FCC Considers Increasing Minimum Broadband Speeds

Is the FCC trolling ISPs (on our behalf)? The agency is considering raising the standard minimum speed for what is considered “high-speed Internet”, which would potentially force ISPs to work faster to roll out better service to more areas.

Currently, broadband Internet speed is defined as 4Mbps, but according to an anonymous FCC official that spoke to the Washington Post, the FCC might bump that number up to 10Mbps or even 25Mbps. 4Mbps is nothing; you can’t even stream Netflix in HD at that speed, and forget about having a second user gobbling up bandwidth. The new definitions would also set a higher limit on upload speeds, which would jump to 2.9Mbps from the current 1Mbps.


There is a notice of inquiry that will be circulated through the agency, and then it will solicit public comments on the issue. Along with the above, the FCC will look into whether or not these definitions should be tiered, to account for speeds in different parts of the country or availability at various times of the day.

A higher standard for broadband is brilliant for consumers, as it will force ISPs to upgrade networks faster or face the intervention of the FCC. Instead of 10Mbps being the fastest Internet service you can get in your little town, for example, it might be the slowest, and that’s a good thing--especially as some lucky locales are seeing gigabit Internet speeds. That’s a discrepancy in service availability that should not stand in a connected country.