For years the FCC has set the bar at 200K bps (as in bits per second). Ten, eleven years ago that was considered really fast considering most of us were transitioning from 56k dial-up modems (remember when we used to call it the "world wide wait"?).
That was then, this is now; and 200k is really not so fast anymore. Outside the United States, it would be considered downright pokey.
This week the FCC agreed to redefine broadband as 786k and up.
Other steps in the right direction included:
- a mapping plan to get a better breakdown of broadband availability across the country.
- Specifically breaking down broadband definitions into five speed tiers, the fastest being 6m bps.
- Pushing ISPs to be more transparent about their upload and download speeds. (What most broadband customers don't realize is they're downloading stuff much faster than they are sending it out.)
I said steps in the right direction, unfortunately they are baby steps.
While our government now says broadband ranges from 786k to 6m, many other countries are offering connections at 25m to 100m. And, for less money!
My question: why do we call it broadband, instead of speedband or fastband?
My other question: Why is Europe and the Pacific Rim always ahead of us on deploying the latest technologies, when we are typically the folks that invent them?
Last updated: Mar 20, 2008
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio