FCC's Wheeler says 25/3 Mbps should define broadband

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is once again looking to change the status quo of U.S. broadband by proposing to raise the current definition of broadband from 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.

This proposal emerged in a draft of the Annual Broadband Progress report that the FCC is required to prepare for Congress every year. In this report, the FCC looks if broadband "is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion."

One of the key revelations of the draft version of the report that was circulated to other members of the FCC was "that broadband is not being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion, especially in rural areas, on Tribal lands, and in US Territories," according to a fact sheet that was obtained by ars technica.  

This is the first time the FCC proposed to raise the definition of broadband since 2010. At that time, the FCC raised the definition of broadband from 200 Kbps to 4/1 Mbps.

Wheeler said in the annual report that the 4/1 definition it laid out in 2010 "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." 

Initially Wheeler proposed raising the broadband threshold from 4 Mbps to 10 Mbps, but included a provision to potentially raise it to 25 Mbps. The FCC also ruled service providers aiming to take funds from the second phase of its Connect America Fund had to agree to provide a minimum 10/1 Mbps connection.

A number of service providers, including AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) balked at the FCC's 10 Mbps proposal, arguing that 4 Mbps is enough for most consumers. Although the majority of service providers that will take CAF-II funding are OK with the higher speed requirement, CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Windstream said they were concerned that the timeline to meet the 10/1 Mbps requirement is not realistic.

For more:
- ars technica has this article

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