FCC wants 'broadband' to be 25Mbps down/3Mbps up

I think we can all agree that a 4Mbps download is not 'broadband' Internet, at least as most would define it. That's how the FCC currently sees broadband, but FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler agrees with us, and wants to reclassify what broadband actually is. He feels (probably correctly) that 'broadband' is more like 25Mbps down. As for upload, he'd like the current definition of 1Mbps to be upped to 3Mbps. In a report, the FCC is also troubled by broadband rollout, especially in rural areas.

Congress asks the FCC to report annually on broadband Internet rollout, which Wheeler circulated in its draft form to other FCC commissioners. In the report, Wheeler proposes the redefinition of broadband, but also points out that the rollout is more like 4Mbps when it should be 25Mbps.

In rural areas, the FCC found that 53% (22 million) of US citizens lack access to the 25Mbps/3Mbps speed threshold. Nationwide, 55 million citizens lack access to the service. That's access, not subscriptions or options to buy.

The FCC also says that rural demand for the 25Mbps data transfer is nearly equal to urban areas. Of those with access, 28% opt for it, compared to 30% in urban settings.

Speaking to Ars Technica, an FCC official said roughly 48 new rural broadband experiments funded by the FCC will have 25/3 data transfer. Government-funded projects don't have the same requirements. Unfortunately, no ISP actually has to provide the 25/3 service level, but if the FCC reclassifies broadband to that level, they'd have to stop reporting anything less than 'broadband'.

Via: Ars Technica