In the process of developing the nation’s first-ever broadband policy and disbursing billions of dollars to promote the technology, the Federal Communications Commission is seeking public comment on a definition of “broadband.”
The last official definition of broadband was based on minimum data rates of 200 kbps. It was originated in 1996, quickly became outdated, was widely derided for being inadequate and misleading, and is only now finally being abandoned.
Hoping to avoid recreating that problem, the FCC is looking to create a new, far more useful definition that will include: “(1) the general form, characteristics and performance indicators that should be included in a definition of broadband; (2) the thresholds that should be assigned to these performance indicators today; and (3) how the definition should be reevaluated over time.”
The current FCC is diving much deeper into the issue, including questions about whether a single definition of broadband will be adequate, where and how measurements of performance should be made, and what performance metrics are germane (are simple data rates enough, or should characteristics such as latency, jitter, traffic loading, diurnal patterns, reliability and mobility be taken into account?).
Once those questions are answered, the FCC wants input on what should minimum performance thresholds be, and how should those performance thresholds be updated?
The deadline for responses is Sept. 8.