Complete Story


Ajit Pai wants to raise rural broadband speeds from 10Mbps to 25Mbps

The Federal Communications Commission is planning to raise the rural broadband standard from 10Mbps to 25Mbps in a move that would require faster Internet speeds in certain government-subsidized networks.

The FCC's Connect America Fund (CAF) distributes more than $1.5 billion a year to AT&T, CenturyLink, and other carriers to bring broadband to sparsely populated areas. Carriers that use CAF money to build networks must provide speeds of at least 10Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads. The minimum speed requirement was last raised in December 2014.

Today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he's proposing raising that standard from 10Mbps/1Mbps to 25Mbps/3Mbps. "[W]'re recognizing that rural Americans need and deserve high-quality services by increasing the target speeds for subsidized deployments from 10/1 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps," Pai wrote in a blog post that describes agenda items for the FCC's December 12 meeting.

"[T]he program should support high-quality services; rural Americans deserve services that are comparable to those in urban areas," Pai also wrote.

CAF (also known as the "high-cost program") is part of the Universal Service Fund, which is paid for by Americans through fees on their phone bills.

The new 25Mbps/3Mbps standard will apply to future projects but won't necessarily apply to broadband projects that are already receiving funding. For ongoing projects, the FCC will use incentives to try to raise speeds. More money will be offered to carriers that agree to upgrade speeds to 25Mbps/3Mbps, a senior FCC official said in a conference call with reporters.

Click here to get the full story.

Printer-Friendly Version