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Broadband isn't broadband unless it's 2Mbps

By Steve in the UK     May 22, 2007 in Internet
The days when US broadband suppliers could promote a zip code as having a fast broadband even though only ONE house in the area may now be numbered.
With most residents in Japan only having to pay US$30 a month of a 50Mbps connection to the internet its no surprise that Congress has started looking into why US companies are still promoting 200Kbps as broadband. The current FCC definition of broadband has not been updated in nine years
The Broadband Census of America Act, currently in draft form, has asked the FCC to provide them with a detailed map of the broadband speeds available across the US. The FCC current method of just taking the fasts connection speed of a zip code and saying that is the speed for the whole to that zip code, even when its only available to a single house, has been in question for years.
In a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet that opened on May 17, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) stated that the FCC "has not kept pace with the times or the technology,", The FCC was also told to increase the speed at which a connection was called broadband from the current 200Kbps to 2Mbps, and to provide this data in a searchable format which was consumer friendly.
As well as asking the telecommunications companies to increase there broadband speed, the hearing asked them to provide a broadband service to more parts of the US.
Larry Cohen, president of the Communication Workers of America, said that the US is "stuck with a twentieth century Internet" and that he would support increasing the "broadband" definition to 2Mbps.
The new definitions would mean that the current spec for wireless connection to the internet could no longer be called broadband, Steve Largent of the CTIA, stated that this would only improve after the FCC's upcoming auction of the 700 MHz.
Groups like the public/private partnership ConnectKentucky has already used the mapping technology to increase broadband availability (768Kbps or above) in the Kentucky area from 60 per cent to 90 per cent in the last two and a half years, and aim to have 100 per cent coverage by the end of the year. Although even this would not meet the 2Mbps minimum that the Congress hearing whats to set.
80 per cent of the funding for ConnectKentucky came from state and federal government agencies. If this funding was available across the US then people like Walter McCormick, head of the US Telecom Association, would be very happy to extending broadband services into low-profit regions.
One of the major problems that will have to be addressed by both the Congress hearing and the FCC is how are they going to get companies to spend maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars connecting up rural areas to high speed broadband when they know they will never make a profit, even if everybody in the area signed up?
More about 200kbps broadband, Not broadband, 2mbps