Former FCC chairman Ajit Pai has left the building, but not without giving the telecommunications industry a final pat on the back: in his final annual broadband report, he decided that upload speeds of 3 Mbps and 25 Mbps download speeds are still more than good enough for Americans (via Ars Technica).
“We find that the current 25/3 Mbps speed benchmark remains an appropriate measure for assessing whether a fixed service provides advanced telecommunications functionality,” the report reads.
Why? Because the FCC feels that this is as much as required by law: “We conclude that fixed services with speeds of 25/3 Mbps continue to live up to the statutory definition of advanced telecommunications capability; that is, such services are activated users originate from and receive high quality voice, data, graphics and video telecommunications. ̵
I do not know what you consider “high quality”, but I know from experience that my 5 Mbps upload speed, which I pay $ 100 a month, does not let my family “stutter” much in the way of large video uploads or game streaming.
By the way, these 25Mbps / 3Mbps speeds are not even a minimum, because the annual broadband report is not something to be enforced. It’s a benchmark where the FCC decides whether it’s doing its job to close the digital divide – where as many as 1 in 3 US households do not have broadband Internet access at all. Currently, if a single ISP claims, it can provide a single 25 Mbps / 3 Mbps internet connection up anywhere throughout your census block, much less your home, the FCC considers its work done. Oh, and the FCC is not even revising these numbers! It is a kind of “fox that protects the hen house”.
Some of the reporting gaps are being fixed, but the speeds and ridiculous prices that the United States is paying are not.
As for Pai, who tops our list of the 84 biggest technology flaws of the decade, he is now free to find a lucrative job as a telecommunications lobbyist. Former President Donald Trump gave his entire administration explicit permission to do so, killing a five-year ban on officials lobbying their former agencies on their way out the door.