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What is Broadband? Measuring Effect of Higher FCC Speed Targets

As demand for video-enabled broadband services has increased, there is an increasing need for fixed broadband services to provide faster download and upload speeds.

In response to the recommendations in the National Broadband Plan, the FCC has increased its definition of “broadband.” In November 2011, the FCC implemented the Connect America Fund, which was created to subsidize the construction of fixed broadband services to areas without access to 3 Mbps down/768 Kbps up. In December 2014, the FCC increased its definition of broadband for purposes of the Connect America Fund to 10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up. In January 2015, the FCC adopted the speed target of 25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up as part of its mandate to promote the widespread availability of “advanced telecommunications” services.

How do these changes in our expectations regarding the speed of “broadband” services impact our understanding of broadband availability and competition? The maps on this page compare broadband availability and competition at three definitions used by the FCC:

3 Mbps down/768 Kbps up (the original definition of broadband for the Connect America Fund)

10 Mbps down/1.5 Mbps up (analogous to the FCC’s current Connect America Fund target)

25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up (the FCC’s new definition of “advanced services”)

These maps show that as the need for higher broadband speed increase, the extent of broadband coverage and choices shrinks. This uncovers widespread gaps in broadband access. Across all of the nine states and Puerto Rico analyzed by Connected Nation, nearly [10 times] as many households do not have access to broadband at 25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up than do not have access to 3 Mbps down/768 Kbps up broadband.

For more information on these definitions of broadband and FCC broadband policy initiatives, see http://www.connectednation.org/data-center-policy.

 
Alaska Ohio

Fixed Broadband Competition by Speed of Service

 

Fixed Broadband Competition by Speed of Service

 

Iowa

Puerto Rico

Fixed Broadband Competition by Speed of Service

 

 

 

Fixed Broadband Competition by Speed of Service

Michigan South Carolina

Fixed Broadband Competition by Speed of Service

  

 

Fixed Broadband Competition by Speed of Service

Minnesota Tennessee

Fixed Broadband Competition by Speed of Service

 

 

Fixed Broadband Competition by Speed of Service

Nevada Texas

Fixed Broadband Competition by Speed of Service

 

 Fixed Broadband Competition by Speed of Service

 

Previous Connected Nation Maps regarding the Connect American Fund:

Analysis of Connect America Fund Eligible Areas (Last updated, January 2013)

Analysis of Areas for Proposed Connect America Fund Phase I Subsidies (Last updated, May 2013)

FCC Connect America Fund, Phase I Awards (December 2013)

FCC Rural Broadband Experiment Eligible Areas (Last updated, July 2014)

Connect America Fund Phase II Challenges (Last updated, September 2014)