New minimum speed for US broadband connections

John Curran jcurran at istaff.org
Sun May 30 14:30:17 UTC 2021


Sean - 

As others have alluded to, it likely would heavily depend how such a definition of “broadband Internet" gets used…

As a recommendation, it’s a wonderful thing to have a reference target for service providers to aim for in their offerings. 

As a mandated requirement (e.g. when used for purposes of approving government licensing or funding), then it’s very important to recognize that there will always be unintended consequences of such mandates; i.e. it’s very easy to argue that “everyone deserves N times faster Internet”, but implementation reality is always that funding doesn’t exist to provide that service to everyone, so such mandates can result in those who would very much appreciate an “inferior” government-approved or subsidized service getting no service at all…

The above is not a statement in favor or against any particular definition, but rather observation that the question is hard to consider absent more detail about circumstances (and some of the potential consequences) of how the definition will be applied back in the real-world. 

Thanks,
/John

> On 27 May 2021, at 8:29 PM, Sean Donelan <sean at donelan.com> wrote:
> 
> 
> What should be the new minimum speed for "broadband" in the U.S.?
> 
> 
> This is the list of past minimum broadband speed definitions by year
> 
> year  speed
> 
> 1999  200 kbps in both directions (this was chosen as faster than dialup/ISDN speeds)
> 
> 2000  200 kbps in at least one direction (changed because too many service providers had 128 kbps upload)
> 
> 2010   4 mbps down / 1 mbps up
> 
> 2015   25 Mbps down / 3 Mbps up (wired)
>        5 Mbps down / 1 Mbps up (wireless)
> 
> 2021   ??? / ??? (some Senators propose 100/100 mbps)
> 
> Not only in major cities, but also rural areas
> 
> Note, the official broadband definition only means service providers can't advertise it as "broadband" or qualify for subsidies; not that they must deliver better service.
> 

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