The minimum broadband speed is too low, the government watchdog says


Since 2015, the Federal Communications Commission has kept the minimum broadband speed the same: 25 megabits per second for downloading files and 3 megabits per second for downloading.

The government watchdog is now urging the FCC to re-evaluate these rules new report, which states that small businesses will need more bandwidth in 2021 to operate efficiently. The report by the Government Accountability Agency also shows examples of small businesses across the country that do not even reach the minimum speed required by the FCC.

This is not the first time the FCC has encountered heat above its broadband names. Earlier this year a group of senators called on the Agency to raise the lower limit to 100 Mbps for both download and download speeds.

The FCC has, in principle, acknowledged that it has very little reliable information on whether people get the required minimum speeds or whether they can at all. Its broadband maps are based on self-reported information from ISPs, who are encouraged to exaggerate their coverage to avoid regulation. It has tried to create speed test programs get more direct information and complaints collected directly from consumers.

Anonymous data visualized Limit paint a much gloomier picture as the FCC has admitted, and many counties report that broadband availability is less than 10 percent at the lowest speeds.

But GAO argues that there is enough evidence to reconsider these rules. Small business reports show that many want a download speed of at least 100 Mbps and up to 1 gigabyte per second for offices with dozens of employees. Even Zoom recommends a transmission speed of at least 3.8 Mbps for making high-definition video calls, which exceeds the federal minimum requirement.

Business owners also told GAO that while they may use broadband, it is expensive and unreliable. One Vermont inn and spa owner said it would pay $ 78 a month for speeds below 10 Mbit / s, and upgrading to 40 Mbit / s would cost an unreasonable $ 335 a month. Others say they need to rely on expensive satellite Internet services to get reliable access to the Internet.

Raising this minimum value from 100 Mbps down / 10 Mbps up would have long-term effects on the people in rural communities who suffer the most from these Internet deserts, GAO writes. The change would lower the percentage of Americans in rural areas who are considered to have acceptable broadband coverage from 83% to 67%, which is a strong argument that service providers need to invest more in rural infrastructure.

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