New America: Definition of broadband will shape the trajectory of telecommunications innovation
Originally published: September 1, 2009
Last updated: September 1, 2009 - 3:51pm
The New America Foundation filed comments at the Federal Communications Commission saying that determining an appropriate definition of broadband is a critical part of the Commission's development of a National Broadband Plan. An appropriate definition is essential not only for establishing "what is broadband" and "where is it available," but also for shaping the future trajectory of telecommunications innovation in the United States.
1) Given the Commission's aim to ensure "access to broadband capability" for the entire nation, a broadband definition in terms of a baseline for determining universal service or access seems most appropriate, i.e. what minimal speeds and characteristics will be currently required for individuals to access the economic, educational, and societal benefits made possible by the Internet and high-speed access.
2) The baseline or minimum thresholds should reflect actual throughput or performance with some standards for reliability, rather than relying solely on the advertised speeds of providers.
3) Beyond transmission speeds or performance capabilities, the Commission should include a requirement that broadband provides high-speed access to the public Internet.
4) Although defining broadband in the near-term is important, it is also essential that Commission set high goals and reevaluate the definition and performance indicators to ensure the U.S. continues to be a leading innovator and remains competitive with other nations.
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