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Report: The FCC may redefine what counts as broadband

Nick Mediati | June 2, 2014
Not all DSL or cable Internet connections count as broadband, and new FCC rules may tighten the definition.

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You learn something new every day, and today I learned that the US Government has an actual standard of what counts as a high-speed Internet connection. But as the Washington Post reported on Friday, the Federal Communications Commission is looking into whether it needs to raise the baseline of what constitutes broadband Internet.

Right now, your connection needs to achieve a download speed of at least 4 megabits per second for the FCC to consider it a broadband connection. But the agency may change the definition so only connections with download speeds over 10Mbps would count as broadband. It may even consider setting the proverbial bar as high as 25Mbps.

Under this proposal, the FCC would also require broadband Internet connections to support upload speeds of at least 2.9Mbps, a significant boost from the current definition's 1mbps minimum.

The reason for the proposed change is our insatiable appetite for more bandwidth thanks to things like video streaming, cloud storage, and cat photos, among other things. As the Post points out, "An HD-quality Netflix stream, for instance, requires at least a 5Mbps connection." 

The FCC hasn't settled on a plan, but it is considering asking for public comment on the proposal in the not-too-distant future.


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