FCC thinks its broadband standard is fast enough. What do you think?

by Steve Blum • , , ,

The Federal Communications Commission is beginning its annual exercise to determine if Internet service in the U.S. is adequate, and it wants to know what you think of last year’s conclusion that 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds are “advanced” enough is good enough. Comments are due 17 September 2018. The FCC’s republican majority thinks so

The 2018 Report found that the current speed benchmark of 25 Mbps/3 Mbps was the appropriate measure to assess whether fixed services provides advanced telecommunications capability. The Commission concluded that fixed services meeting this speed benchmark satisfy the statutory requirement to “enable users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics and video telecommunications.” We propose to maintain the 25 Mbps/3 Mbps benchmark, and we seek comment on this proposal.

Jessica Rosenworcel, the only democrat on the commission at present, disagrees

This inquiry fundamentally errs by proposing to keep our national broadband standard at 25 Megabits per second. I believe this goal is insufficiently audacious. It is time to be bold and move the national broadband standard from 25 Megabits to 100 Megabits per second. When you factor in price, at this speed the United States is not even close to leading the world

Rosenworcel is correct. With video going over the top and migrating to 4k, a download speed of 25 Mbps won’t keep an entire household online. An upload speed of 3 Mbps isn’t enough for any business that deals in digital services or products.

On the other hand, a 25/3 standard seems pretty rich by Californian standards. Bowing deeply before bags of cash lobbyists from AT&T, Frontier Communications, Comcast, Charter Communications and other incumbents, lawmakers lowered California’s minimum acceptable broadband speed to 6 Mbps down/1 Mbps up last year.

Broadband speed standards should be determined by how people actually use, and want to use, the Internet. Not by politics or cash payments to politicians.