Discuss: New Definition of Broadband Speed

Hewlett-packard / Hp pavilion g6 notebook p...
January 29, 2015 at 17:01:21
Specs: Windows 7, 1.4 GHz / 5610 MB
Hi all,

This week's poll question is about news that the FCC has changed the definition of broadband to mean download speeds of 25Mbps or greater as opposed to 4Mbps or greater. Discuss here if you think this change makes sense, and, if you like, the poll results themselves.


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January 29, 2015 at 23:36:27
Doesn't apply in Europe, FCC has no jurisdiction here (thank goodness).

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January 30, 2015 at 05:42:15
So my 5Mbps DSL is no longer broadband? What am I gonna do??


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January 30, 2015 at 07:34:32
I have a 7 Mbps cable connection and it's more than adequate. I don't know what they hope to accomplish by changing the definition of broadband, but you can bet it has to do with money. I guess they'll give us narrowbanders a reduced rate now, like years ago when dialup was $5 a month.

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January 30, 2015 at 07:48:25
No... If you stay on narrow band... they'll charge you more... You'll be taking longer to download all that unwanted junk advertising etc. amongst other stuff; and thus tying up their resources while you do it...

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January 30, 2015 at 08:25:55
Throughout the world there are tower blocks, staffed by bunches of clerks with absolutely nothing useful to do. Their departmental name is "What is perfectly OK that we can mess with next". They cover all aspects of life, not just computers.

I do have a suggested solution though. Cut their communications from the outside world and provide the best internal communication technology you can find. They can then chatter amongst themselves and still save everyone a stack of money.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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January 30, 2015 at 11:20:29
Hmmmm fibre optics hmmmmm

Changing the cut off level, will not change anyone's current agreements with their ISP. Best of my knowledge there are a few ways to connect:

Telephone lines or POTS, with dedicated lines is some cases. Then we have cable lines, cell towers, and satellite. To wit, it is the POTS lines, the 4 wire telephone ADSL lines which are most affected by this change. Here in vast Kanuckistan, the limit on telephone wire is 4mg, however, using compression techniques they can bump this to 5mg and even 10mg, but not 25mg. I haven't seen 25mg down off a phone line. So Ma Bell has been laying a lot of cable, because speed wise they cannot compete with a thick solid copper cable, or fibre optics. In big cities like Toronto, it is cost effective for Ma Bell to lay down the fibre optics, but much of Canada is deemed NOT cost effective, particularly rural areas. So to compete in these areas, Bell is laying copper cable lines or putting up cell towers to compete with Rogers all Cable line network, which over all is yielding superior speeds. Ultimately, if this were effective in Kanuckistan, which it isn't, it "may" speed up Ma Bells cable line laying/tower installs. It may force companies which cannot offer 25mg service via POTS, to be discounted to offer value. So any telecom company who cannot afford to lay their copper lines or cannot rent/lease copper lines will be under more pressure to do so. By enlarge, if you have Cable, fibre or other newer technology such as satellite, what determines your download speed is how much you pay them, which determines how large a block of wood they put under the gas pedal in that price bracket through bandwidth throttling. You pay top dollar, the block of wood is removed, Vaaaavoooooom! They may need to send you the better router/highspeed modem. Did it say if they measured a constant speed of 25mgs or just capable of 25mgs or peaks of 25mgs?

To err is human but to really screw things up, you need a computer!

message edited by HopperRox

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January 30, 2015 at 11:53:53
I'm perfectly happy with my basic high-speed "narrowband" 6mbps package from Frontier for $29.95/mo (includes $5 discount for autopay).

I had the same package with AT&T before they left CT and I don't need an expensive package.

I live alone and the $29.95 streams Netflix just fine on the weekends. And I have free wifi at college when I'm on campus during the day to get my work done.

I think gamers are the only ones that need super fast internet, everyone else could get by with the basic. It's amazing how much money Americans blow every month on "electronic entertainment". Between fancy cable, internet, and cell phone packages, etc. And I'm not even poor. I'm just satisfied.


message edited by sdfox 7

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January 30, 2015 at 14:10:20
In the UK many pay for a service promising much higher Mbps than actually delivered... There have been steps taken (to some degree) to force isp companies to clearly indicate/advise users what is possible at their location; and stop seling service levels they can't deliver.

Sadly BT holds almost a total monopoly over the laying of fibre, and also although promising "full" covrrage in the UK, many rural areas are not so well served... by copper let alone by fibre.

I am amazed by the dubious practices, fudges, and assorted tariffs around in the USA (and presumably Canada), both for broadband and mobile/cell phone use. I feel pholks there are generally being ripped off, much more so than in the UK (at least).

Many of us, like sdfox7 and others, are perfectly OK with a more or less genuine, delivered, lower rate. I'm on a SKY non-fibre cct. and the best it gives me is just under 7Mbps. I'm too far from the exchange to get faster...; and have no need of it... Can see no real benefit from paying for fibre level service. What I have is adequate for HD downloads, so why pay more!

message edited by trvlr

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January 31, 2015 at 15:15:06
I have a rare Verizon Wireless unlimited data plan that I use for internet where I live. I get 40 to up to 60 MBPS down that I am more than satisfied with for $100 a month. The speed is nice, however, my whole school was able to run off of 15 mbps for 3 years in a row before they upgraded. I definitely feel like the old definition needed to be changed, but 25 may be a bit high for what is "needed." However, some have referred to it as (and I agree with it) as "future-proofing" since another change probably won't come for several years.

Even in a book of lies, sometimes you find truth.

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February 1, 2015 at 10:25:54
The responses in this thread do not concur with the votes. All but one response here are satisfied using something much slower than 25mbps. I also have a tier much less than 25mbps and am able to do everything I need to do. We watch Netflix without any hiccups, for instance.

Makes me think the average user is indoctrinated into thinking they always need more of everything and are willing to pay for it.

All the responders in this thread are regular helpers here so I assume may be more enlightened than some of the voters.

My pessimism makes me think this will end up costing us more in the long run. #4 above by trvlr may come to pass.

As you know, the download speed is dependent on many factors. You may rarely attain promised speeds.

I also don't much care if it takes additional time to create a backup on one of my USB 2.0 external drives. Also burn DVDR files at slower than max. speeds.

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February 1, 2015 at 11:51:59

The average user is indoctrinated into thinking they need more because the co's have convinced them of that. It's great to have internet, but at the end of the day, what do you have to show for it? The benefits are generally intangible.

For surfing the web, writing emails, and doing anything else that is remotely related to getting serious work done, a $75-$100/mo internet plan is not required. I have a very good job, but I don't see why internet should ever cost more than $50/mo. Just like I would never pay $1,000 for a hamburger. A fool and his money are soon parted.

Whether or not you agree with the ACA, the fact of the matter is that Obamacare got passed because the industry was making hand over fist on medical costs and it caught the attention of the government. The same is happening with the Internet and many companies are using markets to experimenting with low cost or free services. The higher the cost goes the more competition that will crop up by someone that can offer it for less. Like Obamacare, maybe someday the US government will subsidize Americans' internet access.


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February 1, 2015 at 13:47:12
Once again, this is just all politics. The 3 Obama-appointed Democrat members of the Five FCC Commissioners (Tom Wheeler (Chairman), Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn) voted for the redefinition while the remaining 2 GOP-appointed Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly voted against it. This contentious vote will be used to try to settle the long FCC Net Neutrality saga on February 26. 2015. With the GOP in full control of the U.S. Congress I doubt it will pass.

In retrospective, the FCC sudden redefinition of what speed constitutes broadband stemmed from Obama pushing FCC Chairman last November to regulate the Internet like a utility. Read the two articles below





message edited by XpUser

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February 1, 2015 at 14:42:33
Sounds a little as though the USA needs something like Ofcom in the UK; who regulate phone and internet services to a reasonable degree. At least Ofcom attempts to ensure decent rates (costs), reasonably clear service agreements, and some protection from being ripped off by the phone and isp companies... Ofcom isn't perfect by a long shot; but from the two articles liked in XpUser's post it does appear to be someway ahead of the mess in USA (not sure about current Canadian scene, not living there at present).

I generally abhor the Thatcher induced privatisation of what are generally considered to be "essential services" these days - phone service, gas, electricity, "water", rail and bus transport. Apart from the phone service, the others have been an unmitigated disaster for the end users; and a bonanza for the shareholders (and the foreign owners of the service companies...).The only one that appears to have made some improvements in service, benefited the general public (to some degree at least) is the phone privatisation. Although as the old Post Office telephone company was dumped (privatised) before it could really get into the act re' modern technology etc., quite possible the improvements (and there have been some) in phone services in UK might have happened anyway - without privatisation.

Sadly BT has a monopoly on infrastructure overall; and they like it that way... Virgin cable and Sky - the two main players in competition with BT don't really offer any serious competition; their respective rates are closely allied to those of BT... So the end user has limited choice. What exists in the USA is seemingly worse at present? It's pretty well a free for all scene; rip off the end users, dubious contractual setups; restricted practices (end users cannot easily unlock their phones or use oversea kit... - unless they are geek inclined); and don't get into texting - if you want to send to/receive from overseas. All to ensure the share holders (GOP supporters...?) make a huge profit...

A bit like the water regulations in Vegas are; where on cannot use one's own water resource without paying an humungous tax to to whomever... A deal from way back when in the days of yore...?

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February 1, 2015 at 14:51:52
Also, THIS FCC page dated Thu, 2014-10-30 listed three speeds in the Household Broadband Guide as follows:

Basic Service = 1 to 2 Mbps
Medium Service = 6 to 15 Mbps
Advanced Service = More than 15 Mbps

All of a sudden they raised the basic service to 25Mbps. Come on folks!


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February 2, 2015 at 09:03:16
My service falls between Basic & Medium. Would it be Basic Plus or Medium Lite?

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February 2, 2015 at 10:17:51
No, gamers do not need "superfast" internet. I'm an avid gamer and was gaming online back in the dialup days. Gamers may think they need higher bandwidth because other gamers have told them they do. LOL There's just nothing like the blind leading the blind! You can game effectively on a 1.5 Mbps package. At least, I've yet to see a game that wouldn't play well on that. I just wouldn't recommend sharing that internet connection with someone else doing something online that's bandwidth intensive (ie: streaming, downloading).

or other newer technology such as satellite

Satellite is not new. My buddy was pulling files down via satellite back in the mid 90's when the dishes were 12' (feet) diameter. Satellite is traditionally a lot slower because while your download comes from the satellite, your "up" traffic is through a phone line. (ie: a dialup connection) Now this may have changed since the last time I looked at satellite as a real solution (I was living on an acreage 30 miles from the nearest city and there was no wireless ISP's at the time).

In the UK many pay for a service promising much higher Mbps than actually delivered...

It has ever been thus. I've yet to hear of an ISP that doesn't oversubscribe it's segments in the name of making more $$$. I doubt you ever will. You can increase bandwidth all you want, but if the segments are still oversubscribed (ie: more users per segment than the bandwidth can support) then it's still not going to be what it's advertised to be during peak periods of usage.

Like you, I'm happy with the service I have. Presently I'm getting 3.5 Mbps. It serves all my downloading ,surfing, streaming (ie: Netflix) and gaming needs. Paying more for a whole lot of what I don't need doesn't make any sense. But then, I've never felt it necessary to have better than everybody else. Would I pay more for more bandwidth if it were available it my area (it's not and never likely to be since I'm in rather small town in a rural area)? Heck no! I don't need it and wouldn't use it.

As to the definition of what's broadband.........I couldn't care less what some politician thinks. I know what it is. It's pretty much anything that's not dialup..............LOL

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***

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February 2, 2015 at 11:13:15
Curt R #16
"I couldn't care less what some politician thinks"

I refer this to my #5 above

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

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February 3, 2015 at 21:52:37
Well the poll shows a 2 to 1 edge for posters here thinking 25mbps is evidently the new accepted standard for broadband. I find these results disheartening.

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February 14, 2015 at 11:49:14
Anyone can vote on the poll without being a registered user, or being logged in, so the results aren't necessary reliable.


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