The FCC has just announced a major change that could affect millions of Americans, despite intense lobbying efforts from Internet service providers. Following this decision, in order for Internet service to be considered “broadband,” speeds must exceed 25 Mbps upstream, and 3 Mbps downstream. Currently over 55 million people do not have access to Internet service at these speeds, despite paying for service touted by ISPs as broadband.
For many, what was considered broadband yesterday (a paltry 4 Mbps up/1 Mbps down speed) no longer meets that definition. For customers, this change means relatively little in the short term. Those with lower Internet speeds will not see any instantaneous change to their service. However the FCC has now put the ball in the ISPs’ court, as most will now have to adjust how they advertise and label services.
Many, potentially including the FCC, hope that increasing the definition of broadband more than six-fold will push providers to further invest in their own networks, increasing speeds for all and bringing the US close to other industrialized nations where average Internet speeds are typically significantly higher.