New minimum speed for US broadband connections

Blake Hudson blake at
Fri May 28 14:02:10 UTC 2021

What is the rationale for changing it? Have the applications changed? 
Has our use of them changed?

Yes, somewhat. There's been, and will continue to be, more cord cutting 
of non-IP broadcast video services towards unicast IP streaming 
services. However, video codecs have gotten more efficient so that what 
used to require an 8Mbps stream now fits in a 4Mbps package. I see more 
folks video conferencing (whether that be for personal or business use), 
which relies more heavily on upload than most applications. Folks with 
crummy WiFi or slower upload speeds have become the have-nots in this 
remote work era. The goal of subsidies is to lift the base/minimum so 
that there are fewer have-nots. Set the qualifier too low and you'll end 
up providing assistance where it doesn't accomplish this goal. Raise the 
qualifier too high too soon and you run the risk of excluding assistance 
where it could help.

I'm content with 10Mbps down per person in the household (a quick rule 
of thumb I've been using for a few years). If a common household has 4 
people, 40Mbps download seems sufficient for today's typical usage (this 
assumes a 10:1 download:upload ratio, so ~4Mbps up). Latency needs to be 
quick enough for real-time voice or video calls to work smoothly. If the 
makeup of our homes change or the applications we use within the home 
change, I'm all for adjusting these figures. This still leaves DSL, 
cable, fiber, and various wireless technologies as options that would 
qualify for the definition of broadband. At some point, if one of these 
technologies cannot keep up with the pace of demand it will need to be 
excluded in favor of technologies that have done a better job of keeping 


On 5/28/2021 8:07 AM, Chris Adams (IT) wrote:
> I’d be interested to understand the rationale for not wanting to 
> change the definition. Is it strictly the business/capital outlay expense?
> Thanks,
> **
> Chris Adams
> *From:* NANOG < at> *On Behalf 
> Of *Jason Canady
> *Sent:* Friday, May 28, 2021 8:39 AM
> *To:* nanog at
> *Subject:* Re: New minimum speed for US broadband connections
> CAUTION:This email originated from /*outside the University of North 
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> I second Mike.
> On 5/28/21 8:37 AM, Mike Hammett wrote:
>     I don't think it needs to change.
>     -----
>     Mike Hammett
>     Intelligent Computing Solutions
>     <>
>     Midwest-IX
>     <>
>     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>     *From: *"Sean Donelan" <sean at> <mailto:sean at>
>     *To: *nanog at <mailto:nanog at>
>     *Sent: *Thursday, May 27, 2021 7:29:08 PM
>     *Subject: *New minimum speed for US broadband connections
>     What should be the new minimum speed for "broadband" in the U.S.?

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