Daines questions FCC’s broadband definition

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) was joined by five Senate colleagues on Friday in a letter calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clarify its arbitrary and inconsistent broadband definitions, which could have a detrimental impact on Montanans.

Daines, joined by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), expressed concern that the FCC’s arbitrary 25 megabits per second (Mbps) down and 3 Mbps up – 25/3 Mbps – benchmark speed fails to reflect what is considered broadband by most Americans.

The letter also warns that using the 25/3 mbps benchmark discourages providers from offering speeds at or exceeding the benchmark and that the definition stands as a contradiction to the Open Internet Order’s definition of broadband. Additionally, the letter questions the use of a different benchmark by the FCC in regards to broadband in rural America.

“It is unclear how applying a different definition of broadband to urban and rural areas is consistent with this clear Congressional directive,” the letter said. “ Nor is it clear how the commission can justify defining broadband by the 25/3 Mbps benchmark in one context (when assessing the market under section 706), but ignoring this definition when it sought to regulate ‘broadband’ Internet access providers in its Open Internet Order — there, essentially including any service above dial-up as ‘broadband.’”

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