The FCC is mulling the idea of changing the definition of broadband from 4 Mbps to 10 Mbps to better reflect the reality of growing usage of bandwidth hungry streaming music and video applications, reports The Washington Post.
While usage patterns vary, a high-definition Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) video stream requires a minimum 5 Mbps connection. At the same time, other family members in a household could be using the broadband pipe to make a Skype video call or downloading files from cloud-based applications like Dropbox.
According to an unnamed FCC official, the regulator plans to solicit public comments on whether broadband should be redefined as 10 Mbps and up, or even 25 Mbps and higher.
The official added that the commission would also propose a 2.9 Mbps upload speed minimum, an increase over the current 1 Mbps standard.
Raising the definition of broadband speeds has been a growing priority for the FCC.
The regulator proposed that phase II of its Connect America Fund should double the download speed required for subsidized broadband networks from 4 Mbps to 10 Mbps. This proposal has drawn fire from traditional telcos such as CenturyLink, which argue that the higher speeds would increase costs to serve hard to reach areas.
- The Washington Post has this article
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