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FCC may redefine broadband

05 Jun, 2014

For most of us, the term broadband simply means modern Internet connection. Anything that isn’t dial-up.

Yet, unbeknownst to most of us, there has been a more precise government definition: four megabits per second downstream/1 megabit per second upstream. But, apparently, that definition is becoming outdated, and according to The Washington Post, the FCC is soliciting comments on whether to raise the bar to 10 Mbps down/1 up, or even 25 down.

Certainly, the current 4 Mbps will barely support streaming video – which accounts for at least half of all Internet traffic – and doesn’t really provide for multi-user households.

The FCC inquiry is investigating more than arbitrary speeds. According to The Washington Post, the commission will also “... ask the public whether the FCC should adopt a tiered set of definitions to account for varying speeds in different regions or during different times of day.”

Although the goal is to improve broadband quality for everyone, the immediate effect of such a redefinition might be to simply raise the number of people without broadband – now calculated at six percent. And, enforcement of a minimum might have another undesired effect: while Speed Matters supports higher speeds, we don’t want to price people out in very high-cost rural areas.

The FCC may consider a stricter definition of broadband in the Netflix age (Washington Post, May 30, 2014)

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