Broadband = 25Mbps>, says Wheeler

According to several sources, the FCC is proposing to redefine broadband as 25Mbps down, 3Mbps up – a significant raise from the last 2010 definition of 4Mbps down, 1Mbps up.

Wheeler has been circulating a draft of the upcoming Annual Broadband Progress Report which has a passage noting that the 2010 definition “is inadequate for evaluating whether broadband capable of supporting today’s high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video is being deployed to all Americans in a timely way.”

In particular, the increase in defined speeds affects rural Americans. According to a fact sheet circulated to publications, “Rural America continues to be underserved at all speeds: 20 percent lack access even to service at 4Mbps/1Mbps, down only 1 percent from 2011, and 31 percent lack access to 10/1, down only 4 percent from 2011.” The fact sheet also notes that 55 million American (17 percent) lack access to 25Mbps/3Mbps service.

Although the new definition is not legally enforceable, it is expected to put pressure on ISPs by clearly showing which companies are failing to meet recognized standards. It also strengthens the case for an FCC finding that broadband is not being deployed at a reasonable rate, giving the FCC more authority over broadband regulation.

Only 25Mbps and up will qualify as broadband under new FCC definition (Ars Technica, Jan. 7, 2015)

FCC to define broadband as minimum 25Mbps
(ZD Net, Jan. 8, 2015)