Wireless carriers are scared of the FCC changing the definition of broadband

by: William Neilson JrJuly 12, 2014


Recently, the FCC proposed to change the definition of broadband from 4 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream to between 10-25 Mbps downstream/2.9 Mbps upstream. Much like in the past, wireless carriers and Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) are dead-set against such an increase as it would force them to upgrade infrastructure and would cause the number of ‘unserved’ areas in the country to rise significantly.

In a report from Moffett Nathanson, he notes that any change of definition will ‘skew’ penetration statistics due to a significantly drop in the number of people who have what is deemed as broadband under the new definition (due to so many having slow DSL connections or worse).

“Raising the FCC standard will naturally lower the number of people who have ‘broadband’ (i.e. penetration will fall, at least initially),” said Craig Moffett, senior analyst. – FierceWireless

2011-02-10-12.27.14-am BroadbandNow

Specifically, wireless carriers such as Verizon must be petrified at the notion of raising the definition of broadband. Why? Because Verizon was able to recently pay off convince the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities that their DSL and wireless programs were good enough to be deemed sufficient to complete their state broadband obligations.

Verizon would much rather push off their wireless plans that are more expensive for consumers and costs less to maintain by Verizon. Any raise in definition would force Verizon to ACTUALLY upgrade dying landlines and/or their wireless service in areas where it is lacking.

Over the years, ISP’s and wireless carriers have fought HARD to stop the FCC from ever raising the definition of broadband. The FCC first defined broadband as over 200 kilobits per second (kbps). In 2008, the FCC pushed the definition of broadband up to 768 kbps-1.5 Mbps. In 2010, the FCC again moved up the definition of broadband to 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.


Three years ago, the FCC released a report which found that 68 percent of “broadband” connections in the United States can not actually access “broadband” speeds since the connections did not meet the minimum requirement (at the time) of 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.

But according to the latest Internet Access Services report from the FCC, 69.7% of the country’s 92.6 million fixed-line broadband connections met the FCC’s broadband speed threshold definition of 3 Mbps downstream and 768 kbps upstream and that 37.8% of mobile connections met the FCC’s 3 Mbps broadband definition threshold.


The National Broadband Plan put out by the FCC in 2010 set a goal that every household should have 4Mbps Internet access by 2020. South Korea on the other hand has established a goal to connect every home in the country with gigabit fiber connections by 2012.

The fact that this country has so many people unable to receive decent internet speeds in 2014 speaks volumes as to the need for additional competition in the broadband industry. Look around the internet and you will find that many of the commonly used services are requiring higher broadband speeds. Speeds that many in the US can not get.

We should not be hiding these stats because of how bad the conclusion may be. Let’s try to fix the problem.


  • JRE

    I don’t normally say this, but yay FCC! Make these greedy corporations start building a real broadband network in this country. Then get some laws passed against the cable/internet companies do they don’t have exclusive rights to areas.

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      • Jayfeather787

        I hope it kill you.

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    • Heimrik

      Exactly. Europe has laws that force companies to share towers so that people on different networks aren’t left without service in certain areas or raped with roaming charges…

      • Michael Samsara

        “Raped with roaming charges” – wow – not too shabby! lol

        It is really stupid of Verizon to think that in this day and age of bigger and bigger government that the government is going to care about whether or not Verizon doesn’t want to upgrade their service in the hope of forcing anyone who wants service to do what Verizon’s wants them to do – go with a higher cost/more profitable, easier for Verizon to supply service. But, so what is new re Verizon? – this has always been – as far as I am aware (and one of the reasons I will have nothing to do with them) there modus operandi. It is fitting that they should be scared – they brought it on themselves and deserve every bit of fear they may be experiencing.

    • smokebomb

      They’ll change the definition of broadband and then allow the comcast-warner merger, thus fucking over everyone anyway.

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  • Aar0nC


  • uk

    Make it happen fast FCC…

  • stucrmnx120fshwf

    Broadband is about the number of nodes, a fiber optic cable to small cheap nodes, then you can run LTE advanced, or GSLAM VDSL copper. As for US prices, scandalous, I pay $6 a month for my smartphone, $10 a month for landline unlimited local, national, 100 minutes of international, $50 a month for 100 GB of landline internet with WiFi. All up $66 for broadband internet access and as much voice as I want, on landline, $50 per month in mobile voice, pay 10¢ per MB mobile, but why would I want that, when I have tons of WiFi at home. Nexus 5 FHD smartphone, Nexus 10 QHD tablet, UHD TV.

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  • Adrian

    “South Korea on the other hand has established a goal to connect every home in the country with gigabit fiber connections by 2012.”

    So, did they accomplish this? Or is that a typo and it’s really supposed to be by 2015+?