FCC proposes major boost in minimum broadband speeds

(Image credit: RichLegg)

The US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) wants to quadruple the minimum broadband standard in the US and believes that gigabit speeds should be the long term target.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rocenworcel said the current standard of 25Mbps download speed and 3Mbps upload determined in 2015 was already no longer sufficient to support the applications that Americans need for work, entertainment, and everyday life.

Accordingly, she has issued a ‘Notice of Inquiry’ to initiate the FCC’s annual evaluation of the state of broadband.

US broadband

The notice proposes to increase the minimum standard to 100Mbps upload speeds and 20Mbps download, with an intention to achieve 1Gbps and 500Mbps in the future.

“The needs of internet users long ago surpassed the FCC’s 25/3 speed metric, especially during a global health pandemic that moved so much of life online,” said Rosenworcel.

“The 25/3 metric isn’t just behind the times, it’s a harmful one because it masks the extent to which low-income neighbourhoods and rural communities are being left behind and left offline.

“That’s why we need to raise the standard for minimum broadband speeds now and while also aiming even higher for the future, because we need to set big goals if we want everyone everywhere to have a fair shot at 21st century success.”

In the UK, every home and business has the legal right to request a ‘decent’ connection of at least 10Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speed as part of the Universal Service Obligation (USO). Many people receive speeds much faster than this, while the government plans to review the minimum standard over time.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.