Better Broadband Better Lives

FCC Asserts that “Broadband” Definition is Evolving

in Broadband's Impact/FCC by

WASHINGTON July 23, 2010 –The Federal Communications Commission has decided that the definition of broadband should be evolving. The term broadband has no official technical definition and varies by nation. In the past the FCC has used a definition of “excess of 200 Kbps in both directions” (.2Mbps) however in their most recent Broadband Development Report the commission has modified the definition to 4 Mbps down and 1 Mbps.

In producing previous Broadband Development Reports the FCC measured broadband by seeing what commercial networks were offering, what consumers were demanding and “consumer applications and expectations”. Specifically section 706 requires that broadband enable users to “originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics and video telecommunications

Looking at these criteria the previous definition of 200kbps no longer satisfies basic consumer needs.

This updating of the definition is not a new concept; in the First Broadband Development Report from 1999 the FCC said: “We may find in future reports that evolution in technologies, retail offerings, and demand among consumers has raised the minimum speed for broadband from 200 kbps to, for example, a certain number of megabits per second (Mbps).

This new definition reflects the target set by the National Broadband Plan.

The current report also states that as technology evolves the definition should also evolve.

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act

1 Comment

  1. It looks to me like millions of customers just lost their “broadband” service. Fortunately, there is a new product that can economically increase the distance that ADSL can reach from the Central Office. ADSL Loop Extenders are being used by more rural telephone companies to increase the number of customers they can reach. Cost is only $150 per subscriber.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Latest from Broadband's Impact

Go to Top