The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has blocked two tactics Internet service providers had hoped to use to reduce the expense needed to meet their broadband service obligations …

Broadband definition changes rejected

The FCC requires ISPs to provide broadband service across the areas they serve, which currently means a minimum speed of 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up. ISPs had hoped to see two changes implemented:

  • Reduce the definition of broadband to 10Mbps/1Mbps
  • Count LTE services as broadband if they meet the minimum speed requirement

The combination of the two would have allowed them to claim that they already offer broadband in areas that currently don’t count.

TechCrunch reports that a draft FCC report rejects both proposals.

The FCC’s yearly report of broadband deployment keeps some crucial definitions in place that some feared would be changed or eliminated to ease the responsibilities of internet service providers. The threat of a lowered speed standard and the merging of mobile and fixed broadband services will not be carried out, it seems.

Rural broadband lagging behind

However, one commissioner took issue with the report’s claim that broadband rollout is on track.

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel [said] “I’m glad that the FCC has backed away from its crazy idea to lower the broadband speed standard. But it defies logic to conclude that broadband is being reasonably and timely deployed across this country when over 24 million Americans still lack access.”

Broadband provision is particularly lacking in rural areas. FCC chairman Ajit Pai recently proposed to make an additional $500M in funding available to accelerate rural broadband development.

Photo: Andrew Harrer, Bloomberg

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