Wheeler: 25/3 Mbps Should Be New High-Speed Definition

Draft of Sec. 706 Report Proposes the Change

An FCC source confirms the commissioner has circulated a draft of the latest broadband competition report to commissioners and it proposes a 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream definition of high-speed broadband and concludes once again that broadband is not being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion.

The speed change proposal should not come as a big surprise. when the FCC issued the Notice of Inquiry on the new report back in August it suggested then definition of “high speed” needs to be increased from the current 4 Megabits per second downstream/1 Mbps upstream to at least 10/1.5 and might have to go as high as 25/6 Mbps to accommodate or anticipate all those cloud-storing, video watching, online educating Americans.

In addition, FCC chairman Tom wheeler has been signaling that at least 10 Mbps, and more likely 25 Mbps should be the new "table stakes" for broadband.

Given that updated benchmark, the competition report concludes that broadband is not being deployed "to all Americans in a reasonable and

timely fashion," and especially in rural areas, as well as tribal lands and U.S. territories. The report concludes that a 4/1 definition is not sufficient for high-quality voice, graphics and video.

According to the report, 53% of rural Americans and 17% of all Americans don't have access to high speed broadband if that 25/3 benchmark is adopted.

Just last month, the FCC boosted its threshold speeds for getting money from the Connect America Fund (CAF) for broadband buildouts to 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.

Congress in Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires the commission to issue an annual report on whether advanced telecommunications is being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion to all Americans, and if it is not, the FCC can take regulatory steps to make it so.

According to the FCC, the congressional definition of advanced telecom is broadband that allows users to “originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics and video” services."