Broadband: Defined At Last!

July 2nd, 2009 by · 2 Comments

The RUS and NTIA have kindly defined broadband for us, what would we ever do without the US government to define a buzzword for us more than a decade later?  Anyhow, if you want to apply for stimulus money, the broadband you need to be spreading to the underserved is described as: (drum roll please)

Broadband means providing two-way data transmission with advertised speeds of at least 768 kilobits per second (kbps) downstream and at least 200 kbps upstream to end users, or providing sufficient capacity in a middle mile project to support the provision of broadband service to end users.

I guess they weren't listening to Dave Rusin, eh? Basically if it isn't dial-up, it must be broadband.  I'm particularly fond of the phrase 'advertised speeds' in that definition - implying that you don't actually need to ever reach them to be providing broadband, all you have to do is promise to try.

I'm cynical, but not shocked or even mildly surprised - and I'll bet Dave isn't either, he was just getting his outrage warmed up.  The whole point of a stimulus is to stimulate.  And to stimulate the economy, they want to give out money.  Calling it a national broadband plan is just the fancy wrapping paper covering the hogs' new feeding trough.


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Categories: Government Regulations

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2 Comments So Far


  • Ben Hilborn says:

    There needs to be separate broadband definitions for residential and commercial. Not many companies in America can be competitive with only 768k of bandwidth shared by all their applications, customers, and employees. Thousands of businesses in Tulsa, OK have 40mb-100mb capability on their broadband circcuits.

  • Quite frankly I am at a loss for words at this classification, and beyond disappointed. The government had an opportunity to prime us for leadership in the next decade of bandwidth by setting the bar really high (Dave’s 10Mb/s, for example), but instead they set the bar so low that it boggles the mind.

    768kb is a joke – you can barely stream a YouTube video on normal quality at that speed – and so is 200kb upload, especially with the rate at which VoIP is growing. One VoIP stream uses ~80kb alone!

    Sure, if you have no other alternatives, you’ll accept 768k, and be able to do email and web browsing. But will you be able to do much more than that? No, especially considering the widespread use of video on the web. Just look at the new HTML5 spec with built-in video, and it’s clear that the Internet is accelerating rapidly towards a bandwidth-intensive future that 768k cannot hope to support.

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