FCC chair calls for 100Mb/s speeds for all
Jessica Rosenworcel, chairwoman of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has circulated a Notice of Inquiry to colleagues that would kick-start the agency’s annual evaluation of the state of broadband across the country.
As part of this, Rosenworcel has proposed increasing the national standard for minimum broadband speeds and setting a long-term goal for broadband speed.
The notice proposes to increase the national broadband standard to 100Mb/s for download and 20Mb/s for upload and discusses a range of evidence supporting this standard, including the requirements for new networks funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The FCC previously set the broadband standard at 25/3Mb/s in 2015.
The proposals also include a separate national goal of 1Gb/s for download and 500Mb/s for the future. Looking beyond speed, Rosenworcel additionally proposed that the FC consider affordability, adoption, availability, and equitable access as part of its determination as to whether broadband is being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion.
She said: ‘The needs of internet users long ago surpassed the FCC’s 25/3 speed metric, especially during a global health pandemic that moved so much of life online. The 25/3 metric isn’t just behind the times, it’s a harmful one because it masks the extent to which low-income neighborhoods and rural communities are being left behind and left offline. That’s why we need to raise the standard for minimum broadband speeds now and while also aiming even higher for the future, because we need to set big goals if we want everyone everywhere to have a fair shot at 21st-century success.’
This latest move follows an announcement from the commission at the start of the year that it would officially launch the Affordable Connectivity Program as the $14.2bn successor to the Emergency Broadband Benefit which was launched to help almost 9 million afford internet access during the pandemic.