Your internet isn’t getting any faster, but government might soon call it ‘high-speed’ anyway – Chicago Tribune

Is the government doing a good enough job getting internet access to the people?

Until recently, the government’s own assessment was no — things could be better for many Americans fed up with slow service, high prices or a lack of competition. But a looming change in the way officials define internet service may soon prompt the Federal Communications Commission to change its mind and say that, in fact, it looks like consumers are doing just fine, thank you very much.

The heart of the matter has to do with the minimum benchmark for internet service, the subject of much political debate in recent years. Until 2015, the definition of broadband had long been left at 4 Mbps. Those download speeds might have been good enough for most Web applications in the early 2000s. But the rise of data-hogging TV and music services, as well as the economy’s broader shift to an internet-first footing, meant that the 4 Mbps target didn’t quite cut it anymore, the FCC said in 2015.

That year, the agency revised its minimum definition of broadband to be any service that offered at least 25 Mbps downloads and 3 Mbps uploads. By this definition, the FCC said, 55 million Americans lacked high-speed internet. Almost overnight, the FCC essentially created a big mission for itself to solve, using all of the policy tools and money at its disposal.


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