The US Federal Communications Commission has quadrupled the minimum speed that it considers “broadband” internet to better reflect the way people use the internet today (and what internet service providers can market as broadband).

In order to meet that benchmark, ISP’s now need to offer download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and upload speeds of 20 Mbps or higher.

That’s a big jump over the previous standards of 25Mbps and 3Mbps, respectively, which had been the benchmarks adopted by the FCC in 2015. But it’s also been a long time coming, because… politics.

As Ars Technica points out, the chair of the FCC has actually been calling for this increase since mid-2022, but the proposal didn’t have enough votes to pass the measure until more recently.

So what actually happens now that the FCC has set a new benchmark? For one thing, it allows the agency to provide an updated look at how many people in the country do or do not actually have access to internet service that meets the definition of broadband.

For example, the FCC says that as of December, 2022:

  • About 24 million Americans had limited access to broadband because “fixed terrestrial broadband service (excluding satellite) has not been physically deployed” in their region.
  • That number includes “almost 28% of Americans in rural areas, and more than 23% of people living on Tribal lands.”

Those numbers can help the FCC and other agencies to set regulations and policies in the future (although it’s worth noting that at least one of the commissioners who voted against the proposal say that numbers have improved somewhat since late 2022, while another questions the omission of satellite-based internet from the analysis).

The FCC has also set a “long-term goal” of 1 Gbps download speeds and 500 Mbps upload speeds ” to give stakeholders a collective goal towards which to strive,” but it’s unclear whether there’s any timeline for achieving that goal.

via FCC

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  1. So whats it defined when your 5G 500 Mbps downshifts to 2G network crawling at 2100 baud modem speeds only during stock market operating hours… ?

  2. It surely is a problem when things are like that. I live in Europe and the first time I got 100/100Mb internet speed was like 8 years ago. And it was fiber, here we barely deploy Cable connections. Now I have 1000/1000Mb and I pay like 25€ for it, but there are other companies offering 10/10Gb for the same price. I personally think that speed is useless for residential areas, even 1Gb but my internet package includes phone and other stuff and it can’t be contracted separatelly this way.

    What I mean, companies would have to focus on raising speed of rural areas instead of giving more to cities, although at least here they improved it a lot lately. I feel sorry for you guys, because companies look like mafia.

  3. way to go! I hope this will shame greedy corporations that don’t want to improve their infrastructure.

  4. I’m getting 363.7 Mbps down, but only 10.6 Mbps up on my Spectrum cable modem internet. Upload speeds are always the weak link. I wonder if 20 Mbps up is possible on cable.

  5. “We’re Not Evil™! Just ignore how we’re banning tiktok and every other foreign website that doesn’t abide by our censorship demands, no matter how much everyone is saying not to do that.”

    1. I admit I don’t know what to think concerning what the ban of TikTok actually means in the grand scheme of everything. I just assume networks and infrastructure are owned by others with more say over the matter so whatever will be will be.

    2. The FCC isn’t trying to do that and that measure has no chance of making it through the Senate or getting signed into law.

      1. It passed the House with a veto-proof majority from both parties and the president has already said he’ll sign it. What exactly is there to stop it in the Senate?

        1. You mean the president whose campaign just joined TikTok last month? I’ll be surprised if it reaches his desk in an election year. Him signing it would sure be a good way to lose a lot of the millennial and Gen Z vote.

    3. China itself bans all foreign social networks. Facebook, Instagram, Threads, Twitter/X, Pinterest — none of them are available in mainland China. It’s bananas that we allow an algorithmically-driven social media app controlled by China

      1. I don’t actually like tiktok, but I like the idea of giving the president the power to arbitrarily ban any foreign website even less. And I really don’t trust the PACs that are pushing this through.

        1. Well, the thing is America has a trillion problems and it’s growing. And it is only themselves to blame. Why people haven’t revolted in the 1970s is still a mystery to emotionless robots like me. That’s when everything started going downhill.

          They ended the space race and technology investments. They started the illegal war in Vietnam. They exasperated the energy crisis. Eroded people’s rights. Dismantled unions. Accepted bribes in congress. Destroyed the healthcare system. Degraded the education sector. And lastly removed the checks/balances of the global financial system by “temporarily” abolishing the gold-backed currency.

          You had one guy yelling at you about all of this, and you just laughed and called him a (Carlin) comedian.

          ….so yah

          1. Yes, I know, it’s all my fault for not being born by 1971, then being able to ether enough evidence of these trends within a year or two, convince enough people they were actually bad, convince people to get mad at the correct source of the problem instead of other things they might have blamed at the time, and being unable to drown out the voice of the TV news cycle calling any dissenters nazis and communists until that effectively became true as far as the average person is concerned. Or, for not using a time machine and an almanac to bet on things until I’ve made enough money to buy an army. I’m so sorry, I should totally do something drastic that’ll just make me look stupid and won’t change anything, like advocate for the destruction of my own people, as penance.