Only one-quarter of developed U.S. census blocks have two or more providers of 100 Mbps broadband, according to a broadband competition report from INCOMPAS – and according to the competitive carrier association, competition is even less than that finding would suggest because the finding is based on Form 477 data collected by the FCC.

Virtually everyone agrees that the Form 477 data overstates broadband availability. In this case, an entire census block would be considered to have 100 Mbps broadband, even if only a single location in the census block can get service at that speed.

The finding is one of a range of data points that INCOMPAS uses to back up its assertion that “the fixed BIAS [broadband internet access service] market, as well as the business data services marketplace, remain highly concentrated” in certain geographic areas.

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Other key INCOMPAS findings about the BIAS market:

  • 31% of developed census blocks have no provider offering service at 100 Mbps speeds
  • 41% of developed census blocks have only one such provider
  • Only 5% of census blocks have three or more providers advertising 100 Mbps service somewhere in the block
  • Virtually all census blocks with gigabit service have only a single provider of service at that speed

INCOMPAS Broadband Competition Report
INCOMPAS filed the broadband competition report with the FCC in response to the Communications Marketplace Report issued by the FCC several months ago.

In comments included with its filing, INCOMPAS urged the FCC not to remove pro-competitive policies such as network unbundling and resale requirements. INCOMPAS also argued that the FCC prematurely deregulated business data services (BDS) pricing in 2017, which according to the association, has caused incumbent carriers to raise BDS prices.

According to INCOMPAS, AT&T, Verizon, Frontier and CenturyLink have raised BDS pricing and CenturyLink’s increases for special access DS1 channel terminations were as high as 150%.

Broadband speeds are too low in too many places, said Chip Pickering, CEO of INCOMPAS, in a press release about the INCOMPAS broadband competition report. In addition, he said, “prices are high and consumers are fed up with terrible customer service.”

He added that “More competition is the answer, and it’s time for the FCC to launch a competition crusade based on gigabit speed goals that create jobs and new opportunities for small business growth.”

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