AT&T and Verizon say 10Mbps is too fast for “broadband,” 4Mbps is enough

No thanks, 4Mbps is fast enough for me.

Cable lobby also implores FCC not to change definition of broadband.

AT&T and Verizon have asked the Federal Communications Commission not to change its definition of broadband from 4Mbps to 10Mbps, saying many Internet users get by just fine at the lower speeds.
"Given the pace at which the industry is investing in advanced capabilities, there is no present need to redefine 'advanced' capabilities," AT&T wrote in a filing made public Friday after the FCC’s comment deadline (see FCC proceeding 14-126). "Consumer behavior strongly reinforces the conclusion that a 10Mbps service exceeds what many Americans need today to enable basic, high-quality transmissions," AT&T wrote later in its filing. Verizon made similar arguments.
Individual cable companies did not submit comments to the FCC, but their representative, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), agrees with AT&T and Verizon.
“The Commission should not change the baseline broadband speed threshold from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream because a 4/1 Mbps connection is still sufficient to perform the primary functions identified in section 706 [of the Telecommunications Act]—high-quality voice, video, and data,” the NCTA wrote.
About 47 percent of Comcast subscribers get at least 50Mbps, the company says.
The FCC has periodically raised the minimum standard for Internet service to be considered “broadband.” This affects how the commission measures industry progress in deploying sufficient Internet service to Americans, particularly in rural areas where the US subsidizes infrastructure building through the Connect America Fund.
The FCC in 2010 changed its definition of minimum broadband speeds from 200Kbps downstream to 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream. Under that definition, the commission found that 94 percent of Americans had access to fixed broadband service in 2012, AT&T noted.
But now the commission says that definition is outdated and has proposed raising the minimum to 10Mbps downstream and some as-yet-to-be-determined upstream speed.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler even suggested in a speech last week that 10Mbps is too low. “A 25Mbps connection is fast becoming ‘table stakes’ in 21st century communications,” he said. At 25Mbps, three-quarters of Americans have, at best, one choice of providers. At 10Mbps, 8.4 percent of Americans have no access, and another 30.3 percent have access from only one provider.
If the definition is kept at 4Mbps, statistics on broadband deployment and competition look a lot better, putting less pressure on telcos to upgrade infrastructure. AT&T and Verizon prefer to keep it that way.
“The Commission’s inquiry seeks comment on whether to adopt a new speed benchmark, such as 10Mbps,” Verizon wrote. “The data confirm that the availability and adoption of higher-speed services continue to steadily increase, and it may well make sense for the Commission to monitor progress with respect to such higher-speed services. At the same time, the data confirm that services providing 4Mbps/1Mbps are still popular and meaningful to consumers.” Continue reading

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