By Scott Wallsten
Published in The Hill on February 2, 2015
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided in its January open meeting that a data connection must offer at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream to be considered “broadband.” That was a mistake. It would also have been a mistake to adopt a lower standard preferred by Internet service providers (ISPs). Even the 4 Mbps standard the FCC adopted in 2010 was unnecessary.
Why? Because there is no bright speed line between “broadband” and “not broadband.” Instead, any standard should be based on studies of consumer demand and explicitly stated policy objectives. Such an approach would yield a more nuanced view of broadband that would ultimately be more useful to informed policymaking.
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