Infrastructure

The Senate's Infrastructure Bill Redefines 'Broadband' To Manufacture a Connectivity Crisis

It is the equivalent of mandating that all new homes come with at least five bathrooms.

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The $1 trillion infrastructure bill that the Senate approved in a bipartisan fashion on Tuesday morning includes a provision to redefine "broadband" internet in a way that could leave many American households with seemingly inadequate online access. What is more, the bill relies on those same dubious new definitions to direct billions of dollars in new government spending.

Tucked inside the 2,700-plus page bill is a new set of definitions for upload and download speeds that federal regulators will use to determine which parts of the country are "underserved" by broadband internet. In turn, those updated definitions will guide the distribution of $42 billion in federal grants that the bill authorizes for "deploying broadband, closing the digital divide, and enhancing economic growth and job creation."

The bill, which cleared the Senate with 69 affirmative votes on Tuesday, classifies a household as "underserved" if it does not have access to a connection with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least 20 megabits per second. As Reason has previously explained, that's a significant change in the government's standard for satisfactory internet speeds: under current rules maintained by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a broadband connection is defined as having speeds of at least 25 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least three megabits per second.

Under the current definition, the FCC estimates that there were about 14.5 million Americans who lacked access to broadband internet at the end of 2019. But that number has been falling rapidly—it decreased by about 20 percent during 2019 alone, according to an FCC update published in January of this year. The so-called "digital divide" is still a problem, but it is an increasingly narrow one. The infrastructure bill will effectively widen it.

The definition of "broadband" has changed several times as technology and consumers' demand for internet services have increased. The current "25/3" standard has existed only since 2015. The first standard, in place from 1996 through 2010, required at least 200 kilobits per second upload and download speeds. From 2010 through 2015, that was upped to 4 megabits per second for downloads and 1 megabit per second for uploads.

What's different about this latest change, however, is that the new standards far exceed the needs of most residential internet users. It's important to remember that the standards for "broadband" are not a ceiling for what providers offer but rather a floor for what the government considers essential for all Americans. Households that want a 100/25 connection (where those are available) are free to pay for higher-end online access.

How much internet speed do you need? An average Zoom call, one of the most upload-heavy common online activities (because the vast majority of online traffic is downloaded), uses a mere 1 megabit per second. As this helpful graphic from the Technology Policy Institute demonstrates, a "100/25" connection is wildly out of sync with what most online services recommend:

When The Wall Street Journal and researchers at Princeton University and the University of Chicago teamed up last year to study the internet use of 53 Journal staffers—people who likely use the internet more heavily than most Americans—they found that users with connections capable of 100 megabit download speeds used, on average, 7.1 megabits per second of their capacity.

In other words, the new federal broadband rule is the equivalent of mandating that all homes have at least five bathrooms. Sure, there are some households that might need that, but it's silly to enforce such a sweeping standard on everyone.

Silly, that is, unless you're in the business of building bathrooms—or providing high-speed internet connections. The proper way to understand the new definition of "broadband" is as a huge government-created bonus for internet service providers who offer cable and fiber optic connections. Those are pretty much the only ways to achieve the hyper-fast download speeds that would qualify as "broadband" under this new definition.

Those providers have faced increasing competition in recent years from mobile networks and satellite internet providers, which can offer comparable speeds at lower costs because they can beam internet to households instead of having to lay physical lines. But redefining "broadband" to only include higher speeds means that some of those services will now appear to be subpar based on government standards, even though nothing about their service has changed.

More importantly, it also means that only some internet providers will be eligible for the massive amount of broadband subsidies that are about to start flowing out of Washington in order to bring those supposedly "underserved" American households up to speed.

Ironically, the change in definition might actually make it harder to close the so-called "digital divide." As Joan Marsh, a vice president at AT&T, pointed out in March when the present debate over broadband definitions was first ramping up, setting poor standards can result in "overbuilding" that prioritizes faster access for places with already-fast connections rather than reaching the hard-to-connect parts of the country. "Accurately defining unserved locations is essential to efficiently targeting subsidy dollars to those areas most in need of connectivity, including sparsely populated areas where there are currently no fixed broadband solutions at all," she wrote.

Sure, AT&T has a major stake in this fight—as a wireless provider of internet service, it is in ongoing competition with the cable and fiber optic providers in the market—but that doesn't make this objection any less relevant. If the government's goal is to get all Americans online access, any connection should be viewed as superior to no connection.

Instead, the new definitions in the infrastructure bill will encourage subsidies to flow towards companies that promise to get already-connected Americans even faster connections—at speeds they aren't demanding and probably won't use—rather than extending access to those who still lack it.

NEXT: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Is a Sham

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  1. The bill, which cleared the Senate with 69 affirmative votes on Tuesday, classifies a household as “underserved” if it does not have access to a connection with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least 20 megabits per second.

    Ok, I’m underserved.

    1. I need some clarification. I don’t actually have a 100/20 connection but I have access to one. Additionally I, at one point, had a 25/3 connection and a 5/1 connection. Does that count as 30/4 or would two active 50/10 connections count as being underserved?

      I won’t hold my breath waiting for the Senate to clarify.

      1. It’s simple. Does an ISP offer 20/3 or better service in your area? You have broadband access in your area.
        Does an ISP offer 100/20 service or better in your area?
        Your area is not underserved.

        Choosing not to sign up for an available service wouldn’t’ make you “underserved” obviously.

        1. Choosing not to sign up for an available service wouldn’t’ make you “underserved” obviously.

          That’s what I assumed but then the byline ‘mandating that all new homes come with at least five bathrooms’ is incorrect. You just have to live in a place where someone will sell you five toilets.

          Still doesn’t exactly address the other point I was making. If I can only buy 75/15 but I can get it from two providers, am I still underserved?

          1. You just have to live in a place where someone will sell you five toilets.

            Actually, more accurately, you have to live someplace where you can have the ability to hook five toilets up to the main. And, analogously, if my septic tank can only handle two bathrooms, am I OK if I install a second tank?

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          2. This gets a bit more technical, but in short, if you have three 25/5 lines, that does not create a 75/15 service. (at least not affordably and reasonably doable for a general end user. There are enterprise options).

            If it did, you could just stack 56k modems until you had gigabit internet.

            1. Read what I wrote. I’ve done the technical. I can guarantee you my 25/3 and 5/1 connections were getting 30 down at the specified time. And I’m not the only one who came of age in a dorm full of 56K modems, T1, bonded T1, and T3 lines moving gigabits of data among themselves and to/from Napster. I understand about enterprise solutions and the bandwidth limits at any given local/backbone node.

              I’m asking about the legal. You say running 3 25/5 lines is cost prohibitive, does the law impose a price limit on the 100/20 ‘underserved’ label?

              1. It specifies “affordable” but doesn’t define affordable within the text of the law. I’d assume that would be something determined by whatever relevant agency.

                I’d be curious about your experience homebrewing a load balancer. What was your setup like if you don’t mind me asking. (not part of any debate, just sounds like a cool project).

                1. I’d be curious about your experience homebrewing a load balancer.

                  What do you mean by homebrewing? For a while at home I used an old Linux box I had sitting around and HAProxy, but you can get a commercial load balancer from Amazon for under $250, probably less off Ebay. Agreed, not everyone can just blow $250 on a load balancer but, again, we’re talking about legislation that doesn’t give two shits about reality and can just (supposedly) continue to legislate the consequences of its legislation out of existence.

                  1. Thinking about it further, you can (and I have) use(d) dd-wrt to effectively convert virtually any off-the-shelf router into a load balancer with bandwidth throttling, prioritization, and QoS. I’m fairly certain most commercial router firmware provides the same or similar operability. Additionally, lots of endpoint software and even OSs allow for bandwidth throttling on the machine directly.

                    I think part of the reason ‘hombrew load balancing’ struck me as a bit odd is because it’s a bit fuzzy where the distinction between ‘homebrew load balancing’ and plain old ‘networking’ lies. When you rely on the cloud or have thousands of nodes in a data center it makes sense. When you have a couple dozen nodes in your own home, less so.

                    1. If the phones you’re referencing is the FCC Lifeline program, it’s actually about 35 years old and switched to cellular phones over 15 years ago.

                      [separate from any debate over the bill]
                      Regarding the load balancers, I didn’t realize the prices had come down enough to put them in the residential/end user price range. I haven’t played around with Open WRT, but I imagine you’d have to specify a second WAN port in software I’m not aware of any off the shelf routers that have this capability. As far as “homebrew vs regular networking” I’d put that as taking a PC, tossing extra NIC cards in it, installing some flavor of Linux on it (including open wrt) and turning it into a router/load balancer.

                    2. I haven’t played around with Open WRT, but I imagine you’d have to specify a second WAN port in software I’m not aware of any off the shelf routers that have this capability.

                      This is my point, this is incorrect or, rather, naive/narrowminded. It takes some sophistication on the part of the admin, but bridging two LANs with two separate WAN connections with home/consumer-grade routers and factory firmware is well within the range of doable. This is pretty definitive of routers (vs. switches). Hell, for what seems like a couple decades, every flavor of OS has come with a ‘Share this internet connection’ option. Again, as you pointed out, you can’t just plug everything in, share all connections and expect to get the maximum bandwidth to everything all the time, but that’s my point.

                      Coming at it from another angle: I’ve heard lots of Wi-Fi routers and even ISPs advertise “Gigabit Wi-Fi”. Only recently have they started including in the legaleze voiceover that you need a Gigabit WAN connection. Even then, what they don’t say, is that the Gigabit speed is for one device at a relatively retarded distance from the router (unless you blanket the house in hotspots… and sacrifice the bandwidth). Moreover, you’ll see home routers advertised as having 6 Gbps or even 12 Gbps transfer speeds. Which is interesting since lots of consumer devices can’t necessarily read/write to the RAM, let alone the hard drive/SSD at those speeds and, even if they can at the hardware level, the user and OS is doing multiple other things that prevent that peak from being reached.

                      About once a month, my kids come to me from (e.g.) the front porch or the garage) asking me to fix the internet because their streaming is so crappy. I tell them to move closer to the router (something you can’t necessarily do in a business environment) and, voila, problem solved. The 100/20 recommendation/goal (and your 25/3 is untennable suggestion) has these terrible “Why can’t I stream 4K movies using the 5GHz band at 50 ft. through two brick walls?” practices and assumptions built in. It wouldn’t matter if you had 10000/2000 WAN connection, you aren’t going to stream 4K through walls over 50 ft. like that.

      2. You have to take the geometric mean and add the amount on Line 13c.

    2. It only takes about 30 megabits to comfortably stream 4K video content.

    3. This brings to mind Officer Krupke. You may be depraved on accounta you are deprived of 100 mb.
      https://youtu.be/L514Zv8Q4_4?t=106

  2. This is what Bipartisanship gets you.

  3. The ironic thing is the broadband companies will now focus on the exurb areas that already have reasonable infrastructure to bring them up to the new standard and claim great success in increasing broadband access, while the rural areas that didn’t even meet the old standard will still get nothing

    1. Yes, but good intentions….

    2. that didn’t even meet the old standard will still get nothing

      If my experience with AT&T is any indication, less than nothing. They won’t run or even maintain the copper wire when Verizon can beam the connection to the same location at a lower price.

      1. Whoops. This was meant in addition to my question(s) above.

  4. Ah, I see Spectrum has lobbied to have its standard (100/20) internet service labeled “broadband” while competing Frontier (selling a standard 50/50 package) labeled as substandard. Congratulations Spectrum!

    1. Of course, even though Frontier’s 50/50 solution better addresses the whole remote learning/teleworking issue.

      1. Just close down the schools and refund all the property taxes, and everyone can just buy their own high speed internet and high end PC.

        1. What are you, some kind of libertarian or something? Either way, you’re wrong. Mandate higher property taxes to keep funding teacher pensions while they work from home 3/4 of the year *and* build out more public internet infrastructure!

    2. That’s the thing. The implication is that either you have access to “broadband” or you’ve got problems. There’s little ink spilled on “…and by that definition, many people don’t really need broadband.” Well, except this article.

      My reaction is “if that’s the definition of broadband we’re using, then so what? It’s not a problem if people don’t have access to 100/25.”

  5. 1. The bill does not eliminate the 20/3 standard
    2. 3Mbs is not adequate in today’s world.

    quote:
    SEC. 60102. GRANTS FOR BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT.
    (a) DEFINITIONS.—
    (1) AREAS, LOCATIONS, AND INSTITUTIONS LACKING BROADBAND ACCESS.—In this section:
    (A) UNSERVED LOCATION.—The term ‘‘unserved location’’ means a broadband-service able location, as determined in accordance with the broadband DATA maps, that—
    (i) has no access to broadband service;
    or
    (ii) lacks access to reliable broadband
    service offered with—
    (I) a speed of not less than—
    (aa) 25 megabits per second for downloads; and
    (bb) 3 megabits per second for uploads;

    The bill recognizes a new category “underserved” which has “broadband” under the above, but less than 100/20 and (provided nothing has changed in the bill) aims for projects to reach that bar where appropriate and feasible.

    Regarding the adequacy of 3 Mbs:
    Let’s assume that you miraculously have a ISP that reliably provides the advertised speeds. Let’s say that you’ve got two kids in zoom classes, and one parent working from home. Network saturated.

    And that’s only SD video. If you have anything that might require higher quality video (like say a presentation where people might need to read text) you might need up to 3.8Mbs per stream.

    I’d challenge anyone who thinks this is an unnecessary change to place a bandwidth limit on their WAN and see if you can effectively telework (or teleschool) for a week.

    1. Get off your ass and go to the office.

      1. Then he can’t sit round naked and jack it during Zoom meetings. Who does he think he is, Jeffrey Toobin?

      2. I am in person at an office, but not everyone has that option. If your kid is remote (whole other issue on whether they should be, but many areas are still planning on remote or hybrid, so that’s the current reality) your options may be telework or no work.

        1. If your kid is remote (whole other issue on whether they should be, but many areas are still planning on remote or hybrid, so that’s the current reality) your options may be telework or no work.

          And, if so, the libertarian/moral option is to eradicate the mandate, not raise the burden on everyone else with a second idiotic mandate to fix the first.

      3. Look, the rural areas have satellite internet and it is awful and overpriced with low data limits and many people do work from a home office and a lot of retired people also need internet. Our country is way behind in infrastructure for broadband. I am a conservative myself but I support this part the bill. I am only 10 miles outside city limits and my Internet service was so bad I canceled the satellite Internet service and use my phone as a hot spot. Can’t even get DSL.

        1. I am a conservative myself but I support this part the bill.

          “Expand the government so it can distort the market in order to give me more free shit that I nobody *needed* two decades ago.” is not a conservative position.

          Considering that it appears that you willfully lie to yourself about being a conservative, one might wonder if anything you wrote is true.

        2. And soon everyone will be able to use their 5G phone for a hot spot. This “problem” will solve itself in 10 years, maybe 5.

      4. Get off your ass and go to the office.

        This is actually a decent point. The part of his bandwidth problem that he insist be accommodated is actually the part that upping bandwidth speeds accommodates least. I routinely work while on vacation and frequently use my phone as a hotspot. From the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone to the Florida keys, pretty much the only places I haven’t been able to download documents and send IMs/emails are places that are, presumably, already exempt from the 25/3 mandate to begin with or places 30 mi. off shore that never will be covered by it.

        Can’t Zoom/Facetime from Angel’s Landing in Utah? No shit! Can’t hold a Zoom meeting because you’re moving? You should’ve taken a day off for that shit whether it’s because of bandwidth, managing moving logistics, or both. “I need to have a face to face meeting but can’t/don’t want to be face to face! Why won’t the government mandate a solution to my problem (or the one they created)?”

    2. Regarding the adequacy of 3 Mbs:
      Let’s assume that you miraculously have a ISP that reliably provides the advertised speeds. Let’s say that you’ve got two kids in zoom classes, and one parent working from home. Network saturated.

      You’re also assuming that the kids *must* learn remotely and that a family long sustained by 25/3 contains a parent that not only can, but *must* work from home. Morover, it entirely ignores that, in all likelihood, between 1 and all 4 members of the family are carrying a 4G device with 5-10 GB of capacity on their hip at all times. An auto mechanic and a hairstylist with two kids shouldn’t require 25/3 to do their jobs and get their kids through school.

      1. The bill doesn’t say every home must have such service, but looks at having such service available if it’s needed. Obviously every household is going to determine their requirements on their own.

        Right now, many people are still telework whether they want to be or not. Many schools are still remote (not saying they should be, just that it’s the reality) and in those cases, a parent would need to be home as well.

        As for cell phones, if you live in an area with reliable LTE service, that could be an option, but I’d guess that there’s significant overlap between areas without good LTE service and areas where adequate broadband isn’t offered.

        I would not the “reliable” part there. I’ve had to telework mid move before and while the LTE hotspot worked, it was touch and go at times.

        1. The bill doesn’t say every home must have such service, but looks at having such service available if it’s needed.

          Are you trying to say that there are no remote communities composed entirely of laborers?

          1. More critically, and it’s my fault for pussying around, not only are there no remote communities composed entirely of laborers but that not serving such remote communities 25/3 constitutes some sort of oppression or denial of rights on the part of the taxpayers that the government has some obligation to rectify?

            If 25/3 (or less) is untennable how do those people live there?

            1. I’m sure there are some idiots calling it “oppression”, but I’m not one of them.

              As far as how people live there, the same way they live in any other place without adequate services: without adequate services.

              Yes, there will be some places that will never (in the near term) have certain services. There are remote Alaskan villages that don’t have functional water/sewer service. However, we don’t set national goals based on remote Alaskan villages.

              There’s two arguments I can see here:

              1. Should the government have a role in trying to get adequate internet service to public? Certainly debatable in terms of principles (small government, free market, minimal regulation, etc.) vs outcomes (GDP, international competitiveness, access to opportunity to better oneself, etc.) There’s a very legitimate augment on this point where both sides can reasonably disagree.

              2. What is adequate internet service? I can see the argument that 100 mbs down is probably more than almost anyone would need to be fully productive, but 20/3 I’d argue is pretty marginal at best and will hamper performance for many people working or learning from home. You could quibble over the exact place to draw the line (the Frontier 50/50 plans, for example, would be very competitive with a 100/20 service for most people), but it’s in the ballpark at least. We aren’t talking about coast to coast gigabit fiber to the door or anything.

              1. It’s almost like, between points of contention and open questions, there is no one right answer. Like we shouldn’t be striving to arrive at one right answer because there is no one right answer and let the inherent forces at work arrive at the one or more right answers.

                Nobody’s talking about coast-to-coast gigabit fiber door-to-door or anything but a decade or two ago, a $15/hr. minimum wage and the government handing out free phones would’ve sounded absurd.

          2. I’d never rule out an edge/exception case, but I also wouldn’t set policy on those edge cases.

            Most communities have mix of different work types (plus students at different grade levels). Even if you have a community of all childless laborers, you may have someone of them wishing to take online classes. If you’ve got a proctored online assessment, you may very well need proper broadband to complete it.

      2. Reading a book doesn’t take even 1 Mbps. And that’s down to 0 if it’s on paper.

  6. By far the worst part of the bill. We’ve already given billions that the telcos absconded with. Not to mention, living anywhere has its tradeoffs. If you’re going to live in the middle of nowhere, lack of fiber internet or whatever is just part of the deal. This is especially terrible considering starlink and everything else that is making connecting even easier in rural America for cheaper.

    Should never have been included.

    1. If you’re going to live in the middle of nowhere, lack of fiber internet or whatever is just part of the deal.

      Some people even seek out those locations explicitly for that reason.

  7. 25mbps is broadband? Like 10 years ago. Get with the program, bunch of fossils.

  8. That picture must be of a Progressive — her laptop is about ready to slide off the edge, and her laughter will be just the shaking it needs.

    1. She’s not even looking at the screen. She’s laughing at something just off screen right.

      1. She’s also got a sweet lake house, and doesn’t need government assistance.

  9. > When The Wall Street Journal and researchers at Princeton University and the University of Chicago teamed up last year to study the internet use of 53 Journal staffers—people who likely use the internet more heavily than most Americans—they found that users with connections capable of 100 megabit download speeds used, on average, 7.1 megabits per second of their capacity.

    This is a poor understanding of how network bandwidth works.

    I can’t say, well I use 100 Mb/s during the day and 0 Mb/s at night so I “on average” use 50 Mb/s and should only pay for 50 Mb/s service.

    I occasionally upload very large files (mostly Docker images). Faster upload speeds save *time* by not having to wait for this to finish.

    It’s not about always uploading lots of data, it’s about having the *option* to upload data quickly whenever I feel like it.

    The time that I’m not maxing out my connections isn’t wasted bandwidth or wasted money or whatever. The time I’m not maxing out my connection is *irrelevant*.

    What matters is the time that I’m using more bandwidth than the next-best service tier provides, and how much I care about what I do during that time not being slower.

    1. This is a poor understanding of how network bandwidth works.

      I can’t say, well I use 100 Mb/s during the day and 0 Mb/s at night so I “on average” use 50 Mb/s and should only pay for 50 Mb/s service.

      It would seem to be a poor understanding all the way around. First, if your Docker uploads are limited by the 20 Mbps upload limit, a 50/50 up/down service would seem to be a better solution. Second, while I can’t read the article behind the paywall, your assumption of their analysis seems obtuse. They could just as easily and, to me seemingly more likely, said “Three employees hit the 100 Mbps download limit in a given day/week/month, the other 50 didn’t exceed 5 Mbps.” (and this says little-to-nothing about the value of the content they were downloading). Third, you say the time not maxing out the connection is irrelevant and then say what matters is how much you care about what you’re doing during the time it’s not slower. Is it irrelevant or dependent on how much you care? I’d posit that it’s neither or both and you’re creating a false dichotomy. But then, I grew up in a generation where you started compiling the kernel or your Napster download in the morning, went to class, then to work, and came home later to a compiled kernel or downloaded song. Uploading/downloading has, for quite some time, been a relatiely fully automated process, if your employees are sitting around waiting for downloads to finish, you’ve got problems beyond your bandwidth limits.

      1. > First, if your Docker uploads are limited by the 20 Mbps upload limit, a 50/50 up/down service would seem to be a better solution.

        I never said otherwise? My point is that paying for *bandwidth* is not the same as paying for *amount transferred*, and that the 3Mbps in the existing definition would be rather annoying for me to be stuck with.

        > Second, while I can’t read the article behind the paywall, your assumption of their analysis seems obtuse.

        No, I did in fact find a way to read it: https://archive.is/sUe57

        > Third, you say the time not maxing out the connection is irrelevant and then say what matters is how much you care about what you’re doing during the time it’s not slower. Is it irrelevant or dependent on how much you care? I’d posit that it’s neither or both and you’re creating a false dichotomy.

        More precisely, I’m saying that marginal utility is localized to where it behaves differently than the next best option. Which since you’re paying for a flow rather than a stock, would be those times that the flow exceeds what’s available on that next best option.

        1. No, I did in fact find a way to read it: https://archive.is/sUe57

          And?

          Peter’s median usage over 35 viewing minutes was 6.9 Mbps, 5% of the capacity he pays for. For the portion when all seven of his streams were going at once, he averaged 8.1 Mbps.
          At one point, for one second, Peter reached 65% of his capacity. Did his video launch faster or play more smoothly? Not really. The researchers said that to the extent there were differences in video quality such as picture resolution or the time it took to launch a show, they were marginal.
          “For many people they are not going to see huge differences between 50 Mbps, 100 Mbps and a gigabit per second,” said Nick Feamster, a University of Chicago network-performance expert and part of the research team on the Journal project. Some 61% of U.S. households had speeds of 100 Mbps or higher as of December 2018, according to research firm Kagan.
          We found similar results across our 34 testers who ran five, six or seven streams at once. The eight users with speeds 100 Mbps or higher who had seven streams going used only about 7.1 Mbps of capacity, on average.

          So, it wasn’t as you say, where for 95% of seconds, users didn’t use any bandwidth and for the other 5% they were using all 100. It’s when they’re streaming seven channels at once, they average 5% of capacity and, for occasional seconds, they hit 65% of capacity or more.

  10. Stop me if you’ve heard this argument before:

    Why stop at mandating 100/20 as the minimum living wage bandwidth? Why not 500/100? Or 50000/10000? Or 500000/100000?

    1. Why isn’t it unlimited?

      1. Did you know that there are people out there who’ve never done a Google search? The market has failed these people and it’s up to the government to make sure their basic human needs are being met to the utmost degree!

        1. me think mad.casual will club his boyfriend and drag him back to his cave – fire up pornhub – it stalls and pixels – boyfriend wakes up and clobbers Mad with brontosaurus bone.

    2. Yeah, gigabit ethernet or go home.

  11. My speed dropped to 24.9 megabits a second. Where’s my attorney?

    1. The school mandated that I and my kids have to stay home. He had the foresight to make my landlord foregive my rent, why didn’t he have the foresight to make my ISP raise my bandwidth?

  12. Oh look; MORE National Socialism (def; Nazism)..

  13. The Spice Girls were a broad band.

  14. Hey, guys, if you want to argue about what counts as high-speed connection, could you just call it a high-speed connection?

    “Broadband” is in contrast to “baseband”, and if you can’t define the latter correctly, you have no business using the former.

  15. What about those underserved homes that only have a 55 inch flat screen TV? Can they at least get a tax credit?

    What about SUVs for All? Everyone deserves safe, comfortable transportation.

  16. The article is spot on. I’ve been using a 6-7MBps connection for years and have never encountered a situation where it was inadequate. Any of the problems I’ve encountered with delivery of content have always network bottlenecks or outages unrelated to my download/upload speeds.
    And in the unlikely event you really need 100 MBps (someone please provide an example) recent performance tests on Starlink, also alluded to in the article, show that you can get that speed even if you’re in the middle of no where.
    Isn’t it wonderful that the gubment is fixing a problem that doesn’t exist. With our money going to the the likes of AT&T, who I guess need it more than we do.

  17. By these new definitions, I have never had broadband access. The standard should not be how many people are ‘under served’ but rather how many people are served at all. We certainly do not determine poverty by the number of people who are not millionaires or hunger by the number of people who did not eat caviar for dinner. I live in a rural area, currently have no access to any hard connected internet at all and rely on microwave. I think I am more underserved than someone in Manhattan who can only download three movies at once while conducting a Zoom call as his kids game online in three different platforms. But you know what? It is not the responsibility of some taxpayer in Kansas to pay for my upgrade.

    1. The standard should not be how many people are ‘under served’ but rather how many people are served at all.

      Slight disagreement, sorta, the definition of ‘underserved’ should be people who want a connection but can’t get one at any speed on any network. People who shouldn’t be considered underserved because they aren’t getting served something they don’t want.

  18. Dish internet will be outlawed?
    “DISH Network offers internet speeds for every kind of consumer with speeds from 5 Mbps all the way up to 40 Mbps”

  19. Well, the article and commenters (except for one) can play dumb if they want, but this money is going to someone for something. Do you really buy that the purpose of this is to help bring broadband to America? Really? What have they shown themselves to be doing in the last couple years particularly? The mish mash of infrastructure and wide array of ways people get the internet is not very amenable to the kind of control they want, and the billionaire tech boys have got BIG ideas about how everything including cars and your brain ought to be run in the future. To steal a phrasing “If they build it, they will control it.” Think government school, or public health.

    Stop debating these issues on their terms, stop granting them the premise, the issue is not the issue.

  20. “What’s different about this latest change, however, is that the new standards far exceed the needs of most residential internet users. It’s important to remember that the standards for “broadband” are not a ceiling for what providers offer but rather a floor for what the government considers essential for all Americans.”
    Exactly. Only with our last move did we actually get what this bogus standard insists is standard. It’s ridiculous. Most folks don’t need that kind of bandwidth. My cynical side suggests this is simply a way to manufacture need in order to promulgate a bigger government “solution.”

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