FCC chair proposes raising broadband standard to 100Mbps

The FCC’s 25Mbps broadband standard seemed fast in 2015, but that was seven years ago — and the agency’s current leadership believes it’s time to raise that base. Chair Jessica Rosenworcel has proposed raising the minimum definition of broadband to 100Mbps downloads and 20Mbps uploads. The previous 25/3 benchmark is both outdated and obscures how many low-income and rural netizens are “left behind and left offline,” Rosenworcel said.

The chairman said several pieces of evidence supported the increase, including requirements for building new networks stemming from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The FCC had already proposed upgrades to rural speeds through a special program, but this would affect the definition of broadband regardless of where users live in the country.

Rosenworcel also wanted the minimum speed to evolve over time. She suggested moving to a much higher standard of 1Gbps down and 500Mbps up at some point in the future. The Chair also proposed other criteria for determining the “reasonable and timely” adoption of broadband, including adoption rates, affordability, availability and equal access.

It’s unclear if the standard change will go ahead. Ars Technica notes that any proposed upgrade would require a vote and that the current two-Democrat, two-Republic commission is deadlocked. Since the Senate has done little to advance commissioner nominee Gigi Sohn, there is no guarantee Rosenworcel (a Democrat) will get her way. Telekom shouldn’t be too enthusiastic either. Comcast just last year bumped the speed of its $10 Essentials tier to 50Mbps downstream — it and other carriers may need to invest in better networks to hit the 100Mbps minimum in some areas, quite not to mention a possible threshold of 1 Gbit / s.

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https://www.engadget.com/fcc-chairwoman-proposes-100mbps-broadband-standard-181617127.html?src=rss FCC chair proposes raising broadband standard to 100Mbps

Russell Falcon

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