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Federal Communications Commission



The Definition of Broadband

August 20th, 2009 by Carlos Kirjner - Senior Advisor to the Chairman on Broadband

Carlos KrjinerToday the FCC is releasing a Public Notice, or PN, on the best way to define broadband. As the PN points out, much of the recent debate tends to center on throughput speeds. Engineers know that these numbers by themselves are most often misleading. For example, in most cases the "advertised" throughput speed has a tenuous relation with the actually delivered speed, which will actually vary over time, depending on the application, the server, and many other factors.

Both OfCom, which is the communications regulator in the UK, and Akamai have published studies based on meaningful numbers of end-user samples that show large the difference between advertised and actual rates.

In addition, for many important applications, such as voice and videoconferencing, other performance metrics, such as latency, are crucial.

But why do we care? Why do we need to think about broadband carefully? Several reasons:

  • If we want to decide who has and who does not have broadband, we actually need to agree on what we mean by broadband.
  • If we want to decide who can take advantage of one type of application or another, we need to know what they are actually getting today, and what is the gap between that and what they actually need to get
  • If we need to know how much it would cost the country to enable all or a subset of its households and businesses to take advantage of one application or another, we need to know what the gap is between where we are and where we want to be.
  • If we want to ensure that consumers have a clear and accurate view of what they are getting for their money, we need to decide what are the important metrics, and how to measure them.

And the list goes on. Bottom line: this is important. We want your input. We need your input. If you are an academic, a service provider engineer, a consumer, or anyone else with a stake in the outcome of the Plan, please read the PN, think about it, and share your best thinking.

It looks like a document written by lawyers to lawyers, but in there there are some important questions for the country.

**  You can submit brief comments here. Click on the radio button for the National Broadband Plan Notice of Inquiry - Docket 09-51.  If you want to file longer comments using an attachment, file comments here using the same docket number. **

101 Responses to “The Definition of Broadband”

  1. santhosh says:

    Now the average "real world" internet connections are made up of many devices, which are configured to have different data settings, and are connected by extremely old & over loaded cables. So your pc may be set to 1000mbs but the network that provides your internet service provider access to the internet (NOT your internet connection to Comcast or At&t) but their connection to the internet network is made up of many different devices configured to perform in different ways and restricted by the cables in between them. So you see how a connection provided by "Comcast" for example could be slower than 256kbs at times.

    Many of the major service providers are finding alternative ways & technologies to make your connection even faster than the contracted throughput ratings of anywhere from 200kbs to 700kbs for most broadband connections, but this does NOT fix the underlying issues with old POTS networks still used today to interconnect networks to make up the internet.

    So, in all reality Broadband internet is a extremely loosely used term to do no more than designate a certain connection as higher speed than dial up. This includes satellite connections too! They range usually from 100kbs - 400kbs. This is Not much higher than a dial up connection by any means.

  2. Consumer Reviews says:

    Hooray for broadband! The better the technology, the better the communication!
    Have a great day!


    http://www.Lunch.com

  3. Jim Tobias says:

    I'm glad you're looking at this issue from an applications and services perspective rather than a bitrate bench test perspective. What matters is what people can do with a given speed. So thanks for that.

    It's also important to factor in what the user's equipment adds to the mix. For example, a faster processor speed allows for more video compression -- the equipment can compensate for varying or low throughput.

  4. jonesy says:

    As an aDSL consumer (AT&T) I suggest that we look at half-T1 as minimum d/l speed; latency >~40ms suck for real-time apps. Measuring effective and useful throughput via various apps from the consumers' point of view is essential, and right now an easy way to do that does not come to mind. Beyond that, no caps, no throttling, and no single-provider markets are IMHO required. Within a year or so, everyone who wants it ought to be able to get effectively T1 speeds at no more cost than a simple landline telephone - anything else amounts to usury/ripoff/scam. (I've been going online in some fashion since early '82, so I try to marry the perspective of history with current tech and capability. We've been getting the short end of the stick for decades.)

  5. Dave Pullin says:

    (1) The definition of 'broadband' should exclude very high latency communications such as satellite connections. For all practical purposes, except the occasional download of a very large file, a satellite connections operate at speeds comparable to dial-up, and for some applications, such as remote desktop or SSH connections they are barely useable, and for VPN they do not work at all.

    (2)No definition should be based on 'advertised' capability. It should be based on 'average' and 'minimum committed' levels of service. (Indeed the FCC should be treating the difference between advertised and actual levels of service as fraud.

  6. Guest says:

    Personally, I think the minimum's for the definition of broadband actually realiazable at the consumer end should be minimum 2MBs up and down. The Department of Commerce's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), which is taking applications for broadband stimulus money, defines broadband as "two-way data transmission with advertised speeds of at least 768 kbps downstream and at least 200 kbps upstream to end users."

    The key word here is "advertised". Many ISP's already don't supply their advertised rate, usually the consumer receives approximately 50% of whats advertised while still having to pay for the full advertised rate tier and thats unfair. Although there are many reasons for this if the rate is set too low (as in the definition above from the Department of Commerce) we still end up with subscribers receiveing only 50% while paying for the advertised rate as they currently are. At least if the rate is set at 2 Mbs up and down minimum (and not advertised) on the consumer end that fits into the capability of many ISP's (according to their own tier structure advertising and its about time they were held responsible for what they advertise - they simply play too many games with advertising.) and still delivers enough for a vast number of people to benefit from the various media and information rich content on the internet even if the actual consumer end rate is 50% of that.

    Basing the delivery of broadband on ISP advertising still gives ISP's control over broadband and that is one of the very things that has been a problem with broadband in the United States and the reason why we are behind some other areas of the world in broadband.

  7. Asad says:

    http://google.com

  8. Guest says:

    Broadband is a dated term already. I worked at an Internet company back in the day, 1999. It's meant to differentiate itself from dial-up. Dial-up has a max. speed of 56k and requires dialing in, tieing up your phone line, and still paying a fee. Broadband is "always on" and is generally faster. Broadband originally was a T1 line, my fraternity tried to get one and build an ethernet network to share it. So since there were so many different kinds of systems like T1, cable, dsl, microwave, satellite, etc. that it was easy to lump them together as broadband. Today, broadband is different, it includes the next generation like fiber optics or advanced wireless systems, etc. Broad is a relative word so it's something to always to catch up with.

  9. Aniceto says:

    How about taking the top 10 world's fastest countries and averaging their top speeds and making that the threshold? And every year we can readjust after gauging what that threshold is after we average once again at that time.

  10. Mark says:

    I think that it's important to simplify and standardize the way that data transfer speeds are advertised to consumers. The confusion generated by the difference between Kbps and KBps, or mbps vs MB/s and even MiB/s is especially rampant in the hard drive and storage market but I think it also generates no small amount of problems in the broadband market.

    File sizes on the internet are never represented in bits and most consumer applications display download speeds in KBps not kbps, rendering the advertised speeds of broadband connections hard to interperet for the public. The difference between bits and bytes may be well known by the people posting here but when Joe the Plumber hears 10mbps he thinks he will be able to download a 10MB file in 1 second.

    Any broadband plan put forth should make the speeds advertised understandable and as unobfuscated as possible to the layman.

  11. Guest says:

    Working for a major nationwide carrier, I design solutions to meet govt mandates. I can tell you first hand the govt comes to you w/ open arms, only to leave the consumer paying the bills.

    Let the market dictate broadband, not the FCC. If the govt begins to dicate policy, you will see rates go up as more advanced billing systems will be required, oversubscription rates will be changed, & other backend systems added in order to support the govt mandate. If there is competition in the market, the consumer wins as each company will try to add more speed, services, etc for the lowest price. If services are not available in an area, there is normally a good reason for this- service providers determined there is not enough revenue to justify the cost of expenditure. We shouldnt subsidize costs so someone in the middle of Wyoming can have high speed data services.

    We are already paying extra taxes & surcharges on wireless & lec services for govt mandates, lets not add more to our Internet services. So instead of us adding to the projected ten trillion dollar deficit over the next decade by dictating a national broadband policy, let the free market keep upping the broadband ante.

  12. Guest says:

    Broadband - cable, dsl, fios (where available), NOT dial-up, NOT satellite

    8Mb/2Mb - minimum, not the "advertised maximum", but actual service provided No data limit Low Latency Fee ceilings - cable is way too expensive, and it's a monopoly! DSL's cheaper, but not that reliable (they really lie about their up/down speeds) and there's little competition in most areas. You take verizon or nothing.

    Rural areas NEED infrastructure in place now, not 5 years from now, not even 1 year from now. I know people who can't even get satellite but are stuck with dial-up with boxes and lines from the 1970s. Let's make the telcos who got money from the government actually use it for their customers instead of giving it to their CEOs

  13. Guest says:

    NO HARD NUMBERS!! As stated before because the internet and technology is constantly evolving, to use hard numbers is a bad idea, we will end up where we are now, where at the time 1MB down considered BLAZING fast. Now we have countries that offer 100Mbs as a download speed.

    "Broadband" would be any high-speed, low-latency connection that offers sustained on-demand access to the internet. The high-speed would be defined as the average of the highest broadband download and upload speed as made available in the top 5 countries of the world.

    The definition has to say that access should be high-speed but, high-speed would be flexible enough to change as speeds increase, so the average highest speed is always the new "broadband" speed.

  14. Eric says:

    Personally I think broadband should be defined as a percentage of the average network speed of a LAN. When broadband term was originally coined 10mbps lines were fairly common. Since then our speeds have only multiplied in speed rather than grow exponentially like it has in many other first world countries. If we were to keep the term broadband referring to speeds of at least 5% of the average LAN speed (currently 100Mbps and transitioning to 1Gbps), we would have comparable speeds to the rest of the world. Currently we would have minimum 5mbps broadband connections and be transitioning to 50mbps connections. It should also state that these speeds must be sustained and that you can't have monthly 'caps' or anything of that sort.

  15. bigplrbear says:

    -No caps on upload speed, download speed -No caps on amount one can download in any given period -Must meet or exceed T1 (1.5mbs up/down) at ALL times, including high traffic times. Also, the defined speed should double every 18 months -No throttling of any kind -Must be in the price range of the average consumer -Most importantly- All companies must adhere 100% to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 or be held liable for breaking the law. There needs to be stiff penalties.

  16. Guest says:

    To further innovation for home computing, it would be important to ensure upload stream we're defined somewhere greater than 2Mbs. I believe a minimum symmetric 2Mbs up/down is a good place to start. If however, you are looking to spur further innovation, 20Mbs up/down would open new windows of opportunity.

  17. Forest says:

    I am someone who collaborates in real time with professors and other graduate students, concerning modern media and cyberculture, as well as having served as a network administrator for a small company which required constant data transfer (over cable) and finding that none of these things that I do work very well because my bitrate is never up to par with current net technology. So the following previously proposed guidelines are by far the best I may have ever seen.

    Broadband Internet is an internet connection, that: - allows for contineous connection. (IE: 24/365 online). - has sufficient bandwidth for realtime viewing of (nearly) all available streamed content - has low enough latency for absence of human noticable lag during realtime voice, video and game applications while communicating with others on the same continent - has high enough limits to allow watching popular streams for 16 hours a day, every day - all of the above given the state of technology and available content at that time

    The following should also be considered strongly:

    -"There should also be terms that define the limit at which an ISP can "oversell" a zone before they have to upgrade infrastructure." -and, as others have stated, ISPs need to provide a connection that meets or exceeds advertised rates. ANYTHING ELSE is false advertising and fraud

    Everytime I call my service provider (ATT, now Cox) about getting half of my advertised bandwidth, they say I need to upgrade, everytime I upgrade I still get unstable transfer rates and high latency. There are too many people on my local cabel loop, and even the advertised speeds are tremendously low. I can't even enjoy a 1080p streaming service when my ISP is having a GOOD day. On top of that collaborating on documents or music in real time, or gaming is an awful experience.

    Innovations in online collaboration and video gaming are being canned and held back due to the fact that our speeds are too low and our latency is too high. Games are built to be slow paced to make up for latency, while collaborative editing hangs up so much you might as well be trading EMAIL, a technology that is slow and decades old.

  18. Guest says:

    I am merely a consumer. I live in Springfield, Illinois and I pay for Comcast High Speed broadband.

    When I think of broadband, I think in Kilobytes per second rather than Mb/sec, although they can easily be translated.

    My idea of bare minimum downstream is 600KB/sec. Medium is 800-950KB/sec. High is 1000-1500KB/sec+. I would prefer a consistent download rate of at least 2000KB/sec+, but I can't reach that (at the moment) because Comcast is slow at upgrading their infrastructure.

    My idea of bare minimum upstream is 100KB/sec. Right now, my Comcast delivers 115KB/sec for my upstream, but I know for a fact that it needs to be more than that. I would prefer a consistent 200KB/sec upstream, maybe even more... and I get that for the first 15 seconds until Comcast's throttlers "kick on" and push me back down to 115KB/sec.

    My point is, if you're going to be considering a good metric, you need to consider what we have now as well as what we SHOULD have and always continue to raise the bar. We need a broadband metric that is competitive with the ISPs we have in the USA, as well as other countries like Japan who have global broadband 3-4+ times the speed of ours.

    Thanks, -Neil

  19. Guest says:

    Broadband should be seen as unfettered data access. Not defined solely as data rates. Regardless of what a supplied transfer rate may be chosen to signify broadband, limitations of the total amount of data consumption makes any value of the definition of transfer rate a moot point. Especially, due to the fact that basic data itself is rapidly becoming larger and more complex. Data limits hamper emerging technologies that use the availability of broadband to deliver this content to the consumers. High definition streamed media, automatic program updates, online data storage, virtual work-spaces, etc. are becoming more prevalent and the companies that will be providing these services are being held back by data availability to the public.

    As to which data transfer speed is concerned, companies that are providing the services I mentioned earlier should be part of an inquiry as to the rate needed to the deliver their services. Speeds need to be effective enough as to not be a detriment to the quality of their service. Benchmarks can also be signified by preexisting standards, such as 1080p High Definition video, where speeds should be more than sufficient to deliver the product and/or services in real time without errors. This is also an issue of latency. Packet shaping and data transfer management should not arbitrarily hamper data in anyway. This leads to inequality in service for the consumers and will damage the companies that provide these services over broadband.

    The broadband service provider itself should have to adhere to true sale of broadband service. Many companies sell ranges of speeds, but what is provided is rarely more than the minimal advertised. This perception of possible speed is a fallacy. Even the quality and latency of the service is never explicitly defined. Also, sale of broadband packages with speeds higher than that is unavailable due to system restraints are prevalent. Perversions of network behavior such as "burst speed", should not be used to falsely define broadband. These practices have damaged that definition of broadband and must be defined and enforced in a clear cut manner.

    It is not the how, but the what, that is broadband. It is the ability to consume the information provided as it is meant to be on the technologies that are currently available. Merely having access is not significant enough to be defined as broadband. As many services have to have a watered down experience provided to those with access that is hampered by technological limitations. So, as technologies progress so should the definition of broadband.

  20. AzureHydra says:

    (credit to John for quoted ones) Broadband is: -"allows for continuous connection. (IE: 24/365 online)" -Has NO limits in data download/upload. -The latency should be low enough so that the Human Eye (30 Frames Per Second standard for all human beings) perceives no noticible lag during realtime game, video, and voice applications within the same continent. -The MINIMUM bandwidth is determined by what is needed to transfer/stream the latest standard High Definition video. (As in 1080p is the current standard 1920x1080resolution. Whatever the # is to stream that kind of data to the consumer without buffers/latency/lag.)

    With that being said: *The ISP will constantly have to maintain its network structure to support the bandwidth for the latest HD standard of video(if HD is to ever increase in resolution then the ISP will have to be able to sustain the new standard). Which solves all the metric/speed measurement problems.

    *24/7 365 days a year. Self explanatory.

    *A broadband connection is pointless if there are any limits set to it. (It is an information highway, what if your driving miles where set to a limit of 10/20/30 miles per day?)

    *The human eye can see up to 30 frames per second and beyond that it's hard to notice anything. That alone should make it the standard for latency. Latency can never get soo high that it causes an application to be hinderd/lowered below 30FPS.

  21. Frank says:

    Broadband Internet is an internet connection, that: - allows for contineous connection. (IE: 24/365 online). - has sufficient bandwidth for realtime viewing of (nearly) all available streamed content - has low enough latency for absence of human noticable lag during realtime voice, video and game applications while communicating with others on the same continent - has high enough limits to allow watching popular streams for 16 hours a day, every day - all of the above given the state of technology and available content at that time

  22. Guest says:

    I am an American living in Taiwan. I live in a rural mountainous area several hours by car outside the capital city of Taipei. For three years, my broadband has been VDSL2 with a downstream speed of 8mbps and upstream of 2mbps and it works as advertised 24/7.

    I thought it would be worth pointing this out since I have relatives living in the States that often still rely on very slow DSL or shared WiFi connections that I hardly consider broadband compared to what I have. My monthly bill from the government operated telecom, Hinet, is around US$28 per month.

  23. Columbus Ohio Resident says:

    I define basic broadband as an on-demand or always on connection that provides a sustained 2Mbps download and 768kps upload speed. Standard broadband would consist of at least 6Mbps download and 1.5Mbps upload speed. High Speed would include 10Mbps download and 3Mbps upload. Truly "High Speed" would include at least 20Mbps download and at least 5Mbps upload speed.

    Caveats:

    By sustained, I specifically exclude burst, cached or other techniques(i.e. proxy) used to "enhance" the user experience and throughput for a short period of time.

    Advertised maximum speeds are not applicable to this definition.

    These speeds would be dedicated to non IPTV (AT&T U-verse, Verizon FIOS, etc) transmissions. IPTV and other media services should be provided with additional bandwidth for the use of the "TV" service and not included in the total speed calculation or have specific disclosure of the bandwidth used by these features if not specifically, on average.

    Thank you for your time.

  24. CP9 says:

    The speed of a T1 line (min 1.5Mbs up, min 1.5Mbs down) without any limits on data recieved or sent is what I consider to be the minimum definition of broadband.

  25. Michael Garza says:

    I would classify broadband as having no limits on data beside the speed cap. If there is a fast connection that is limited to 5 or 20 GB a month, it would not meet the definition of broadband. Also if certain protocols were blocked, that removes the breadth which is indicated in using the term broad.

    The speed cap is less important, and I do not disagree with the limits you have selected, even though they're slower than my standards.

  26. Guest says:

    I would also classify broadband as any service that does not have limits on data transfer. I think a minimum reasonable speed would at least 10 Mb/s up and 10 Mb/s down.

  27. Jim Robbins says:

    Define broadband speeds relative to other countries. For instance, state that the average national speed should be in the top 10, and that the minimum speed to qualify as broadband must be a percentage (like 60%) of the average speed. This has the advantage of continuously raising the standard.

    Also, because ISPs typically only report maximum possible speed, some standard is needed to measure the actual speed. I suggest measuring between the end point and the ISP as well as the end point and some place on the Internet. Measurements need to be taken at multiple times of the day and averaged. The ISPs rate should be a high percentage of their stated bandwidth (like at least 80%). The Internet rate should be a lower but reasonable percentage (such as 50%) of the stated bandwidth.

    I also agree with the comments that state it should have 24/7 uptime and minimum latency standards to be considered broadband.

  28. Guest says:

    This guy nailed it! Exactly this.

    Frank says: 08/21/2009 at 8:20 AM Broadband Internet is an internet connection, that: - allows for contineous connection. (IE: 24/365 online). - has sufficient bandwidth for realtime viewing of (nearly) all available streamed content - has low enough latency for absence of human noticable lag during realtime voice, video and game applications while communicating with others on the same continent - has high enough limits to allow watching popular streams for 16 hours a day, every day - all of the above given the state of technology and available content at that time

  29. Riley Foster says:

    The word "Broadband" is going to continually evolve and change just as the word "Internet" has changed from a loose collection of static web pages to a highly dynamic form of media, information, and social connectivity.

    I strongly believe that ANY definition of the term "Broadband" should avoid using hard numbers as part of that definition. If we define "Broadband" using numbers and statistics from the level of service provided to us today, then that definition will only become outdated in the future. ISPs then could try and use those hard numbers as a way to justify their non-growth if they meet the minimum requirements of the term.

    I think the FCC should define "broadband" as any type of Internet connection service that grants individuals low-latency, efficient, and unobstructed access to the Internet and its services. The connection should also not limit the access to services on the Internet if those services compete with the ISP's services (a cable ISP blocking access to a video service for example).

    There should also be terms that define the limit at which an ISP can "oversell" a zone before they have to upgrade infrastructure.

    Riley

  30. Guest says:

    In whatever definition you use, you must also consider latency. It's as important as throughput, but is rarely advertised.

  31. Jonovitch says:

    Enough of this technical silliness. Let's keep it nice and simple, for everyone to understand.

    Broadband should be defined as a minimum of 1 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up -- actual average transfer rates, not fake advertised rates.

    Anything above 1 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up is frosting on the cake. But this should be the floor. Anything less than this is just stupid. We're in 2009 folks. Live in the now!

    Jon

  32. Ariel Morillo says:

    I feel that T1 speeds for upload and downloads should be the minimum that can be considered broadband. This is excluding speed throttling or data caps for different protocols.

    Cable companies can choose to give you T1 speeds for regular data but give you lower speeds for streaming video, which currently challenges their relevance for TV broadcasts. This should not be considered broadband (or even legal, as it is essentially abusing their monopoly to thwart competition, artificially inflate costs, and reduce quality of service).

    Despite the P2P download/upload craze and rising popularity of streaming HD video services, ISPs are still raking in a lot of money that they pocket instead of re-investing in their services and infrastructure.

  33. J-Isle says:

    Given the situation where an increasing amount of users are demanding increasing amounts of bandwidth for watching high quality videos online, we may want to define broadband to be the minimum amount of bandwidth to stream (high quality) 1080p video without having to constantly buffer, in both directions.

    This definition would peg "broadband 2009" to mean having something around 10Mbit up and down. Is this amount of bandwidth justified? Certainly - many people in the United States already have such connections, which are usually powered by FTTH (FiOS, municipal ISPs, etc). I realize that many more other people would, by that definition, not have broadband. But we live in a world where we need to raise the bar and drag people up to it rather than setting it low so that everyone is included.

    On another note, and as others have mentioned, data caps severely impair people's ability to take advantage of their broadband connections and as such they should be placed somewhere in the range of 1TB per month should they exist at all.

    Finally, latency is not something that can be guaranteed by any means, but I don't know of any 10Mbit or higher connections that have problems with that.

  34. Andrew Oakley says:

    Broadband should be about latency (ping time) and not just bandwidth. Any latency to the country's capital city of more than 100ms should not be considered broadband.

  35. Billy Zelsnack says:

    I have a 3Mb ATT DSL plan which means in practice I get just a fraction above 1.5Mb which in ATT's corrupt mind counts as 3Mb somehow. Other than the false advertising.. 1.5Mb down and 1Mb up is very useful for a single user at a time, but it is only useful because it is not capped. I watch a lot of streaming video and download a lot of software and really have no problem. I only have a problem when my wife or kids are online at the same time..

    So I would define a minimum 2009 broadband connection as..

    No cap. 1.5Mb down / 1Mb up --- PER PERSON Cross country latency low enough to allow for reasonable video conferencing.

  36. Guest says:

    Why define broadband by a speed when the speed will be obsolete by the time it is in place?

  37. Meme says:

    I'd have to go with 1.5 to 2MB up/down actual. However as time goes on and more media is available online, those numbers will change. The most important factor is building in some "future proofing" by allowing those minimum levels to change higher as time goes on.

  38. Guest says:

    When building national infrastructure the 2 best examples are.. * 100K pounds on moon.. work backwards to spec rocket and launch complex size and needs.. * Interstate highway.. 60 mph both directions.. no stop lights.. max 3% grade.. US builds.. locals maintain * Internet.. 1080p HDTV compressed both directions.. all other voice and data apps will fall in place.. use best compression algorithms.. determine minimum end user processing and memory.. determine minimum equal 2-way wire/wireless speed in 5-10 Mbps range.. * We are building an infrastructure that in turn is building and maintaining an economy.. just as in TV, highways, rails, power and airlines.. we must build for use today with a migration path to the future with minimum service interruptions over time.. currently the cable industry has the best overall solution..

  39. Stephen says:

    I, too, believe that Frank (prior to my post) nailed the definition quite succinctly. His has the benefit of allowing for growth in the market as well as requiring that ISPs maintain a reasonable level of service, and also defines what a "reasonable level of service" is. I strongly recommend his suggestion as the definition. (At the very least, the down stream should be sufficient for regular use of 720p HD video streams.)

    Others' comments about advertised speeds should be given serious consideration. ISPs do need to be brought to task over what they advertise. An effort should be made to recognize the actual speeds that customers of each tier will experience, and it is the average of that information which should be advertised. This information should not be buried in legalese or in a small font. The average for each tier is what should be advertised for each tier along with a disclaimer stating that the speed is the average and that the actual speeds may be vary.

    The poster from Taiwan is representative of what I am told by the exchange students at my university. I have taken part in our university's "buddy program", so I have spoken to many students from other countries and they all make very similar comments about how poor our "broadband" is. This may or may not be pertinent, but is added in case it should be.

  40. TLamar says:

    Broadband service, and this is a service not a product, should allow for users to have the ability, bandwidth and throughput to allow for each member of a household to be doing, seeing, watching, downloading, and uploading simultaneously without human observable delay. While also allowing for delivery of media content through the same pipe from the media networks. Inherently, the service should provide for anonymity in a way that the medium is not used as a way to harvest data on or identify families or individuals but it is instead a tool or means to be used for work, play, leisure, education and so on...

  41. A Harris says:

    I believe that the term Broadband is a moving target and it's meaning and capibilities will change with technology. If we are to use the term in a meaningful way, we'll need to define a minimum base criterea. The criterea should contain a minimum download speed, minimum upload speed and latency. Class 1 Broadband could start with D/L: 1.5Mb U/L: .6Mb Lat. max:120ms we then could step to Class 2 Broadband at D/L: 3Mb U/L: 1.26Mb Lat max:90ms and so on.

  42. Seattle Resident says:

    I propose a system where a particular year's broadband speed is what the top 10%(or some % to be defined) of subscribers are obtaining. Why not use a metric that will automatically increase over time?

    This way we could develop goals like 90% of the country will obtain 2009 broadband speeds by 2015 or something like that.

    Any particular number is doomed to fail as broadband will continue to get faster and faster so will our inherent definition.

  43. John Epperson says:

    Once more, probably the best guidlines for a definition are as follows:

    Broadband Internet is an internet connection, that: - allows for contineous connection. (IE: 24/365 online). - has sufficient bandwidth for realtime viewing of (nearly) all available streamed content - has low enough latency for absence of human noticable lag during realtime voice, video and game applications while communicating with others on the same continent - has high enough limits to allow watching popular streams for 16 hours a day, every day - all of the above given the state of technology and available content at that time

    The following should also be considered strongly:

    -"There should also be terms that define the limit at which an ISP can "oversell" a zone before they have to upgrade infrastructure." -and, as others have stated, ISPs need to provide a connection that meets or exceeds advertised rates. ANYTHING ELSE is false advertising and fraud.

    I personally like the idea of requiring ISPs who "oversell" to a certain limit to invest in an amount of infrastructure so that they are once again below that limit. That would provide a consistent internet connection, both in latency and in speed, which is one of the most important aspects of the Broadband definition.

  44. Guest says:

    Good question! Broadband should be defined along the lines of: The speed at which data can be received and sent adequately, as to not interfere with date transfer rate, i.e, audio/video streaming/downloading for general consumer purposes. Have you ever tried downloading a 10 minute video at 3.0 Mbps or less? You can't play the video immediately because you'll soon realize the video has caught up to the amount of data you just downloaded. Seems to me broadband isn't "broad" enough! 5.0 Mbps should be the minimum speed if broadband is to be defined!

  45. Bill says:

    To be considered broadband, a connection should support at least T1 speeds. 1.5 megabits up and down in actual not just advertised speed.

    Could someone revisit the idea of 45 megabit fiber connections to every home that were promised by the telecoms in return for the many concessions and extra fees granted by the Telecommunications Act of 1996? Why have these concessions and fees not been rescinded?

    Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

  46. R Hyman says:

    I agree with A Harris that broadband is a moving target. Once put into place, definitions are difficult to change. Is there a standard that can be used to define broadband not as fixed numbers? Or define broadband in numbers that increase in the future?

    Perhaps the standard should also be based on capabilities found in other developed countries. The US has some of the poorest bandwidth compared to many developed nations. For example, a friend in Norway has access to 30 to 40 Mbps downloads for the price of about 5 mbps in the US.

  47. wardw says:

    No absolute numbers. That's nuts. How about broadband as some acceptable percentage of throughput of an idealized channel with a latency factor worked in. Then you could apply it case-by-case to each channel, and the threshold would rise as technology improved.

  48. Guest says:

    I agree that you can't define broadband by speeds, broadband speeds have been determined by internet content and the demand for that content.

    Broadband should be defined as being able to stream 4 HD videos at full quality simultaneously with no interruption from web access and no slow down on the upstream from having the downstream saturated or near max capacity.

    Broadband usage caps were put into place by ISPs because of either lacking funds or unwillingness to expand to support the demand of their customer base, so they put in usage caps slowing down or charging their customers more for exceeding the usage caps limit, because the ISPs cannot sustain their current customer base at the speeds they offer.

    If the ISPs must have usage caps then they need to be based on the TV viewing averages, multiplied by 4, as the internet has allowed each individual watch what they streaming, so 4 HD videos times TV viewing averages, personally I believe usage caps have no place in broadband definitions at all.

  49. Dick Moore says:

    The first definition that matters is having access in the first place. It doesn't matter what the definition of broadband is to people who have no access to anything that can possibly be defined as broadband.

    I do not have broadband, even though I live about 2.4 miles from a major fiber trunk line. I must use satellite -- no DSL or cable are available to me, despite living within a few miles of available services. Nothing about the satellite connection is broadband, but I pay an outrageous fee for it anyway, because it is all I can get.

    Folks like me really need to have the build-out first, then we can quibble over whether 1MBs up or down is "broadband." My solution is to enable the power co-ops to be able to offer direct connections as co-ops as well. It worked to get us power, and it will work to get us internet connections.

  50. Ahmad says:

    "Broadband" should be a living definition. That is, it out to continue changing/evolving to promote advancement, innovation and the overall betterment of the technology and the services offered via it.

    I don't want to be concerned with the logistics or legalities when I suggest that "broadband" should be measured against mobile speed. Allow me to clarify:

    If the maximum speed of a data connection on a mobile device is 768Kbs, then "broadband" ought to be X times that number minimum. So it's a formula. Today's latest implemented mobile speed, I believe, is 3G (let's just say ... without causing a debate here). If so, then we figure a formula for what "broadband" now means given that base number.

    Next would be the question of what the formula ought to be. I'm not sure I have all the information to make that suggestion. As a consumer who has tried dial up (back when 14.4 was hot), DSL, Cable, ISDN, T1, T3, etc. I think that FiOS (and I'm not trying to advertise for anyone here) is down right awesome; and should be the minimum definition of "broadband."

    Realistically, however, "broadband" should never be less 5Mbs. Of course, all this is about download speed, and we often neglect upload speed; which's becoming more important as we progress technologically. Perhaps "broadband" ought to also mean that download and upload speeds must be the same, not less than 5Mbs each way, and at X times the highest mobile data download speed.

    That ought to get things moving.

  51. Guest says:

    8Mb/s down 4Mb/s up No data limit Dont block any protocols Any latency to the country's capital city of more than 100ms should not be considered broadband

  52. Ken in Boise ID says:

    With all due respect to those that do not want numbers in the definition, it is hard to define this type of thing without them. At minimum 3Mb/s bandwidth should be available (Meaning that down/up speeds would depend on what the user is doing) to the customer at all times. Given the explosion is sloppy web site development and streaming media, no limit to the amount of data being transferred should be tolerated. Providers may not filter data transfers by type (of data) or protocols used by the customer. Latency should not exceed 5ns for the customer's request to be completely processed by the provider's network. Advertised speeds should be considered a guaranteed speed. It truly upsets me to pay for 10Mb/s only to find that even at 0300 I max out at 5Mb/s.

  53. Mark says:

    Any broadband definition, in relation to other countries, should specify the following:

    1) No download or upload limitation or throttling of bandwidth for transfered data (bytes) by either total byte throughput limitation or speed of the connection limitation.

    2) Any usage of the word "unlimited" to describe a internet service shall be bound by item #1 definition.

    3) Advertised speeds that are clearly defined as the MINIMUM for a connection from the user to the internet "cloud". I.E. 20Mbs upload/20Mbs download. Not merely the connection from the home to the provider, but to the internet as a whole. Speeds cannot be guaranteed beyond the provider, but the provider must be ethical in advertising real ability of their network and not "theoretical speeds, which are misleading.

    4) The connection must be symmetrical and NOT assymmetrical in relation to Mbps upload and download speeds.

  54. Guest says:

    I feel that broadband should be like the speeds offered in countries like South Korea and Japan and be available in a vast majority of areas in the US. Even though we don't get there right away, it could be a long-term goal to consider. There should be no data caps and protocol and service discrimination because I want to be able to use my connection for any legal purpose.

  55. Nphocus says:

    I think that broadband speeds should be defined in much the same way that pay scales are determined. If companies want competitive employees, they pay a competitive wage, somewhere in the 75% or more median.

    The same should be applied to broadband definitions. The goal for broadband should be that moving target of 75% of the global average with pricing set along the same scale. We should not pay premium top shelf rates for poor bottom tier services.

    I think the real focus of the entire broadband initiative should focus on fiber to the premise for all of those that live in currently rural communities. These are the individuals that would be best served by improved/actual ability to work remotely and save on commuting time/costs/pollution.

    I also believe that local and county laws that restrict broadband competition and propagation should be superseded by new federal laws. We already have national utility right of way that allows a telco to put a telephone pole smack dab in the middle of my swimming pool if they see fit, AND drive their truck through it to service it!

    In short, a 1st world country such as the United States of America should not be spending funds with the goal of achieving 3rd world services. We strive to achieve 1st in class for our warfighters. We should strive to achieve 1st in class for our broadband initiative. Anything less is an embarrassment.

  56. Guest says:

    Broadband should be defined as NO LESS than an ACTUAL DELIVERED SPEED of SYMETRICAL 9Mbps.

    Anything less is is more or less dialup. 1.5 Mbps DSL connections are the new 28.8k modem. It should be criminal that companies can charge upwards of $60 a month for a connection that pathetic.

  57. Justin Bean says:

    "Broadband" is:

    1) An internet connecton which is always on and delivers its advertised speed at all times.

    2) Does not restrict the consumer's access to legal web sites and services.

    3) Does not limit the amount of data that can be transferred, below the maximum bandwidth of the connection.

  58. Scout says:

    The definition of broadband also needs to include a commensurate metric for end-to-end reliability. Although reliability is mentioned in the public notice, the topic has received little attention in the FCC workshops to date. Given the direction of internet-based applications for education, medicine, energy, public safety, homeland security, etc., our broadband network needs to be very reliable. T1 level reliability - which is on par with plain old telephone service (POTS - which is connected via copper wires) - seems like a reasonable starting point. This probably translates to 99.999% (5 mins/year) or similar. (T1 SLAs typically provide 99.99% uptime; however, in practice many circuits are considerably more reliable). The byproduct of such a metric is that from a practical perspective, only fiber and copper wiring deliver "five nines" reliability. With rare exception, when you pick up a POTS phone, you get a dial tone and calls work every time. You expect clear voices and no drops. You don't have to make contingency plans for an important call. Problems that do occur can be isolated and fixed in a straightforward manner.

    In stark contrast, multi-point wireless technologies are 2-3 orders of magnitude less reliable. Interference, weak signals, wireless equipment problems in remote locations, and other service related issues are quite common. Many of these problems are difficult and expensive to diagnose and fix. David Pogue posted a short NY Times video last month that summed up the problems with wireless fairly well. Although the video focuses on cell phone service, similar issues affect WiFi, satellite, EVDO, WiMAX, LTE, and other wireless technologies. The last fifteen seconds of the video should resonate well with people dependent on wireless broadband technologies. http://video.nytimes.com/video/playlist/technology/david-pogue/1194811622273/index.html#1247463594936

    Wireless technologies are a key part of our mobile society, and we are willing to trade the inherent lower reliability for the convenience they provide. They may also be the only practical solution for some remote areas, and for the transition period to a robust broadband infrastructure. However, given the future application demands and the cost of upgrading our broadband infrastructure, we need to define reliability metric and deploy solutions that will last for decades. We can't afford to rip the infrastructure out and replace it in five or ten years.

  59. SamH says:

    It's a disgrace to our nation to be so far behind the rest of the world. We've had the technology for at least 10baseT (aka 10Mbit) networks to every home and buisness in the USA for over ten years now. The main difference between wiring up an office and wiring up a neighborhood is the length of the cables.

    IMHO, anything less is unpatriotic.

  60. Jordan says:

    Defenition of "broadband" as it should be:

    An always-on internet connection that provides a sustained bandwidth of at least 3Mbps down/ 1Mbps up. This speed of broadband should be adequate for the average home user. Satellite connections are out unless they reach minimum speeds.

    As technology improves the term "broadband" needs to change as well to continue pushing technological changes and competitvness which will overall come out as a win for the consumer.

    Above term should not subject to "data limits", "specific protocols", etc. The end user is paying for access, they should not be limited in how much they can have a month.

  61. Guest says:

    With respect to a evolving standard, I would start my definition of broadband with the idea of being able to perform the following normal online activities at any given time: Checking Email. Loading websites. Watch a movie through a web stream. Download and play a video game. Various network administration tools.

    Every 4 years the above list should be updated with new technologies and how the above technologies have changed. Each item should be evaluated for what the standards are currently.

    For example checking email. Email has a low requirement for actual bandwidth use, but requires that pop and smtp protocols be open. As time goes on these protocols may change so 4 years from now we need to update the list, and any service that blocks these protocols would not be considered broadband.

    Loading websites. With this one we have to do a survey of the most visited websites on the internet, and see what their page load times are. All the popular sites should be able to load up in ~5 to 10 seconds. As time goes on websites will grow larger and we'll expect faster response times, so these will have to be adjusted in the future.

    Watch a movie through a web stream. Video quality is a standard that is still rapidly growing. Right now 720p video is the lowest standard for HD TV, however it's still pretty new. I'd say that 4 years from now the slowest form of broadband should easily be able to stream a 720p movie even during peak hours.

    Video games. You have to measure what kind of latency the connection has. I would say that currently 100ms latency to anywhere in the country is pretty common even with the slowest of non-dialup connections.

    Administration tools. SSL, FTP, SFPT, VPN and a whole host of other tools should always be allowed to run unhindered on any connection calling itself broadband. As time goes on more protocols will be created and need to be added to the list.

    Thats my 2 cents. Thanks for asking.

  62. Sarreq Teryx says:

    At an absolute minimum, I would say 768k up/down, but there are many who would say that's an ancient (in computer terms) speed. If you're talking basic internet access for email and research, you don't necessarily need to be able to view (most) videos, or be able to connect to a gaming server, and 768k would be plenty for that definition.

  63. Ian Page-Echols says:

    There are a lot of good comments on this page. I just wanted to mention that there is a specific page that you should put these comments on: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs/Upload and then click on the radio button for the National Broadband Plan Notice of Inquiry. If you do not do this, your comment will only be on a blog, and will not affect any decisions made by the FCC.

    I personally don't feel that countries should try to compare themselves as much to each other unless they start getting into the extremes on either end of a certain topic. However, I agree with some of the commenters above that the country should choose a target like being in the top 10% for broadband. The reason is less the fact that we should be in the top 10%, but more in acknowledgement that this should be a moving target. If we decide that 1.5 Mbps or some other arbitrary number is good enough, it's inevitable our definition will be stuck at 1.5 far longer than it should be.

  64. Keith says:

    First, I too agree with what Frank said (and have resubmitted it below).

    >Frank says: >08/21/2009 at 8:20 AM > >Broadband Internet is an internet connection, that: >- allows for contineous connection. (IE: 24/365 online). >- has sufficient bandwidth for realtime viewing of (nearly) all available streamed content >- has low enough latency for absence of human noticable lag during realtime voice, video and game >applications while communicating with others on the same continent >- has high enough limits to allow watching popular streams for 16 hours a day, every day >- all of the above given the state of technology and available content at that time

    Second, I am currently stuck on DSL because there is no broadband service in my area. My current setup is 250 Kbps down/ 140 Kbps up. For the record, it sucks and is unusable for video and audio on the Internet in this day and age. At the time I got it back around mid-2003, it was a great improvement over 56 Kbps dial up, but it isn't anymore with all the highly interactive websites.

    Third, if you want more solid numbers, I will be glad to give what I see as the average speed for broadband. These numbers are what an ISP would actually give on average every day as oppose to maximum speed listed on their webpage or the number pulled out of the backside of their marketing department. The following is how I would define broadband speed numbers based on my personal understanding of what "broadband" is and how I understand the Internet: Minimum Speed: 1.5 Mbps down/ 1.0 Mbps up, standard service Basic Broadband: 3.0 Mbps down/ 1.5 Mbps up, $14.99 per month Regular Broadband: 5.0 Mbps down/ 2.0 Mbps up, $24.99 per month High Speed Broadband: 10.0 Mbps down/ 5.0 Mbps up, $ 39.99 per month

    Of course this comes with some assumptions about Net Neutrality: -no caps -available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week/ 52 weeks a year -as Frank stated above, usable at said average speed 16 hours a day -no protocol blocking -no multi-tier setup based on protocols -no website blocking by ISP -no unrequested rerouting to ISP's service website over service website of choice -no spying by ISP and only by the government with a warrant granted from a judge

    Also, I personally don't count FIOS as broadband. Furthermore, outside of my view of "1.5 Mbps down/ 1.0 Mbps up" as an unalienable right, all other tiers are what a person is willing to pay within reason. Dial up should be dead, even as an option of last resort, in 2009.

    Fourth, while I gave solid numbers for today. Broadband should be a living definition and grow based on formula. I would say add 1.0 Mbps to download and upload speeds per year. Any broadband infrastructure built should be build for future needs, so today's system should have room for 44 Mbps down/ 20 Mbps up (and be IPv6 compliant). The system should be regularly maintained and upgraded on a yearly cycle as technology improves. There should be government funds and private industry funds for all maintenance and upgrade work. Funds should also be available for the necessary research and development work.

    I wish the government luck in defining broadband and upgrading everyone to it.

  65. Nicole says:

    I agree with the comments above that the numbers defining broadband must be a moving target, and the measurement must be in ACTUAL delivered service -- not advertised numbers. Latency is also a critical factor. It's not feasible to demand 100% uptime, but the uptime and speed calculations need to be based on very high numbers. 99% service delivery is not enough... 99.9%, perhaps.

    Defining broadband by streaming video, however, is as likely to become as dated and inaccurate as a specific number. Streaming media is all the rage today, but by next year there could become some new must-have service provided over the internet. Any standards arrived at need to be application neutral.

    Creating standards with application neutrality has another advantage: if there is a minimum for any kind traffic to meet the definition of broadband, ISPs will be able to bump certain services above those minimums, but they will not be able to cripple other services below the minimum and still advertise broadband. If ISPs wish to give preference to specific kinds of traffic, they will need to upgrade their infrastructure overall.

  66. Jim Aimone says:

    Broadband: Minimum of 5Mbps Down and Minimum of 2Mbps Upload

    Verifiers: FCC to provide a functional (on Line) bandwidth meter that allows all users/ISP a standard on which to measure exactly what a Provider is delivering at any given time.

    ALso, Quict making reference to T-1 (1.544Mbps) based services-That is so old school it is ridiculous. This is the IP/Ethernet World now and we need to move ahead.

  67. Carlos Kirjner - FCC says:

    Thank you all for the comments so far. We do read them all and they do help us with our thinking. There will be a follow up post or comment on this soon...

  68. Guest says:

    Why I don't see this as all being the internet & why I feel caps and/or metering is justified:

    I feel the internet is the open networking, usually of routers and servers sometimes referred to as "the cloud", to which data should be untainted & speed should not be limited for a competitive benefit. I don't think anything should be blocked unless there is a legal basis for it.

    I don't feel though that the connections that go between the connection into this central system and wiring cabling or other electronics that extend to a home is the internet, I feel that is really internet (or broadband) "access" since that is a connection that has been provided by a company that can even be a competitor to another whom it is carrying the data for. This company, for instance, may be a cable, telco or other wireless provider.

    This company most likely built this access with the expectation that some sort of revenue stream for them would justify its construction & maintenance. It doesn't matter what it was for, a company is providing a ramp to the internet and if they are, and they want to put a cap or metering fee to get on to that centralized network I feel is actually the internet, that should be their rite. One term I have heard to discribe this on ramp I mention here is the last mile. You might expect providers from this point on to refer to this link as the internet (or broadband) access so that there is no confusion to customers.

    Say a company built an underground plumbing system in front of their house, they should have a right to put a faucet there. What you would be referring to would be the main water supply and, yes, everyone should be entitled to that.

    If there was a highway everyone is allowed to use & I built a bridge to access it, I have a right to toll that bridge any way I want; It would in turn be wrong use of funds, I feel, for the government to then facilitate building a competative bridge to the highway, this should be left up to companies such as this one who are all trying to compete fairly to give access to that highway.

    As far as the minimum speed for broadband, I don't think there should be but if you must set one, I think it should be 1Mbps/200kbps.

  69. Jim D says:

    I think Guest @ 08/22/2009 at 8:49 AM has pretty much hit the nail on the head. With the real costs of providing service relative to the time when T1 was relevant being less then fractions of the cost, there is no reason to be limiting what people can do if its legal on a broad band connection. I should be able to watch HDTV on multiple TV's on in my house, as well have family members surf the internet and do email all at the same time.

  70. Greg W says:

    Broadband in America is a gigantic money pit which should only be saved by the likes of hollywood and the porn industry. Please keep the government out of this business by any means necessary. I've got two pair wire, that's all I need, thank you very much, but NO THANKS.

  71. John Kreno says:

    I read alot of the other comments. I think that they are mostly all valid. The definition should definitely include:

    - A connection that is always available, (99.9%) Uptime. I think this is very realistic. That's 87.6 hours for maintenance or unexpected outages per year.

    - The connection should not be intentionally throttled or filtered in any way other than to maintain no more than the maximum sold commited information rate.

    - I think that the FCC should endeavor to push the providers in the US to offer a standard service offering of 10Mbps symetric service by 2012 in order to keep "broadband" status.

    - I also think that the FCC should also endeavor to push said providers look at a 100Mbps to the home offering by 2015 and to impliment those offerings by the end of the decade.

    It's a shame that we are a world leader as a country and yet there are other countries who do not have that status that have achieved a 100Mbps service offerings to the home.

  72. Ronnie Kelley Jr. says:

    Let me start off with, I have watched every workshop webcast so far, and this is a very important decision that will have an extraordinary impact on our country. As we move forward with our broadband imitative, we need to give consideration to many factors. Broadband will benefit economics, education, climate change, transportation, sociological issues, and many more. So, I think it's easy to conclude that, "We need to invest in the best possible infrastructure that will maximize the benefits from that investment. And based on what I have observed here so far is, access to both the best available wired and wireless technologies to 99 percent of the country should define the definition of broadband, with exception to maybe the rancher who lives in the middle of the 400 square mile ranch."

  73. Mike Kiely says:

    Rather than providing a fixed definition, I drafted a label or kitemark here - http://bbbritain.co.uk/kitemark.aspx

    It attempts to outline the key attributes of the connectivity I get and how it performs during busy periods. I tried to define Broadband but it had no real meaning, I was actually discovering the nature of the connectivity available. You can charactise the connectivity, if the ISP exposes their planning rules and then list other services on top.

    Ofcoms reports on average speed are pretty useless for individual customers. There are no truth in averages, and none of those speeds were recorded during the busy or congested period.

    I would suggest rather than defining Broadband or an average speed, you 1.) describe a set of outcomes and services you wish to be supported, 2) Describe the performance each of these outcomes need (throughput/packet loss and /delay) and then develop a labelling system where connectivity providers highlight what outcomes there packages support. I have put a set of examples on the above site, which folk can take develop and improve.

    Do not join propaganda war on speed, start talking outcomes, as speed without the necessary quality has no effective meaning.

  74. Steve Forstner says:

    The end of usage caps would be a blessing. In my area I am limited to a choice between dialup, satellite, or cellular wireless. Dialup is the only unlimited source and that is disgraceful. The other two options cost $60+ a month and are capped. This is the equivalent of charging me 3 times as much but only allowing me to use the internet for 1 week out of each month. These alternate services are also faulty and often slow.

    The national standard needs to include a requirement for the percentage of homes that are served with some form of reasonable-cost basic service in any given area. Otherwise the carriers will continue to ignore less densly populated markets. Personally I don't care if that service is provided by cell, satellite, cable or fiber just as long as it meets the criteria of speed, reliability, unlimited usage and cost.

    Another thing that I haven't seen discussed here is the ability to connect any equipment to the service. Right now, if you want to use cellular service or satellite service, you have to use approved equipment. If you buy from Verizon, you must have Verizon's modem and one of a small handfull of routers that will work on Verizon's network. This is the equivalent of a locked cellphone and it shouldn't be allowed since it stifles trade. If you buy satellite service, a similar requirement is made.

  75. Fred says:

    Mine is a mash up of 2 comments already left.

    1) An internet connection which is always on and delivers its advertised speed at all times.

    2) Does not restrict the consumer's access to legal web sites and services.

    3) Does not limit the amount of data that can be transferred, below the maximum bandwidth of the connection.

    -no caps -available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week/ 52 weeks a year -no protocol blocking -no multi-tier setup based on protocols -no website blocking by ISP -no unrequested rerouting to ISP's service website over service website of choice -no spying by ISP and only by the government with a warrant granted from a judge

  76. Guest says:

    -must include a minimum amount of throughput for a certain percentage of time during the month. -ISP must not block protocols or packets based on type or time of day.

  77. Guest says:

    Broadband needs to have at least 10Mbps down and 2Mbps up. The reason is that lower speed just make browsing the internet slower, that mean wasting electricity waiting for a page to load. If I were to download a Linux Ubuntu ISO - a 10Mbps down use less electricity than a 1Mbps down.

    Beside, why is it that Japan, Korea China, and Taiwan all have faster speed than US? their economy seems to do much better also -

  78. Guest says:

    I'm not generally too picky about speeds but what really gets me, and what makes me agree with the FCC, is that advertised speed is definitely different from actual speed. On top of that the ISP's are using this to their advantage. Let me explain. I've got the basic verizon brodaband which is advertised at about 800 kbits/sec. In reality the most I've ever been able to get is about 90 kbits/sec. Doesn't seem fair does it? Why should I be paying $18 a month for something that I'm only using 1/9 of? Shouldn't I be paying for what I'm getting because I wouldn't really care that much if I'm paying $2 a month, but I'm not. Gets better, I call verizon to complain and they claim that I'm getting slow speeds because I'm too far from the station. Apparently the only way to get the speeds I'm paying for is to upgrade to fios and pay $12 more than I do now. Basically what I'm trying to say is that the FCC should consider broadband based on actual speeds not what the ISP claims to have, cause they're seriously different. Even worse, if this isn't just me that is getting jipped then there is some serious misrepresentation and fraud going on.

  79. Guest says:

    I mean.. is this a joke? How can you base any product on its advertised instead of actual value? If a car company advertises that my car is going to get 40 mpg and I get 20, I am not going to be happy. Why should it be different in the broadband industry? Sure, consumer factors affect the speed and are out of control of the company, but its the same thing with a car. That's why companies have a rate for on the highway and in the city driving and take into account things like prolific AC use. Maybe the food industry should be allowed to advertise whatever nutritional facts it wants without backing it up with facts. There NEEDS to be a standard set up to judge what is broadband and how to test its speed. This is an industry that has almost no regulation.

    If you are going to base the definition of broadband on what applications can be used you had better be careful. By the time you even pass the legislation there is already going to be more applications available and in use that haven't been thought of. This isn't some stagnant industry like most are, but is constantly evolving and changing.

  80. Guest says:

    Simple. If what I get isn't what's advertised, it's fraud. The FCC should not allow this fraud to continue.

  81. David T says:

    The best broadband definition will describe a typical user's capability to access online services during peak load times. I think there are two critical points:

    1. The broadband companies are perfectly happy to play word games regarding speed, especially in most instances around the US where there are limited choices. Thus, the term broadband must encompass a suite of common online applications that I feel should include video and audio streaming in high definition, rapid file downloads (e.g. linux distributions), and low network latency for dynamic collaborative interactions with other users (which can range from multiple users working on the same spreadsheet to playing online video games). *Without defining which applications are enabled by "broadband," the term loses much of its meaning as the given meaning can be redefined at will by the providers.*

    2. The "speed" metric that is currently used to define how fast internet is really is a poor indicator of general performance. Theoretical and actual speeds are vastly different, and it is misleading to advertize "broadband" in a neighborhood that cannot receive it. While the fault may not lie with the delivery companies, the fact remains that the end user is not receiving what was promised and paid for. At best, current practices are misleading and at worst are deceptive. The "speed" problem reinforces the need to define "broadband" as a measure of a connection's usefulness to the user to perform a defined set of tasks online.

  82. Guest says:

    My first thought would be to actually force the companies that "advertise" these so-called Broadband services to actually take a look at the technology that they are using and re-think their strategies. If you look at the US from a standpoint of Bandwidth capabilities, we're not the best high-speed country in the world. Also, when you look at "High Speed" internet services, there are only a LIMITED number of providers, and those providers aren't in any hurry to update their networks to provide a faster/better experience to their customers. Why would anyone want to define Broadband, when we can't even force the companies that are providing it to customers to continue improving it?

    You can't define something that doesn't have a base value. If "broadband" connection speeds vary from state to state, city to city, what is the point of even attempting to define what speeds qualify? Why not start making the ISPs accountable for the fact they charge you for a service they don't provide.

  83. Big Gerr says:

    Instead of tying ourselves into actual speed definition let us remember we are creating this definition to assist in defining the "haves" from the "have nots". To simplify it let us define a minimum app or service to be provided and that any basic web services would also have no issues. My thought would be watchable video and audio delivery to the browser. Define the quality by size of the video window. Broadband could be defined as "the delivery of video and audio to the browser in an x by y size window. Now define the window. With the window definition you could actually assign levels of broadband and decide the minimum required. For example: a)Deliver video and audio in a 640 x 480 window in the browser. (consistent action and unbroken audio) b)Deliver video and audio in a 320 x 240 window in the browser. (consistent action and unbroken audio)

    a) could be a Tier I delivery and b) could be a Tier II delivery and the bare minimum. This is in anticipation of the Internet supplementing and/or overtaking broadcast TV. We must provide the same minimum of services that a person can receive when purchasing a TV for viewing public safety announcements. (video and audio)

    Any current web application such as email, chat, blogging, etc. would be easily supported by the above definition.

    A even lower minimum, Tier III, could be established for just minimum web services without video and/or audio but those minimum services can be supported by dial-up so I feel video and audio needs to be in the definition and limited to Tier I and Tier II as proposed above.

    Big Gerr

  84. Big Gerr says:

    Instead of tying ourselves into actual speed definition let us remember we are creating this definition to assist in defining the "haves" from the "have nots". To simplify it let us define a minimum app or service to be provided and that any basic web services would also have no issues. My thought would be watchable video and audio delivery to the browser. Define the quality by size of the video window. Broadband could be defined as "the delivery of video and audio to the browser in an x by y size window. Now define the window. With the window definition you could actually assign levels of broadband and decide the minimum required. For example: a)Deliver video and audio in a 640 x 480 window in the browser. (consistent action and unbroken audio) b)Deliver video and audio in a 320 x 240 window in the browser. (consistent action and unbroken audio)

    a) could be a Tier I delivery and b) could be a Tier II delivery and the bare minimum. This is in anticipation of the Internet supplementing and/or overtaking broadcast TV. We must provide the same minimum of services that a person can receive when purchasing a TV for public safety announcements.

    Any current web application such as email, chat, blogging, etc. would be easily supported by the above definition.

    A even lower minimum, Tier III, could be established for just minimum web services without video and/or audio but those minimum services can be supported by dial-up so I feel video and audio needs to be in the definition. And limited to a Tier I and a Tier II as proposed above.

    Big Gerr

  85. arminw says:

    Do not define broadband in terms of applications, but simply in terms of bits per second. For 15+ years now it has been possible to send 10 Mb per second easily over copper wires. The minimum downlink speed permitted to be labeled broadband, should be no slower than one third of that with an uplink speed minimum of 1/10 of that for a residential connection called broadband. to avoid rapid obsolescence, It is important not to tie the definition of broadband to any particular application. Who knows what the technology will be 10 years from now.

  86. Guest says:

    In 1998, broadband used to mean anything faster than a 56k modem. For example a 128k isdn line used to qualify as "broadband". However, as consumption use changes, and the pipes we use get bigger and bigger, the term broadband needs to be gradated over time to mean an ever increasing amount of bandwidth. However today, anything slower than 768k connection, I would not consider to be broadband - or at least a "poor" broadband connection. http://aoleonthemartiangirl.com

  87. Sys Admin says:

    "Broadband" Is not that difficult to define by speed it's easy, 10mb down and 3mb up that is always on, protocol neutral, and un-throttled. It should then be reevaluated every three years and increased according to growth. Advertised speeds should be ignored as they are nothing but lies. ISP statements in general should be disregarded as lies. Comcast says:

    "the actual online experience of any particular consumer at any particular moment in time involves a wide range of factors, many of which are outside the control of the Internet service provider."

    What factors are outside the control of the ISP? they own the pipes from the net all the way to the modem in my house, the only thing outside their control is the computer itself and all speed and usage data would be gathered at the modem before it hits the computer. Lies, Lies, Lies. Comcastic translation:

    "If we had to report the actual speed of our connections we wouldn't be able to share one line with the entire neighborhood. We'd have to support everyone equally and that would mean spending money on our infrastructure so we don't want to do that."

  88. Guest says:

    I hope there is a chance to stop the commercialilzation of public airwaves at the expense of public usage. Everyday I see advertising for Time Warner High Speed Broadband. This is a big lie. The service provided is a general capacity or potential for High Speed Broadband. This is false. The rate should not be listed by the potential capacity but by the average or expected throughput when fully utilized. RoadRunners claim of 15Mb download is never true! But they advertise this value all the time. Now they are pushing a service that for an extra monthly fee you can get "boosted" to a higher speed. Nonsense. This is abuse of publicly supported infrastructure. This boost will take away the capacity of those that don't pay for the boost. In a sense it is an unapproved rate increase. Please prevent this manner and treatment of customers from continuation of being fooled in the wireless world. Broadband is fast, we the uneducated public see the word broadband and associate this term with very fast, no delay, smooth video. The sellers call anything with big capacity numbers broadband, even if overselling and high bandwidth utilization make it appear to us as low speed. Define broadband as a min/max value with a measurable metric so there is a certainty of what it is we are paying for!

    On another item. Please prevent to stagnantation of inovation in the data world by allowing monopolistic associations to attack there customers with legal methods in the name of artist protections. We know the artists get insanely rich off the efforts of production and promotion but this is at the whim of their managment decisions. If we continue to lock down all media and machinery to force payment to these management monopolies the culture of scofflaws and sharing will expand. The artist who appeals to many people will succeed without the gang from the media managment company. I am so done with manufactured music, I refuse to pay for any entertainment media! If only the government had used this much money and power when my tapes were stolen from my car, or the DVDs stolen from my home, I would expect them to be the same with the industry. They are not! This is blatent abuse of power. STOP IT NOW!

  89. Kevin P says:

    Seeing how the US ranks among one of the lowest of industrialized countries in terms of internet speeds, we seriously need to revamp our infrastructure. Only with new infrastructure can we have a good definition of broadband. Theres no sense in defining it with restraints of old networking we have.

    My idea of broadband is something that needs to push the envelope - AMERICA INVENTED THE INTERNET AND YET WE HAVE SOME OF THE SLOWEST SPEEDS! France has an average internet speed of over 50mbps. Japan offers 150mbps service for the equivalent of $50 or $60 USD per month. FiOS is rated at 50mbps per month, but can cost upwards of $100 or more a month.

    Broadband should be: minimum 20mbps download, 2-5mbps upload no limit caps (no even invisible ones - Im looking at you, Comcast...) low latency - under 100ms should be good for most applications, under 50ms would be GREAT not intentionally throttling sites or applications not spying on consumers internet usage 99.9% reliable

    In addition, we should not have to pay extravagent prices for good service. If the government is handing out money to upgrade infrastructure, the cost SHOULD NOT pass on to the consumers bill as the company such as comcast has 0 cost. If they raise prices due to faster speeds based on new infrastructure, you might as well call it extortion.

    I currently have comcast and get about 25mbps/5 for $60 a month. This is faster than the majority of people with broadband, but I would like to see the US be back on the top as far as technology goes. I believe I read an article a while ago saying that we could upgrade our infrastructure to be capable of 1gbps for $300 billion. I'll gladly write out a check for $1000 to go towards that!

  90. CCCP says:

    Broadband is a moving target and the definition should be evaluated and modified every 3 years. What will be sufficient for today's needs will be outdated within a few years. Broadband needs a clearer sense such as defining service levels and clearly stating download and upload speeds. Service offerings could include different options such as "basic" which provides the essentials such as Port 80/443 and 25, 110, 143 SMTP/POP access as speeds that are subject to throttling, defined in the basic option would be the up/down speeds. Of course other options are in between. There should also be an "advanced" service which provides unthrottled, clear access, free of packet manipulation. We are seeing a growing problem with packet throttling that is causing video, voice and data streaming issues to the extent where there is no resolution.

  91. Micah C. says:

    Comment submitted through ECFS:

    Please ensure that the rated minimum speed of broadband places both rural & metropolitan access on an even keel. A minimum speed of 768kbps down/200kbps up is fine... if we get that as a minimum. High speed providers make little effort to ensure this regardless of locale, which is made all the more obvious where I live. Our broadband in this small town is delivered over 802.11b radio and is less than 200k, which excludes a lot of sites from my access that contain media in any form (audio/video/flash) and limits my reach of applications to ones less than 25MB to be feasible to download. (Downloading Windows 7 bought online or Office 2010 next year would be a one-week excercise.)

    There are suitable, low-cost last-mile technologies out there. They're being rolled out now in other communities with NO broadband access, but our town is being skipped by the Stimulus programs since we have a local provider. We've been told it wouldn't be hard to implement Cable or DSL either, but at our town, there's too few subscribers in the total pool to be of any interest for rollout. Our high school is overflowing at a capacity of almost 600 students (when it was made to accomodate 450 comfortably)... I find that very hard to believe.

  92. Guest says:

    Broadband access is a vehicle that allows the delivery of an entirely new breed of media services and communications-oriented applications. In the long run, it is these new services and applications that will differentiate broadband from dial-up Internet access and give consumers a reason for subscribing to broadband. Audio and video are the obvious cornerstones of this coming high-speed revolution. Speedy connections coupled with always-on access will improve the consumer multimedia experience and change the types of business models that are viable in the interactive marketplace. As use of broadband grows to more than 20 million subscribers by 2004, traditional media companies may uncover opportunities for growth and acquisition in these alternative content categories enabled by the high-speed Internet. Broadband will not replace traditional media formats as they exist today. But it will emerge as a new source of fragmentation, siphoning off enough listeners and viewers to affect established media entities and their long-term growth.

    http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/blog/nsb060209_chest-radiography.html

  93. Steve says:

    Nice post. Thanks for the information.

  94. Terry says:

    As a former Technology instructor and IT pro of over 10 years experience, I would like to state the unknown and often over looked aspects of Internet connections as a whole. Now, as many of you maybe aware there are many various connection speeds which range from around 28kb - upwards of 40mb. This is caused by varying speed capabilities of the very old POTS networks in the U.S. Your average dial up connection will vary in speeds usually around 28kb up stream and down stream where as your average DSL connection will often vary around 256kb up stream and 700kb down stream.

    Now that being said, "Broadband internet connections" are just what that means. "Broad" meaning a varying range of "internet connections". So the next time your upload slows too around 115kb on your dsl connection keep this in mind; You honestly don't know about the different types and conditions of the connections which allow your pc connect to the machine you are accessing across the internet. For a prime example of what I'm saying think first about the connection from your pc to the first device it connects through on it's way to the internet, and not necessarily a device outside of your building such as your broadband router or dsl modem. Now you probably have a Lan port in your pc rated @ 10/100mbs and your broadband router is most likely rated @ 10/100mbs. This particular example is an ideal example of a "perfect world" type of network. By that I mean there are 2 devices connected on a fairly new cable (rated to carry data @ around 100mbs) and they both are equally rated as far as the speed at which data can pass to/from the device (which is 10mbs or 100mbs depending on the configuration of the ports). Your average internet connection will vary from internet device to internet device due to things like cable ratings, device specifications, data flow configurations and settings, distances, and unknown interferences i.e. data transfer collisions, network saturation, as well as many other types of things. Also keep in mind that many cables which make up the internet are very, very old and cable does deteriorate over time.

    Now the average "real world" internet connections are made up of many devices, which are configured to have different data settings, and are connected by extremely old & over loaded cables. So your pc may be set to 1000mbs but the network that provides your internet service provider access to the internet (NOT your internet connection to Comcast or At&t) but their connection to the internet network is made up of many different devices configured to perform in different ways and restricted by the cables in between them. So you see how a connection provided by "Comcast" for example could be slower than 256kbs at times.

    Many of the major service providers are finding alternative ways & technologies to make your connection even faster than the contracted throughput ratings of anywhere from 200kbs to 700kbs for most broadband connections, but this does NOT fix the underlying issues with old POTS networks still used today to interconnect networks to make up the internet.

    So, in all reality Broadband internet is a extremely loosely used term to do no more than designate a certain connection as higher speed than dial up. This includes satellite connections too! They range usually from 100kbs - 400kbs. This is Not much higher than a dial up connection by any means.

  95. Edward Wood says:

    Just as important as the definition of broadband is the ability to know what you are going to get when you sign up for broadband, ISPs shouldbe required to specify the minimum band width you can expect rather than the meaningless "up to'" I pay for"up to" 5MBPS bu mostly get1 to 1.5> when i complain I get "up to".

    WE need rules to prevent the Rip-off of 'UP to"

  96. MBA Schools says:

    Simple. If what I get isn't what's advertised, it's fraud. The FCC should not allow this fraud to continue.

  97. Guest says:

    Simple. If what I get isn't what's advertised, it's fraud. The FCC should not allow this fraud to continue.

  98. Guest says:

    If you are defrauded, then sue! But of course, you are getting what the TOC promises (which is not much).

  99. Guest says:

    yeah <a href="http://www.google.com">right!</a>

  100. Guest says:

    http://www.google.com/

  101. Gooner says:

    You have tested it and writing form your personal experience or you find some information online?

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