Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

FCC Prepares to Weaken Their Definition of Broadband

Karl Bode, Techdirt:

As such, we engage in this endless tug of war depending on how grossly-beholden the current FCC regulators are to regional telecom duopolies. Regulators not blindly loyal to giant ISPs will usually try to raise the bar to match modern needs, as Tom Wheeler did when he bumped the standard definition of broadband to 25 Mbps down, 4 Mbps up back in 2015. Revolving door regulators in turn do everything in their power to manipulate or ignore real world data so that the industry’s problems magically disappear.

Case in point: the FCC is expected to vote in February on a new proposal that would dramatically weaken the standard definition of broadband. Under the current rules, you’re not technically getting “broadband” if your connection in slower than 25 Mbps down, 4 Mbps up. Under Pai’s new proposal, your address would be considered “served” and competitive if a wireless provider is capable of offering 10 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up to your area. While many people technically can get wireless at these speeds, rural availability and geography make true coverage highly inconsistent.

This move, like most of the others made by Ajit Pai and the rest of the Republicans running the FCC, is indefensible. Who, anywhere, thinks that a lower standard for what constitutes “broadband” is what we need at a time when higher-bandwidth consumer services are growing?

Of course, in the near future, you can bet the FCC will begin touting how rapidly and widely they expanded broadband access under this administration.