Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to adopt its latest Broadband Progress Report. The report adjusts the definition of high-speed broadband, increasing it from the current level of 4 Mbps to 25 Mbps to better reflect consumer needs, deployment trends and technological advances. The report also finds that broadband at this speed is not being deployed nationwide in a reasonable and timely manner, with 53% of rural Americans, and 17% of all Americans – about 55 million people – lacking any access to high-speed broadband.
Public Knowledge previously filed comments with the FCC to request this increase for these exact reasons. We commend the FCC for adjusting its criteria in a way that better reflects the changing needs of Americans, and for providing a clearer picture of the state of broadband deployment, particularly in rural areas.
The following statement can be attributed to Edyael Casaperalta, Internet Rights Fellow at Public Knowledge:
“The FCC's reevaluation of the broadband marketplace is long overdue. The law directs the FCC to periodically revisit and update its standards for broadband to take into account advances in technology, consumer behavior, and the marketplace. For too long, the FCC has gotten by with an outdated standard for broadband, and as a result its analysis of the marketplace grew increasingly antiquated. As a result, discussions around broadband policy have been muddied. Because broadband is so essential to free expression, health, jobs, education, and many other things, it is important to take a clear-eyed view of the state of broadband deployment and competition.
“The National Broadband Plan set a goal stating that, by 2020, ‘at least 100 million U.S. homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second.’ Today’s report is an important finding of fact that can help the FCC more accurately assess our progress toward that goal, and one that is relevant to a number of other FCC proceedings.
“Updating its standards after such a long time means that there is a substantial jump — from 4 Mbps downstream to 25 Mbps. We encourage the FCC to gradually improve its standards in the future to keep pace with the state of the art in broadband, including taking into account billing and network management practices, such as data caps.”
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.