Home Latest Feeds Technology News The FCC declares that internet speeds below 100Mbps/20Mbps aren’t “broadband”

The FCC declares that internet speeds below 100Mbps/20Mbps aren’t “broadband”

The FCC declares that internet speeds below 100Mbps/20Mbps aren’t “broadband”


Key Takeaways

  • Improvements in internet technology prompt FCC to redefine broadband: now set at 100Mbps download, 20Mbps upload speed.
  • FCC hopes to make 1Gbps/500Mbps connections the new standard for broadband as technology advances in the US.
  • FCC report finds 24 million Americans lack fixed broadband, with rural and Tribal areas most affected. New regulations aim to improve access.

Do you know what classifies as “broadband”? For a while, the FCC deemed that connections with a download speed of 25Mbps and an upload speed of 3Mbps could be advertised as a “broadband connection”. This was set back in 2015, which was likely a good benchmark at the time; however, while both internet technology and Wi-Fi routers have advanced since then, the definition has stayed the same. Now, right before a decade of silence on the matter, the FCC has made a statement declaring that any internet connection slower than 100Mbps download and 20Mbps upload is no longer legally deemed a broadband connection.


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The definition of “broadband” in the US gets a much-needed upgrade

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The news broke today in a document published by FCC News. In a PDF document titled “FCC Increases Broadband Speed Benchmark“, the regulator states the following:

The Commission’s Report, issued pursuant to section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, raises the Commission’s benchmark for high-speed fixed broadband to download speeds of 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of 20 megabits per second – a four-fold increase from the 25/3 Mbps benchmark set by the Commission in 2015.

The FCC states that this new limit was selected based on both the needs of the customer and the capabilities of internet providers. However, the FCC believes that the US internet system can still go further; it aims to make 1Gbps/500Mbps connections the new future standard for broadband.

The FCC’s report finds America’s internet infrastructure lacking

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The news is a cause of celebration for people tired of slow internet, but the report also goes into detail as to what the FCC thinks of the US’s current internet rollout progress. Turns out, it’s not very happy:

The Report concludes that advanced telecommunications capability is
being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion based on the total number of Americans, Americans in rural areas, and people living on Tribal lands who lack access to such capability, and the fact that these gaps in deployment are not closing rapidly enough.

The report finds that 24 million Americans don’t have access to a non-satellite “fixed terrestrial broadband service,” which includes 28% of people in rural areas, and 23% of people in Tribal lands. 45 million Americans don’t have access to either a 100Mbps/20Mbps internet connection or a 35/3Mbps 5G connection, and 9% of Americans don’t meet the aforementioned 5G requirements. As such, the FCC’s new regulations will hopefully cause US ISPs to pick up the pace and get the nation connected.



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