FCC sets a new standard for broadband internet: no less than 100 Mbps

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has scrapped the old benchmark for measuring broadband internet and increased it four-fold. Instead of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload, Americans are now supposed to get at least 100/20 Mbps.

The new standard will be used for high-speed internet service deployment to “better reflect the broadband needs of American households.”

The benchmark of what qualifies as “high-speed’ broadband internet is important for ISPs, federal and state programs, as well as consumers, with new services needing to meet or exceed the set benchmark. The internet speed benchmark is used in multiple federal and state programs, such as NTIA’s BEAD Program and multiple USF programs.

“This fix is overdue. It aligns us with pandemic legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the work of our colleagues at other agencies. It also helps us better identify the extent to which low-income neighborhoods and rural communities are underserved,” Jessica Rosenworcel, chairwoman at FCC, stated.

The FCC assessed that “advanced telecommunications capability is not being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion based on the total number of Americans, Americans in rural areas, and people living on Tribal lands who lack access to such capability, and the fact that these gaps in deployment are not closing rapidly enough.”

Twenty-four million Americans, including almost 28% of Americans in rural areas and more than 23% of people living on Tribal lands, still do not have fixed terrestrial broadband service (excluding satellite). Mobile 5G-NR coverage has not been physically deployed at minimum speeds of 35/3 Mbps to roughly 9% of all Americans.

“Millions of people still do not have the broadband they need to fully participate in modern life. We are working on it. That is why we have revamped our broadband mapping at this agency. It is why we are refining our universal service programs. It is why our colleagues at other agencies have been given unprecedented billions from Congress to help build broadband infrastructure to places that are still without,” Rosenworcel said.

The 25/3 standard for the “advanced telecommunications capability” was established back in 2015.

FCC’s Report also sets a 1 Gbps/500 Mbps long-term goal for broadband speeds.

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