(InfoWorld) – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has redefined advanced broadband as having 25Mbps download speeds, up from 4Mbps, giving the agency new authority to pass rules to encourage deployment across the country.
The FCC, in a 3-2 party-line vote Thursday, also determined that this newly defined advanced broadband wasn’t being rolled out in a timely manner across the U.S. The agency released a notice of inquiry asking how it can accelerate broadband deployment, but didn’t offer concrete plans on how it will proceed.
The agency redefined advanced broadband over the objections of its two Republican commissioners and large broadband providers. Comcast, AT&T and Verizon Communications have all filed comments in recent months questioning the need for the commission to change its broadband definition from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream to 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up.
Broadband providers have argued that the FCC should focus instead on removing regulations that inhibit private investment instead of defining broadband speeds and seeking new authority to move toward those speeds. “The commission should conclude that broadband is being deployed throughout the United States in a reasonable and timely fashion,” Verizon’s lawyers wrote in September. “Broadband providers have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in deploying next-generation broadband networks.”