Cable Lobbyist Asks FCC Not to Redefine Broadband as 25Mbps Connection

Posted by at 12:44 pm on January 26, 2015

Fcc LogoCable companies do not believe customers need to have connection speeds faster than 25Mbps, according to a letter sent by a cable lobbying group to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The letter from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) asks that the FCC avoids defining broadband as a 25Mbps downstream, 3Mbps upstream connection, due to a lack of justification.

As of 2010, broadband is defined by the FCC as 4Mbps down, 1Mbps up. Last month, it toyed with the idea of increasing the figure to 10Mbps down for the definition, but did specify that providers receiving support from the Connect America Fund are required to offer 10Mbps down, 1Mbps up to customers. A draft of the Annual broadband Progress Report is said by Ars Technica to include a proposal from Chairman Tom Wheeler to the 25Mbps and 3Mbps levels.

Also reported by Ars Technica, the NTCA letter from group counsel Matthew Brill claims that “no party provides any justification for adopting an upload speed benchmark of 3Mbps. And the two parties that specifically urge the Commission to adopt a download speed benchmark of 25Mbps – 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.” Brill writes that Netflix bases its 25Mbps threshold on “what it believes consumers need for streaming 4K and Ultra HD video content” despite a lack of users for that resolution. Public Knowledge’s claim that the “average” US household “constantly streams at least three high-definition movies simultaneously” while also using online backup and other similar services is also derided for not “providing any evidence indicating that such usage is at all average.”

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