FCC now says broadband speeds must be at least 100 Mbps

The Federal Communications Commission voted this week to raise its Internet speed benchmarks for the first time From January 2015Concluding that a modern broadband service should provide at least 100 Mbps download speed and 20 Mbps upload speed.

an fcc Press release It said after Thursday’s 3-2 vote that the 100Mbps/20Mbps benchmark “is based on standards now used in many federal and state programs,” such as those used to distribute money to expand networks. goes. The new benchmark also reflects “consumer usage patterns and what is actually available and marketed by Internet service providers,” the FCC said.

The previous standard of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream lasted throughout the Donald Trump era and most of President Biden’s term. There has been a clear partisan divide on the speed standard, with Democrats pushing for a higher benchmark and Republicans arguing it should not be raised.

The standard is partly symbolic but could indirectly influence potential FCC rules. Required under the FCC American law Regularly evaluate whether “advanced telecommunications capacity is being deployed appropriately and timely for all Americans” and “take immediate action to accelerate deployment” and if current deployment is not “appropriate and timely” Promote competition.

With a higher speed standard, the FCC is more likely to conclude that broadband providers are not moving toward universal deployment fast enough and are not taking regulatory action in response. During the Trump era, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai held the Republican majority Government that 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds should still count as “advanced telecommunications capability” and concluded that the telecommunications industry is making substantial efforts to extend advanced telecommunications service to all Americans.

2-2 standoff delays benchmark rise

Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel is the FCC chair through 2021 and was seeking a boost even before she was promoted to the commission’s top spot. Rosenworcel formally proposed the 100Mbps/20Mbps standard in July 2022But at the time there was a 2-2 partisan deadlock in the FCC and the 25 Mbps/3 Mbps standard remained in place for some time.

Was Biden’s first nominee to fill the vacant FCC seat stonewalled by the senateBut Democrats ultimately got a 3-2 majority when Biden was the second choice. Confirmed in September 2023, Thursday’s 3-2 party-line vote approved the 100Mbps/20Mbps standard and concluded in a report that “advanced telecommunications capacity is not being deployed appropriately and in a timely manner,” the FCC said in its press release. Is.”

The press release said the findings are based on “the overall number of Americans, Americans in rural areas and those living on tribal lands, who do not have access to such capability, and the fact that these gaps in deployment are rapidly closing.” “Not happening.” Based on December 2022 data, the FCC said that fixed broadband service (except satellite) “has not been physically deployed to approximately 24 million Americans, including about 28 percent of Americans in rural areas and tribal areas.” People cover more than 23 percent of the land.”

A contract The FCC report was released before the meeting. The report said, “Based on our assessment of the available data, we can no longer conclude that broadband with speeds of 25/3 Mbps – the definitive benchmark established in 2015 and relied upon in the previous seven reports – is ‘advanced. ‘Supports functions.” “We have found that ‘advanced telecommunications capability’ for fixed broadband service requires access to download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 20 Mbps. The record seeks to increase the fixed speed benchmark in this manner. “Heavily supports.”

The report also sets a “long-term speed target” of 1 Gbps download speed with 500 Mbps upload speed. The FCC said it intended to use this speed target “as a guideline for evaluating our efforts to encourage deployment.”

This story was originally published on Ars Technica,

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