Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has circulated to her colleagues a ‘Notice of Inquiry’ that would kick off the agency’s annual evaluation of the state of broadband access across the country. As part of this assessment, Ms. Rosenworcel has proposed increasing the national standard for minimum broadband speeds and proposed setting a long-term goal for broadband speed. The Notice of Inquiry proposes to increase the national broadband standard to 100Mbps (downlink) and 20Mbps (uplink). The FCC previously set the broadband standard at 25Mbps/3Mbps in 2015 and has not updated it since. The Notice of Inquiry proposes to set a separate national goal of 1Gbps/500Mbps for the future.
Chairwoman Rosenworcel commented: ‘The needs of internet users long ago surpassed the FCC’s 25Mbps/3Mbps 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 neighbourhoods and rural communities are being left behind and left offline.’