Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #335 5/11/2016

Question: How fast is broadband Internet?


Broadband is normally defined as using an Internet connection that work digitally the whole way. The definition has also come to mean that it works at least some speed. Dialup is not broadband.

The speeds that are used to define broadband have been changing recently. The speeds are normally rated in megabits per second (mbps) although the fastest Internet connections are now running at 1000mbps or faster which is stated easier as 1 gbps (gigabits per second) or gig service

Last year the FCC changed the definition of broadband from 4mbps to 10 mbps, but said 25 mbps is a more realistic number. This then meant that many communities no longer were rated at having broadband, essentially almost all of south Georgia disappeared from having broadband.

Now it has come out that the definition of broadband by the FCC is not the definition used by all of the US government. You would think there would be a single definition for the US government.

The US Department has two definitions of broadband. The Broadband Access Loan Program just upped their definition from 4 mbps to 10 mbps. The Community Connect grant program still uses 4mbps so is not working to get as high of speeds for rural communities.

For urban areas the 25 mbps or higher speed is probably realistic. Chattanooga thru EPB and others has 1 gbps service now and that is what Google is pushing throughout the country. For many rural areas it would be great to get to 25 mbps or higher but just to bet to 10 or higher in their areas may be a necessary starting point. To get from 10 to 25 or higher we are having to move from copper to fiber cabling.

Hopefully within the near future everyone can have the possibility of using 25 mbps or higher. First though we need the definition cleared up so when broadband term is used we all know what is meant