FCC Redefines Definition of Broadband

From now on, Internet connection speeds must offer a download rate of at least 25 MBPS and an upload rate of at least 3 MBPS to qualify as "broadband," according to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The previous broadband standard was 4 MBPS for downloads and 1 MBPS for uploads

In its first broadband progress report under Chairman Tom Wheeler, the FCC found that under its new definition, 17 percent of the U.S. population -- some 55 million people -- still lack access to broadband connectivity. The percentage is even higher in rural areas, where only 47 percent of residents have access to such broadband speeds, and on Native American tribal lands, where nearly two-thirds lack such access.

"While significant progress in broadband deployment has been made, due in part to the commission's action to support broadband through its Universal Service programs, these advances are not occurring broadly enough or quickly enough, the report finds," according to the FCC. "The report concludes that more work needs to be done by the private and public sectors to expand robust broadband to all Americans in a timely way."

'Faster than the Model T'

We reached out to former New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Cay Johnston to get his opinion on the FCC's latest broadband decision. In his 2012 book, "The Fine Print," Johnston devoted a chapter -- "In Twenty-Ninth Place and Fading Fast" -- to the slow development of high-speed Internet access in the U.S., concluding that "our Internet-telephone-cable cartel has left us with the worst possible outcome."

The FCC's new standard for 'high speed' 21st Century Internet is promoting Ford's Model A as faster than the Model T," Johnson told us.

The global average connection speed had dropped slightly to 4.5 mbps, with South Korea remaining the nation with the...

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