FCC changes broadband definition to 25 Mbps

The FCC opted for significantly raise its definition of broadband service from the previous definition of 4Mbit down and 1 Mbit up to the brand new standard of 25 Mbps down and 3Mbps up. As the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler stated, this is due to the tremendous growth in user data consumption, the increased popularity of services like Netflix and the need to establish a future-proof standard that will not be outrun in a couple of years.

Wheeler also said that consumer demand for 25 Mbps service is solid with 29% of Americans opting for that service, up from 7% in 2011 and that many companies only use lower end plans as little effective or efficient for users.

As an example, we have Netfix that offers a minimum of 5 Mbps for HD quality and 25 MBps for 4k service. With VoLP services and 4k streaming, US users will start to ask for higher-end services in the near future. In the Chairman’s vision it is extremely important to improve broadband service offerings to rural Americans as well as all Americans in general.

The cable industry responds and states that there is no need for 25 Mbps

As was expected, US ISPs are 100% against this redefinition of broadband. The industry states the fact that the 25 MBps is too high and also that only a bunch of customers use their broadband connections for streaming 4K content. So, the 25 Mbps is more bandwidth than is required for 4k streaming. Wheeler laughed about this viewpoint publicly and said that the ISPs bend over in order to upsell users to higher data plans.

As an example, we have Comcast`s service with its WiFidentifier lets you fill out a regular profile in which you are asked to complete how many devices you own and how you spend your time. If you have a laptop and a tablet, Comcast recommends Turbo service at 20 Mbps. If you own a tablet, smartphone, a laptop and a game console, Comcast links you to the Extreme tier.

So, there are two levels: multitasking and something beyond insanity, but the regular marketing material is all of the sudden applied to the carriers themselves. Wheeler`s appeal on broadband and the 25 Mbps is logic, it represents a more future-proof standard, but it looks like he is forcing ISPs to own the marketing policies they tried to hold for years.

The ISPs retreat, they do not take this as an opportunity to offer further engagement with customers and be the first to sustain their own services. This happens because of the cable and telco industry. Those two tend to look at the broadband as an exploitable resource and not as an innovative business where the user`s satisfaction is the most important. So, it remains to see who will win this battle and what the future will bring for the broadband. Maybe the Americans will benefit for the all new 25 Mbps broadband, maybe not, but the Chairman will keep pushing until the cable industry will accept the need users have when it comes to broadband usage.