Call on FCC to update definition of "high speed" Internet, from 25/3 Mbps to at least...

Joe White

Posts: 69   +0
Staff
In context: For years, high speed internet has been defined as a minimum download speed of 25Mbps and upload of 3Mbps, according to the FCC. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) instead defines “high speed” as just 10Mbps down and 1Mbps up. Now, a bipartisan group of senators is calling on the FCC to update its definition of high-speed broadband, and argues for a base of 100Mbps up and down – figures which the group claims reflect the needs of modern Internet users.

Without a doubt, 2020 was the year when our home broadband was put to the test, and it’s likely that many of us realized our “high speed” connection wasn’t all that. Base speeds of 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up as defined by the FCC are barely enough to maintain one Zoom call – let alone multiple ones – which is why a bipartisan group of senators is calling for an updated definition.

Updating the definition would mean the FCC would be unable to identify an area as being served by high speed access unless the new symmetrical speed of 100Mbps was offered.

In an open letter, the group writes, “Broadband has helped millions of students maintain their education and provided patients access to vital care through telemedicine services. It has also given family and friends a way to connect in this difficult time while supporting social distancing. All of these vital economic, social, and healthcare-related functions are only possible with access to adequate broadband, the demands for which only continue to increase.”

It’s hoped this would drive forward improved Internet access for Americans across the country. “There is no reason federal funding to rural areas should not support the type of speeds used by households in typical well-served urban and suburban areas,” the letter adds.

Equity of Internet access is a longstanding issue, with many families living in underserved areas struggling with speeds as low as 768kbps. One AT&T customer recently went so far as to shame AT&T with a $10,000 newspaper ad complaining about his 3Mbps DSL (TL;DR: it worked).

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R3ckless

Posts: 7   +7
How do ppl even work with just 3mbps upload speeds? O_o

You cant even make a video call on that, 100/100 is a good minimum, We need to hold the fcc accountable on this. When they originally passed the 25/3 standard I was like wtf cant make a decent video call on that level of upload.. I would have made it 100/100 originally. They also need to make sure people are getting served and added in for more rural areas. Rural people get shafted hard when it comes to access.

Far too long service providers have taken profits over network expansion its time to make them do this. The USA should be near the top in internet speeds and accessibility not the near bottom.
 

brucek

Posts: 863   +1,252
Is 100/100+ commonly available anywhere in the US other than fiber connections? Cable is the highest bandwidth option for many homes, and while 100+ download is often offered, I've rarely seen the same for upload? Is download:upload tradeable on a 1:1 basis at the cable companies discretion, or is there a technical reason that download can be provided at far higher levels than upload?

 

Danny101

Posts: 1,837   +790
25 for me is fine for most things. Upload parity would certainly be a big lift even if the download wasn't raised. Even raising it to 10 mbs would be helpful.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,816   +3,961
Is 100/100+ commonly available anywhere in the US other than fiber connections? Cable is the highest bandwidth option for many homes, and while 100+ download is often offered, I've rarely seen the same for upload? Is download:upload tradeable on a 1:1 basis at the cable companies discretion, or is there a technical reason that download can be provided at far higher levels than upload?
I have cable internet and it's capable of gigabit speeds. We haven't reached the bandwidth limit of copper wire yet. I have a 1000/250 connection
 

Danny101

Posts: 1,837   +790
If they really want the IOT reality to emerge, then they're going to have to open it up with higher speeds.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,661   +4,141
How do ppl even work with just 3mbps upload speeds? O_o
You cant even make a video call on that, 100/100 is a good minimum, We need to hold the fcc accountable on this. When they originally passed the 25/3 standard I was like wtf cant make a decent video call on that level of upload.. I would have made it 100/100 originally. They also need to make sure people are getting served and added in for more rural areas. Rural people get shafted hard when it comes to access.

Far too long service providers have taken profits over network expansion its time to make them do this. The USA should be near the top in internet speeds and accessibility not the near bottom.
We have hundreds of students that attend video classrooms on connections *slower* then that. You guys are way too used to your comfortable high speed internet.

The VAST MAJORITY of America working from home right now has upload speeds that cap out at 5 Mbps or lower. National average is something like 4. Sites like netflix "recommend" at least 1.5 down, and 5 is fast enough for netflix to push HD video.

Yes, internet speeds need to improve, but lets not pretend that 25/3 is like dial up. It's still usable, but not particularly quick. The biggest change really just needs to be upload speeds, outside of steam game downloads 25 is enough for most households even with working from home.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,865   +3,749
TechSpot Elite
We have hundreds of students that attend video classrooms on connections *slower* then that. You guys are way too used to your comfortable high speed internet.

The VAST MAJORITY of America working from home right now has upload speeds that cap out at 5 Mbps or lower. National average is something like 4. Sites like netflix "recommend" at least 1.5 down, and 5 is fast enough for netflix to push HD video.

Yes, internet speeds need to improve, but lets not pretend that 25/3 is like dial up. It's still usable, but not particularly quick. The biggest change really just needs to be upload speeds, outside of steam game downloads 25 is enough for most households even with working from home.
You have hundreds of students with subpar internet that is barely working and can't be used for real studies and work. Wasted time for those students as all they can do is be frustrated every day. This is 2021 dude, not the early '00, these kind of excuses have loooong lost their meaning. All you are doing is paying stupid amounts of money for bad internet that is barely usable.

FYI upload speed is just as important as download speed and using "netflix" as a benchmark is just nonsense. you don't upload to netflix videos, but you still get a recommendation of 1.5mbps from them.

FYI2: you are making an assumption that a household only has 1 device connected at a time that can use a lot of bandwidth. phones don't exist and smart TVs don't exist.
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 6,398   +4,730
Meanwhile, nearly 30% of the territorial US is still waiting on ANY form or broadband that has a livable ping and costs less than $100/month, and Big Telecom is still using its army of lawyers to block anyone else from serving those areas.
And the worst thing about that is ISPs that engage in such practices expect that everyone will love what they are doing so much that they will want to buy more of the same crap.

I am glad I am done with Spectrum in favor of a local FTTH provider that finally got our neighborhood wired. I'm on 500/50 for $50/mo now. I was on 100/10 with Spectrum, and the funny thing with that was that a few days after I cancelled my Spectrum account because of getting FTTH, I got a letter from Spectrum telling me they just gave me 200/20 at the same cost as the 100/10. I could only laugh as the FTTH connection is $20/mo cheaper than what Spectrum was charging me. I have several tales to tell about the crap CS from Spectrum. I expect that Spectrum will be crying about losing market to the FTTH provider in the not too distant future in my area. Spectrum is almost universally hated in my area.
 
Wow. If they were to do this, my Gigabit connection wouldn't even be considered high speed internet anymore. I have 1000/50 cable with our municipal cable system. Maybe they'll double our upstream instead of losing their "Broadband" designation? I can only hope.
 

Bulllee

Posts: 216   +136
I suppose the rural areas of the USA will get there slowly.
There was a push in the UK to do the same thing and seems to be reasonably successful.
Then again the farmer does not need any internet speed to lead the bull to the field but needs the whole of it to sell it.
Kudos to the agriculture department I say.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 444   +709
I'd love to have better than about 70/5 for my connection speed, especially upload speed.

As soon as my brother streams something of my plex server, the upload speed is limited to 3Mbps for streaming on the Plex server, my internet speed overall just takes a dump. I believe 3Mbps is the minimum speed to allow 720p streaming outside of my house. 10Mbps upload would be awesome, 50 would be amazing.
 

cliffordcooley

Posts: 12,937   +6,267
I'd love to have better than about 70/5 for my connection speed, especially upload speed.
You are fortunate! Your upload is better than our download.

Though I do think our BFE town is finally getting an upgrade. Old mayor dies, new mayor promises better Internet across the whole town. Since then there has been service trucks everywhere.
 

ypsylon

Posts: 385   +315
Amazing how corporate America cheats people. So many years have passed by and US still got one of the worst internet infrastructures (if not the worst) among highly developed countries while being outrageously the most expensive by far with cheapest electronics available in the World.

Capitalism of scarcity in a nutshell.*

Data caps. No broadband at all. Dial-up. I really feel for all the folks, because solid internet access is basic human right.

* - I understand there are few special cases where one person live 200km in the desert, but those are super rare instances. Even if I don't like Musk I hope Starlink will take the World by storm.
 

dangh

Posts: 256   +341
I suppose the rural areas of the USA will get there slowly.
There was a push in the UK to do the same thing and seems to be reasonably successful.
Then again the farmer does not need any internet speed to lead the bull to the field but needs the whole of it to sell it.
Kudos to the agriculture department I say.
Farmers often have kids who are students, and being a farmer do not mean they can't be strong technically and utilize broadband to the fullest. It's just a job. And with iot utilised on farms broadband is important thing.
Starlink is one of the best options for all people living in remote areas.
 

Scshadow

Posts: 652   +309
Farmers often have kids who are students, and being a farmer do not mean they can't be strong technically and utilize broadband to the fullest. It's just a job. And with iot utilised on farms broadband is important thing.
Starlink is one of the best options for all people living in remote areas.
Farmers shouldn't be underestimated at all. More and more tech is being put into farm equipment and they have to be tech savvy to figure out how to repair their equipment because they can't afford to wait for a repairman or a dealership to come out and diagnose their problems. This is a good segway to remind that Right to Repair is super important to farmers because they can and want to repair their equipment but manufacturers are making home repairs impossible. I promise you, they get good use out of their internet. Its actually offensive to suggest because they don't live in cities that tech is some mystical magical device that is beyond their comprehension and understanding. I would take an average farmer over an average waste of space inner city piece of trash any day.

As far as the article, 100M Download is absolutely High Speed. I'm a snob and I love that I have Sym GB fiber service but being a realist, I think we should absolutely be happy if they were to update to 100Mx25M and call that high speed. Most 100M coax sits at about 10M upload and if we are going to rock the boat realistically, 100M Upload is excessive, but pushing for a 4:1 ratio of Download to Upload would really help with keeping "high speed" up with the times. Video conferencing and collaboration tools, 100% means 10:1 ratios are handicapping internet usage in these areas. People are buying 400M Coax and 1G Coax merely for the increased upload and not necessarily for the download and thats a problem.
 
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Duke9192

Posts: 35   +28
I didn't have issues with zoom meetings at home with 10 down and 1 up. Believe me, I have fought for years to get faster internet here, but the fact that I don't live in a subdivision of homes means no company will run fiber to me. I do have excellent 5g coverage and use the Hotspot for large downloads at about 100mbps, and even in gaming I get stable 30ms ping with almost no jitter, but with 60gb monthly restriction. I think 5g and beyond will be the future VS running cables all over the place that become obsolete.