New minimum speed for US broadband connections

Abhi Devireddy abhi at
Fri May 28 14:34:33 UTC 2021

I think the 10:1 ratio might have been great 5 years ago, when usage was more asymmetric. The last 5 yrs. have definitely changed the profile of a typical home user. A 4M upload pipe, will hit bottlenecks with all the collaboration that is happening remotely.

Typical residential usage:
Zoom group call: 2M upload
OneDrive + Dropbox + Box + Other file sync services: ~ 1 - 5M
Nest / Ring / Other constantly streaming camera = ~1M

If I'm working on a media file that's syncing real-time + on a zoom call, artifacts are impossible to avoid. Add to that 2+ users working remotely from the same home.

@Mike, Telehealth relies on a combination of HD video + accessories that stream AV + telemetry in real-time. In addition to bumping up the 4M upload, I agree with all the other comments on here about setting some parameters around latency and packet loss.

I think if anything, the proliferation of smart devices, requirements for higher reliability and the continuity of WFH practices are going to put additional demands on upload, not lower.


From: NANOG < at> on behalf of Blake Hudson <blake at>
Sent: Friday, May 28, 2021 9:02 AM
To: nanog at <nanog at>
Subject: Re: New minimum speed for US broadband connections

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 pace.


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?


Chris Adams

From: NANOG < at>< at> On Behalf Of Jason Canady
Sent: Friday, May 28, 2021 8:39 AM
To: nanog at<mailto:nanog at>
Subject: Re: New minimum speed for US broadband connections

CAUTION: This email originated from outside the University of North Georgia. Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know the content is safe. If you suspect this message is fraudulent, please forward to spam at<mailto:spam at> or contact the IT Service Desk at 706-864-1922.

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<>



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.?

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the NANOG mailing list