The week before last, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released its much anticipated National Broadband Map. The map is the result of a multi-year effort, funded by the federal government, to get a very detailed and accurate understanding of the state of broadband deployment in the United States.
As the largest residential ISP in the country, we have a significant stake in ensuring these maps are as accurate as possible. That's why we participated extensively in the state-by-state mapping exercises which led to this national map and why we dedicated a tremendous amount of resources to provide the state mapping agencies with the data they need. We believe when an accurate and detailed map of broadband availability is finally produced, consumers and policy makers will see that the hundreds of billions of dollars already invested by America's broadband service providers have created one of the most dynamic and extensive broadband networks found anywhere in the world.
The National Broadband Map released last week is impressive, but it is not without its limitations. It is still a work in progress. While it's a major step forward in furthering our broadband understanding, as many commentators have recently pointed out, there are still numerous glitches that need to be addressed.
One such glitch has resulted in an erroneous article recently published by the Washington Post. In that article, the author claims that "[i]n the District of Columbia, where about 18 percent of the population is considered poor, only 12 percent of homes can get broadband speeds as high as 25 megabits per second." This fact is simply untrue and appears to be the result of the reporter's reliance on some contradictory information found on the website. While one part of the site indicates only 12 percent of homes in the District could get broadband speeds as high as 25 Mbps, at least two other locations on it provide a completely different message -- namely that the District of Columbia has ubiquitous availability of next generation broadband speeds. For example, clicking on the DOCSIS 3.0 button on the technology map (DOCSIS 3.0 is the latest cable broadband technology) and zooming into Washington, D.C. clearly shows ubiquitous coverage of all inhabited areas. And clicking the advertised speed map, again zooming in to Washington, D.C., shows the availability of speeds throughout the District are greater than 100 Mbps, with some areas receiving speeds of >1 Gbps.
The truth is that throughout Washington, D.C. Comcast provides some of the most advanced broadband services available anywhere in America. Every single home we pass (and we pass well over 95% of the homes in the District), has access to our state-of-the art DOCSIS 3.0 network. With that network, we offer almost every District resident the option to purchase broadband services with download speeds up to 50 Mbps -- and most of our customers in Washington subscribe to the standard Performance tier which offers downstream speeds of up to 12 Mbps. While we support the effort to create a reliable National Broadband Map, we believe the current version must be understood for what it is -- a first step. It is not the clear picture of a broadband map we hope to get to, but it's a start. In subsequent iterations, we anticipate that the NTIA will make significant improvements in their data collection and mapping efforts to reveal a truly accurate broadband picture. We remain committed to making sure the map is as accurate as possible.