Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

For Nearly Two Years, Ajit Pai’s FCC Has Not Released a Previously-Annual Broadband Provider Report Card

Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica:

Nearly two years have passed since the Federal Communications Commission reported on whether broadband customers are getting the Internet speeds they pay for.

In 2011, the Obama-era FCC began measuring broadband speeds in nearly 7,000 consumer homes as part of the then-new Measuring Broadband America program. Each year from 2011 to 2016, the FCC released an annual report comparing the actual speeds customers received to the advertised speeds customers were promised by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, AT&T, and other large ISPs.

But the FCC hasn’t released any new Measuring Broadband America reports since Republican Ajit Pai became the commission chairman in January 2017. Pai’s first year as chair was the first time the FCC failed to issue a new Measuring Broadband America report since the program started — though the FCC could release a new report before his second year as chair is complete.

Here’s something extra strange about this: if you go to the last-available report and replace “2016” with “2017” in the URL, it says that “public access to this page has been disabled by the content owner”. This isn’t a generic error page; if you change it to “2018” instead, you’ll see a blank page. It’s probably nothing exciting — it’s not like they would upload the entire report and then protect its access in a public setting — but I have, of course, filed a FOIA request.

These reports are critical to understanding the actual performance of internet service providers in the United States, and can help shed light on what effect the FCC’s policies have on broadband users.

Update: According to Marguerite Reardon of CNet, the FCC will release a new report tomorrow.

Update: Wednesday has come and gone without the release of said report. Shocker.