FCC Seeks Definition Of 'Broadband'
"The Recovery Act requires the Commission to develop a national broadband plan that seeks to ensure access to broadband capability for the entire United States. An understanding of what constitutes 'broadband' thus is essential to evaluating the extent to which 'broadband capability' is available," the agency said in a public notice issued Thursday.
In the past, the FCC was criticized for using outdated definitions of "high-speed." Until last year, the FCC defined broadband as Web service that allowed downloads at a speed of at least 200 kbps. Last year, the agency re-defined broadband as service that's at least 768 kbps.
A report earlier this year by Akamai said that U.S. Web users had average broadband speeds of 3.9 Mbps -- lower than average speeds in 16 other countries.
The FCC is requesting input on a variety of factors, including how to account for the rapid pace of technological change. "The Internet and broadband networks have been characterized by rapid evolution and change," the agency stated. "While a static set of objectively measured thresholds may be useful to compare networks at a given time, or over time, a static definition will fail to address changing needs and habits."