If you don't get download speeds of 25Mbps or better you don't have broadband, according to a new definition of internet services from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
When broadband first arrived internet access packages offering speeds as low as 128Kbps were labelled as broadband. Until this new definition by the FCC, broadband providers in the US could call any product offering speeds of 4Mbps downstream / 1Mbps upstream, or greater, a broadband product. However time and the internet moves on, so for broadband to retain its meaning it has been redefined as offering a minimum downstream speed of 25Mbps and minimum upstream speed of 3Mbps, reports PC World.
While it could be considered as a simple official semantic tweak it is thought the redefining broadband could give suppliers a kick in the pants. Consumers want 'broadband' and if their internet speeds don't qualify anymore it might spur them to start to look into alternative sources of broadband.
Following the FCC's broadband redefinition things aren't going to change overnight. However the FCC also asserted that broadband isn't being rolled out fast enough across the US and is starting to look into accelerating its deployment. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn stressed how vital broadband with good performance is to the future. She said that new wearables and other connected devices would be "simply gadgets and flashy, expensive toys for us to gaze at, marvel and wonder," without faster broadband speeds. While this speed definition might be positive for consumers some legislation on data transfer caps would probably also be appreciated. Then there is the sticky question of 'net neutrality' with certain high-bandwidth internet streaming services being throttled by ISPs.
In the UK, broadband is any always-on internet service offering downloads at speeds over 128Kbps. UK Basic Broadband offers 2Mbps downstream, UK Superfast Broadband includes any service offering speeds of 24Mbps downstream or greater. Is it time broadband was redefined on this side of the pond?