The cable lobby is opposed to a Federal Communications Commission plan to define “broadband” as speeds of at least 25Mbps downstream and 3Mbps up.
Customers do just fine with lower speeds, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) wrote in an FCC filing Thursday (thanks to the Washington Post’s Brian Fung for pointing it out). 25Mbps/3Mbps isn’t necessary to meet the legal definition of “high-speed, switched, broadband telecommunications capability that enables users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications using any technology,” the NCTA said.
“Notably, no party provides any justification for adopting an upload speed benchmark of 3Mbps,” NCTA Counsel Matthew Brill wrote. “And the two parties that specifically urge the Commission to adopt a download speed benchmark of 25 Mbps—Netflix and Public Knowledge—both offer examples of applications that go well beyond the ‘current’ and ‘regular’ uses that ordinarily inform the Commission’s inquiry under Section 706″ of the Telecommunications Act.
Hypothetical use cases showing the need for 25Mbps/3Mbps “dramatically exaggerate the amount of bandwidth needed by the typical broadband user,” the NCTA said.
“Netflix, for instance, bases its call for a 25Mbps download threshold on what it believes consumers need for streaming 4K and ultra-HD video content—despite the fact that only a tiny fraction of consumers use their broadband connections in this manner, and notwithstanding the consensus among others in the industry that 25Mbps is significantly more bandwidth than is needed for 4K streaming,” the NCTA said. “Meanwhile, Public Knowledge asserts in conclusory fashion that an ‘average’ US household constantly streams at least three high-definition movies simultaneously while also running various ‘online backup services and other applications’—without providing any evidence indicating that such usage is at all ‘average.'”
The commission defines broadband as 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up but hasn’t changed the definition since 2010. The FCC is required under Section 706 to determine whether broadband is being deployed to Americans in a reasonable and timely way, and the group must take action to accelerate deployment if the answer is negative. Raising the definition’s speeds provides more impetus to take actions that promote competition and remove barriers to investment, such as a potential move to preempt state laws that restrict municipal broadband projects.
Here is the money quote:
Though a majority of Americans can purchase broadband of at least 100Mbps, Wheeler has focused on the lack of competition at higher Internet speeds. While 75 percent of American homes have at least two options for wired broadband of 4Mbps/1Mbps, only 25 percent have a choice of at least two providers at the 25Mbps/3Mbps threshold:
4/1 download is the telco’s old DSL, which hasn’t been upgraded since the early 200s.
What’s more, it never will be upgraded, as the phone companies have decided that there is not sufficient profit there.
By upgrading the definition of broadband to something that actually describes the way that broadband is used today, it makes it far more difficult for states to prevent municipal broadband.
Seriously, just f%$# the cable companies.
Come to think of it, “F%$# the Cable Companies,” would be a good platform for a political party.