The FCC more than Quintupled the Legal Definition of ‘Broadband’

It used to be that a 4 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload was all it took for an internet connection to be considered “broadband,” and for the mid-to-late 1990s, it WAS blazing fast.  The key word in that last sentence is “WAS”, and a couple of weeks ago the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has just flipped that definition on its ear. FCC commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of dramatically upping the minimum broadband threshold: Now ALL internet service providers will have to offer speeds of AT LEAST 25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up (which is a much better minimum that 4/1) if they want to label their offering as “broadband”. Here’s some perspective: the average American home broadband connection pulls down around 11 Mbps, while approximately 17 percent of Americans technically (by new definition) no longer have broadband internet.

Of course, most cable and internet service providers aren’t going to be thrilled, as a lawyer for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA, who support companies like Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, etc.) urged the FCC not to change the standard broadband requirements because the NCTA claims that proponents for the change toward true net neutrality (such as Netflix, Google and general public knowledge and common sense) are overestimating the speeds customers need and want. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel stated that she thinks the broadband threshold “frankly, should be 100 Mbps,” which would finally put the United States in line with the speedy connections available in countries like South Korea. In the 2014 State of the Internet report issued by Akamai, Korea tops the global charts with an average download speed of 23.6Mbps, which is roughly SIX TIMES the world average. Boy, WE ARE BEHIND…

[Thanks FCC; now go forth and SAVE TRUE NET NEUTRALITY]

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