FCC Won't Classify Mobile Data As Broadband Internet After All

The United States Federal Communications Commission dropped the idea to classify mobile data as broadband internet which Chairman Ajit Pai proposed as part of an official Notice of Inquiry last summer. The development was revealed by the draft of the 2018 Broadband Deployment Report published by the regulator earlier this week which explicitly states that a traditional connection to the World Wide Web cannot be suitably replaced by an exclusively wireless one. Besides the technological differences between the two, the report concedes that consumer expectations and preferences vary across the services, making the possibility of treating them as practically identical unsuitable and unwise.

While the same report still suggests the FCC won't draw a line between mobile and broadband services in the context of deployment rates, it specifically states the federal agency will be committed to supporting and facilitating the deployment of traditional broadband Internet in rural areas and won't treat the availability of slower mobile services as a capable and permanent substitute. The draft report was published shortly before Chairman Pai suggested raising $500 million to accelerate the deployment of broadband Internet access to rural parts of the U.S. as part of a separate proposal. The idea wasn't elaborated upon and it's still unclear where is the FCC planning to find the money for such a major investment, with the proposal being largely focused on regulatory oversight meant to prevent the mismanagement of such vast funds on a state and county level.

The latest iteration of the Broadband Deployment Report concluded the FCC is presently fulfilling its statutory mandate to facilitate the deployment of broadband internet infrastructure in a reasonably timely manner and even claims the previous commission led by former Chairman Tom Wheeler wasn't as its net neutrality protections were slowing down deployment efforts. No evidence to support such allegations have been provided by the report that's likely to add more fuel to the still ongoing net neutrality debate which is presently on its way to multiple courts throughout the country after the FCC voted to repeal Title II regulations in mid-December, claiming they're hurting innovation and job growth in the telecommunications sector.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]