Enhanced Internet Speed Standards Adopted by FCC

In a pivotal move marking the first update since January 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has revised its guidelines to define modern broadband. Embracing today’s digital demands, the FCC now recognizes that a baseline broadband service should deliver a minimum of 100Mbps for downloads and 20Mbps for uploads. This adjustment echoes the metrics used by federal and state bodies geared toward network expansion funding and aligns with current consumer internet consumption and offerings from service providers.

The commission passed the new standard by a 3-2 vote, which, beyond its surface implications, signals to Internet service providers that the bar for fulfilling ‘advanced telecommunications capability’ has been significantly lifted. The standard is not just a marker of expectation; it serves to scrutinize the spread of adequate internet across the United States and propels regulatory action should the FCC judge the service coverage insufficient. The aim is universal service – access to high-speed broadband for all Americans – which, if found lagging, could trigger FCC-led initiatives to intensify deployment and competition within the industry.

The previous benchmark, 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload speeds, remained unchanged throughout recent years due to a combination of political discord and regulatory deadlocks. However, with the congressional confirmation of President Biden’s second nominee for the FCC, the Democratic majority was able to enact the heightened speed standard.

This decision stems from a report highlighting the substantial number of Americans, particularly those in rural and Tribal areas, without access to comprehensive broadband. With updated data indicating that around 24 million Americans are underserved, the FCC argues for more rigorous improvement measures to bridge this digital divide. Additionally, the FCC has articulated a long-term objective, setting sights on future services reaching 1Gbps download and 500Mbps upload speeds as an aspirational benchmark for subsequent evaluations and initiatives.

FAQ Section on the FCC’s Revised Broadband Guidelines

What is the FCC’s new definition of broadband?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) now defines broadband as a service with a minimum of 100 Mbps for downloads and 20 Mbps for uploads.

When was this new broadband standard set?
The FCC updated its broadband standard in the first revision since January 2015.

Why did the FCC update the broadband definition?
The update reflects today’s digital demands, matches the metrics used by federal and state bodies for network expansion funding, and aligns with current consumer internet usage and services offered by providers.

What was the vote that passed the new broadband standard?
The new standard was passed by a 3-2 vote within the FCC.

What does the new broadband standard imply?
It signals that the bar for Internet service providers to fulfill ‘advanced telecommunications capability’ is now higher, indicating a need for better service coverage.

What will the FCC do if broadband service is deemed insufficient?
If the FCC finds that access to high-speed broadband is lacking, they may initiate regulatory actions to boost deployment and competition in the industry.

What was the previous broadband benchmark?
Previously, the benchmark was 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds.

Why was the previous broadband standard unchanged for so many years?
The standard remained unchanged due to political discord and regulatory deadlocks.

How many Americans are currently underserved by broadband according to the FCC?
Around 24 million Americans are considered underserved by the current broadband capabilities.

What are the FCC’s long-term objectives for broadband speeds?
The FCC has set an aspirational long-term benchmark for future services at 1 Gbps download and 500 Mbps upload speeds.

Definitions of Key Terms

Broadband: A high-speed internet service providing high rate of data transmission.

Mbps (Megabits per second): A unit of measurement for bandwidth and throughput on a network, representing the rate of data transfer.

FCC (Federal Communications Commission): An independent agency of the U.S. government that regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable.

Aspirational benchmark: A target speed set for the future to guide long-term goals and improvements in telecommunications services.

Digital divide: The gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology, and those that don’t or have restricted access.

Suggested Related Links
FCC Official Website

Marcin Frąckiewicz is an esteemed satellite technology engineer, known for his expertise in satellite communications and aerospace technology. His work involves the development and enhancement of satellite systems, focusing on improving communication capabilities and data transmission reliability in space. Frąckiewicz's contributions are critical in advancing global satellite networks, which are essential for various applications including navigation, weather forecasting, and global communications. His innovative approaches in satellite technology not only solve complex technical challenges but also pave the way for new possibilities in space exploration and Earth observation.