Many Americans lack access to high-speed Internet

A new Federal Communications Commission report states that around 10 percent of Americans have no access to broadband, translating to around 34 million people without the ability to use high-speed Internet. The FCC defines “broadband” as Internet service that facilitates download speeds of 25 Mbps and upload speeds of 3 Mbps.

This year’s definition is controversial because of its new, higher standards. Last year the FCC classified broadband as Internet that enabled 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads. Critics argue that the FCC will create stricter requirements for Internet providers, who have already released statements saying that the new report on American access to high-speed Internet “lacks credibility.”

The United States Telecom Association, a trade group that represents telecommunications-based organizations in the U.S., states that the FCC is using the report as an excuse to extend its influence on Internet providers. “This annual process has become a cynical exercise, one that… is patently intended to reach a predetermined conclusion that will justify a continuing expansion of the agency’s own regulatory reach,” said US Telecom on Friday.

However, the FCC’s role is not limited to the chastisement of big-business Internet providers. The government will be taking several actions to increase access to high-speed Internet throughout the country, including the reformation of a low-income telephone subsidy program and the allocation of millions of federal dollars to Internet providers’ construction projects.

“Advanced telecommunications capability is not being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion to all Americans,” stated an FCC factsheet.

Article via The Washington Post, 8 January 2016

Photo via country road by Remko Tanis

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