Senators contend that 100Mbps should be the current high-speed internet base.
For years, the high-speed Internet has been described as a minimum download speed of 25Mbps and upload of 3Mbps, according to the FCC. Instead, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) describes “high speed” as just 10Mbps down and 1Mbps up. Now, a bipartisan coalition of senators is calling for the FCC to amend the concept of high-speed broadband, arguing for a base of 100Mbps up and down – numbers that the group says represent the needs of current Internet users.
Without a question, 2020 was the year our home broadband was put to the test, and it’s possible that all of us knew that our “high-speed” service wasn’t all that. Base speeds of 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up as described by the FCC are scarcely enough to keep a Zoom call – let alone several ones – which is why a bipartisan group of senators is pushing for a revised specification.
Updating the concept would mean that the FCC would not be able to define the region covered by high-speed connectivity unless a new symmetrical speed of 100Mbps was offered.
In an open letter, the organisation writes, “Broadband has helped millions of students sustain their education and provided access to critical care for patients by telemedicine. It also provided a means for family and friends to communicate in this tough period while promoting social distance. Many of these important fiscal, social and health-related tasks can only be achieved by having access to decent broadband, a requirement that only continues to grow.”
It is hoped that this would lead to better Internet connectivity for Americans around the world. “There is no explanation why government financing for rural areas does not accommodate the type of speeds used by households in traditional well-served urban and suburban areas,” continues the letter.
Internet connectivity equity is a long-standing problem, with many families residing in underserved communities grappling with rates as low as 768 kbps. One AT&T consumer has recently gone so far as to embarrass AT&T with a $10,000 newspaper ad moaning about his 3Mbps DSL (TL;DR: it worked).