‘Broadband’ definition officially changed as internet speeds get faster

Many of the biggest firms raises prices every April (PA) (PA Wire)
Many of the biggest firms raises prices every April (PA) (PA Wire)

The official definition of “broadband” in the US has changed, regulators have announced.

The minimum speed required to call a connection broadband will rise from 25Mbps to 100Mbps. That was part of a vote by the Federal Communications Commission, which backed the change by 3 votes to 2.

High-speed broadband will now require 100Mbps downloads, and 20Mbps for uploads, up from 3Mbps previously.

The changes will help ensure that more people have faster connections, the FCC said, in line with a commitment to give everyone high-speed broadband. It noted that only 28 per cent of Americans living in rural areas are not connected as they should be.

Announcing the change, FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said the “fix is overdue”. The change will let regulators know “the extent to which low-income neighborhoods and rural communities are underserved”.

The commission also adopted a “long-term goal” of 1Gbps down and 500Mbps up, Ms Rosenworcel said.

The FCC raised its metrics from 4Mpbs download speeds to 25Mbps in 2015. Since then, politicians and officials have called on it to be raised even higher, to help understand how well connected people are and where money should be spent.

Ms Rosenworcel said that some of the change had been made in response to the pandemic, which showed the extent of the “digital divide” in the US. “That is why we are now in the bold business of fixing this divide,” she said.