Friday, January 30, 2015

FCC redefines broadband to increase speeds; 53% of rural residents lack access to new levels

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday changed the definition of broadband, increasing download speeds from 4 megabits per second to 25 megabits per second and upload speeds from 1 megabit per second to 3 megabits per second, Steve Lohr reports for The New York Times. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who proposed the faster speeds earlier this month, said faster speeds were needed to keep up with the rising demands of American households.

"The impact of the new definition is uncertain, but the standard does guide policy on matters like the national deployment of broadband service, particularly in rural areas," Lohr writes. More than half of rural Americans—53 percent, or 22 million people—do not currently have Internet access at the new levels, while only 8 percent of urban residents lack access to the new speeds.

"The new benchmark standard on speed could also spill over into the current weighing of new rules intended to maintain an open Internet, or net neutrality," Lohr writes. FCC is scheduled to vote on open Internet regulations on Feb. 26. (Read more)

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