that, since the complaint was filed, Charter Fiberlink completed certain network modifications that resulted in it performing the local-number-portability (LNP) queries and call routing described in the complaint. In addition, the parties then engaged in cooperative testing to confirm that CenturyLink calls originating in Duluth are terminating properly to non-Charter customers in Superior, Wisconsin. The joint motion resulted from a compromise and resolution of the disputed claims described in the complaint; nothing in the joint motion is to be construed as an admission of any fault or liability by either party.