The FCC voted 3-2 to redefine advanced broadband as 25Mbps downstream, and 4Mbps upstream in an effort to accommodate the growing need for more bandwidth.
The FCC has officially redefined advanced broadband amid the growing need for “advanced broadband” service as more individuals, connect more devices, and ultimately use more bandwidth than ever before. The move is one that comes ahead of the decision for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to officially rule on how the Internet is actually classified. The FCC noted that the move to redefine advanced broadband comes at a time when the commission once again found that advanced broadband simply was not being deployed quickly enough, to meet the growing needs of the people.
However, Republicans as well as major players in the broadband business have cited significant issues with the repeated reclassification of advanced broadband. The FCC eventually found through their evaluation of the situation that 55 million residents here in the United States have access to this advanced broadband. That report though showed that 55 million equates to just 17% of the actual population. Previously, the definition of advanced broadband was 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream.
The reclassification to 25Mbps downstream and 3Mbps upstream is a major upgrade, but all of this redefining and reclassifying is leaving the telecommunication community a bit concerned about what the future looks like. Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have all filed comments in the last few months regarding this, and other issues around redefining and reclassifying various parts of the broadband space – but a major ruling is expected to come in the next month as it’s determined whether broadband will be labeled a Title II service, like most utilities are labeled in the United States.
Those who oppose the redefinition and reclassification have said, “The Commission should conclude that broadband is being deployed throughout the United States in a reasonable and timely fashion.” Verizon’s lawyers even went as far as to point out, “Broadband providers have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in deploying next generation broadband networks.”
The next few months will be very telling for the broadband community as many attempt to figure out where they stand now, where they should go, and where the companies will need to go in order to maintain the business that they have established to this point. It’s also unclear how the pending decisions will impact the general consumer.