New Federal defintion for broadband

According to the New Yorks Times

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday sharply revised its benchmark definition of broadband Internet service. The new definition increases download speeds to more than six times faster than the previous standard, set more than four years ago.

So what’s the new speed?

The new broadband benchmark sets downloads at a speed of 25 megabits a second and uploads of 3 megabits a second. The previous standard was a download speed of 4 megabits a second and an upload speed of 1 megabit a second.

The jump is huge. Compare it to the current Minnesota standard (10-20 Mbps down and 5-10 Mbps up). The challenging part of broadband in Minnesota is the upload speed. Plenty of connections make the download goals and that’s great if you want a community of consumers. If you want a community of producers the upload speed matters too.

Funny but my mom was asking me about this earlier today. She was a Systems Analyst, so technology isn’t a mystery to her but she wondered why the change in definition was necessary. It’s one of those policy discussions that can seem geeky but it matter because once the definition is set, it can quickly become a benchmark for any kind of federal loans or grants.

This entry was posted in FCC, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

2 thoughts on “New Federal defintion for broadband

  1. Hi Ann:
    I found very interesting in particular FCC’s decision NOT to include mobile wireless in the definition of BB. Echoes our debate at the TF… with the FCC coming down on the side we were trying to argue – that it should NOT be counted (because of data caps, is the main argument I saw).

    Any thoughts on how to bring that commentary/debate into MN and/or the TF discussion?

  2. I think that will come up in the legislature. At the Task Force, I think Fred Underwood speaks most eloquently on the issues of price and expectations of device vs laptop.

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