FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel wants to give the public faster broadband internet. The Federal Communications Commission will assess the state of broadband across the United States and will propose an increase in minimum broadband speeds along with setting a new long-term speed goal for the future.
A letter written by Rosenworcel proposes that the new national broadband standard be set to 100 Mbps for downloads and 20 Mbps for uploads. The current broadband standard is 25/3 Mbps, which was last updated in 2015. That’s a four times increase for download speeds.
Rosenworcel said, “The needs of internet users long ago surpassed the FCC’s 25/3 speed metric, especially during a global health pandemic that moved so much of life online.” She explained that low internet speeds negatively affect low-income and rural residents the most.
Considering the rise of work from home and the sheer number of internet-connected devices, increasing the current standard makes a lot of sense, especially in those areas that have been woefully underserved for years.
A few months ago, the White House announced a deal with internet providers to provide low-cost broadband internet to nearly 48 million households. Raising the minimum broadband standard will bring all those people faster and better internet speeds.
“The 25/3 metric isn’t just behind the times; it’s a harmful one because it masks the extent to which low-income neighborhoods and rural communities are being left behind and left offline. That’s why we need to raise the standard for minimum broadband speeds now and while also aiming even higher for the future, because we need to set big goals if we want everyone everywhere to have a fair shot at 21st-century success,” Rosenworcel added.
How does this new proposed speed become a reality? The next step is a vote on the proposal from a commission; if that passes, telecommunications companies would have to start offering these new broadband speeds to customers. I would be curious to see how internet providers respond to the FCC’s proposal and what type of pushback they may ultimately offer.
Lastly, the letter sets a future national goal of 1 Gbps/500 Mbps which would eventually bring Gigabit internet to the masses, though the FCC did not give a specific timetable for when it would like to see that happen.
The Chairwoman also said the agency should consider “affordability, adoption, availability, and equitable access as part of its determination as to whether broadband is being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion,” to keep large internet companies accountable.