FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel wants to increase the minimum broadband speed standard. The proposal is part of a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) she shared with her colleagues for a vote that would begin the agency’s evaluation of the state of broadband across the country.
The evaluation is required by the Telecommunications Act. Rosenworcel is proposing the Commission consider several characteristics of broadband deployment, including affordability, adoption, availability, and equitable access when determining whether broadband is being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion to “all Americans.”
“In today’s world, everyone needs access to affordable, high-speed internet, no exceptions,” said Rosenworcel. “It’s time to connect everyone, everywhere. Anything short of 100 percent is just not good enough.”
In addition to focusing on a universal service standard, the NOI proposes to increase the national fixed broadband standard to 100 Mbps/20 Mbps. It cites evidence supporting this standard, including the requirements for new networks funded by the bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The FCC previously set the broadband standard at 25/3 Mbps in 2015, and has not updated it. The NOI proposes to set a separate national goal of 1 Gbps/500 Mbps for the future.
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief