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[ NNSquad ] Re: Upcoming conference on "Broadband Census for America"

On Fri, 8 Aug 2008, Drew Clark wrote:
(1) The names of carriers and the locations in which they offer services, by
ZIP code.

Boardwatch used to collect and publish this information about ISPs through out the 1990's without any government funding or requirement from the FCC for carriers to submit the data in any federal report.

Anyone can call up any ISP and ask "Can I buy service at this address?" You don't need funding from the government to ask the ISP or need to ask the FCC.

Sometimes Boardwatch got something wrong, and listed an ISP or failed to list an ISP. There was no government penalty when Boardwatch made a mistake.

Sometimes when someone calls up an ISP and asks "Can I buy service at this
address?" the ISP gives the wrong answer, and either loses a potential
subscriber because they say they can't provide service when they actually
can. Or they lose a potential subscriber because they say they can provide service when they actually can't.

There was no government penalty when an ISP made a mistake (although the customer might get mad and go to another ISP).

There are competitive research companies which ask ISPs the same questions and publish their results; without government funding.

Requiring anything to be filed with any government agency opens a whole new level of mistakes and consequences. Even if a company (or person) would tell anyone else the same information, being required to file the same information with a government agency and potential penalties for any mistakes on the filing, especially huge datasets which may contain unknowns whether a particular location will have acceptable service until
after the provider makes an attempt to install it, is why even public interest groups try to minimize their own official filings with government agencies.

Having the government pay to collect the data makes it cheaper for research companies.

As an individual, is Broadband Census going to tell me anything different
than I would find out by calling several providers and asking if they
will sell me service at my house?