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FCC redefines "broadband" to mean 768Kbps, "fast" to mean "kinda slow"

Nilay Patel
03.19.08
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Quick, how fast is "broadband?" If you're wearing a gray suit and drove a sensible car to work this morning in Washington DC, you probably answered 200Kbps -- a pokey little number that the FCC's been using as a baseline for years now. But even bureaucrats have to get with the times every now and again, and regulators this morning voted to push the government's official broadband threshold to 768Kbps -- we'd say it should really be a full 1Mbps, but why make things simple when you can be the government? Between 768kbps and 1.5Mbps is now classified as "basic broadband," and providers are also required to break down both upload and download speeds in specific increments -- a move which should make it harder for companies like Comcast to throttle certain types of connections. ISPs also have to provide subscriber numbers broken down by census-block level, which should provide graduate students with hours of number-crunching dissertation fun in the future. The goal is to make sure the data regarding broadband adoption in the US is as accurate as possible -- it's time to reclaim the crown, people.

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