In the context: Currently, the minimum connection speed required to classify broadband access in the US is 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. The chairman of the FCC recently proposed increasing this standard to 100/20Mbps and also mentioned plans to upgrade it to a whopping 1Gbps/500Mbps in the future. Unfortunately, it is not known whether her proposal will be accepted.

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FCC Chair Jessica Rosenvorsel proposed broadband speed boost up to 100 Mbps for download and 20 Mbps higher. She also suggested that a plan be adopted to upgrade the standard to 1 Gb/s/500 Mb/s at some point in the future, and that the commission’s analysis of broadband deployment take into account more factors, including affordability, acceptance, affordability and equal access.

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The FCC is using the definition of broadband to determine which areas of the US lack adequate Internet service and direct government funding to where it is most needed. It also forces ISPs to upgrade their networks and provide faster speeds to consumers if they want to continue receiving federal subsidies.

The current 25/3 Mbps standard was established in 2015, replacing the obsolete 4/1 Mbps minimum. Since then, several attempts have been made pick it up, largely due to the fact that the pandemic is forcing people to spend most of their lives online. However, early last year, former FCC chairman Ajit Pai decided that the speed was still enough to be considered “advanced telecommunications capability.”

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It is not known if and when the FCC will adopt an updated broadband definition. Rosenworsel’s proposal requires a vote, and the commission is still deadlocked with two Democrats and two Republicans.

Earlier this year, the Biden administration introduced a new state subsidy make high-speed Internet connections free for many low-income households.