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Government says its own definition of high-speed broadband is too low

The report is the latest in a number of attempts to raise the definition of minimum broadband speeds.


Andrew Wyrich


Published Jul 9, 2021   Updated Aug 4, 2021, 3:47 pm CDT

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is recommending that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reevaluate the minimum broadband speeds.

In a new report, the GAO said that the 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds the FCC has determined to be the minimum to be defined as having broadband access isn’t enough to “meet the needs” of small businesses. In the report, the GAO details customers who reported that their options for internet access were limited and often incredibly slow.

The FCC has defined the 25/3 Mbps speed as a minimum for being broadband since 2015. But the GAO report, released on Thursday, is just the latest attempt at trying to update that definition.

In March, a group of senators called on the FCC to update its definition of broadband, urging them to bump up the minimum speed from 25/3 Mbps to 100 Mbps for both upload and download speeds.

Meanwhile, Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel advocated for the 100 Mbps standard in 2015 when the FCC’s 25/3 Mbps standard was created. Rosenworcel was a commissioner at the time.

Rosenworcel said anything less than 100 Mbps “shortchanges our children, our future, and our new digital economy,” according to the Verge.

The GAO noted that the current 25/3 Mbps minimum is “likely too slow to meet many small business speed needs.” It recommended that the FCC solicit input and “conduct analysis of small businesses broadband speed needs and incorporate the results of this analysis into its determination of the benchmark for broadband.”

You can read all of the GAO report here.

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*First Published: Jul 9, 2021, 10:40 am CDT