AT&T and Verizon: 10Mbps Is Too Fast For Broadband

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AT&T and Verizon: 10Mbps Is Too Fast For Broadband

The FCC wants to update our definition of broadband internet, but AT&T and Verizon say it's fine as is.

When experts say the internet is essential to our modern society, they aren't kidding; outside of streaming our movies and providing our videogames, even the United Nations considers it a basic human right. For that reason, pushing for a faster and more efficient internet seems natural, yes? According to AT&T and Verizon however, the current definition of fast internet speeds works perfectly well.

In response to an FCC proposal to change the definition of minimum broadband speeds, AT&T and Verizon filed arguments that 4Mbps is an adequate minimum. The FCC had recommended 10Mbps as its minimum. "Given the pace at which the industry is investing in advanced capabilities, there is no present need to redefine 'advanced' capabilities," AT&T wrote. "Consumer behavior strongly reinforces the conclusion that a 10Mbps service exceeds what many Americans need today to enable basic, high-quality transmissions."

Back in 2010, the FCC updated the definition of broadband to 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream, based on data suggesting that 94% used fixed broadband services. But today, the FCC thinks these definitions need to be updated, even to the point that 10Mbps could be too low. "A 25Mbps connection is fast becoming 'table stakes' in 21st century communications," Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a speech last week.

Whether 4Mbps is a serviceable or not, updating the definition is an important factor in determining internet access. For example, 80% of Americans who want broadband with 25 Mbps can only get it with one provider. Simply changing the definition of broadband would raise the minimum speeds cable companies must provide.

According to Comcast, about 47% of residential customers use 50 Mbps internet speeds. For context, Netflix recommends 5Mbps for 720p video and 7Mbps for 1080p.

The debate arrives at an interesting time for the FCC, which is closing comments on its controversial Open Internet policy next week. This in turn has prompted a Net Neutrality Internet Slowdown protest supported by companies like Netflix.

Source: Ars Technica

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4K Video streamed at constant 30Mb last time I tried it on Youtube.

Things are progressing quickly to a place where 4Mb isn't going to be capable of anything outside of email.

So, someone knowledgable please explain to me what actual strain this would put on At&T and Verizon's infrastructure? I remember reading about south Korea's broadband and... well

According to the State of the Internet report from Akamai for Q1 2013, the average Internet speed in South Korea during the quarter was 14.2 Mbit/s, with a peak Internet connection speed of 44.8 Mbit/s.[10]

As of 2013, South Korea has the fastest average internet connection in the world at 21.0 Mbit/s according to the report State of the Internet published by Akamai Technologies,[11] which is over 40% faster than the next fastest country, Japan, which clocked in at a distant second with 12.9 Mbit/s. South Korea's speed is almost six times faster than the world average of 3.8 Mbit/s, and more than twice as fast as the United States at 10 Mbit/s. It is important to note that 100 Mbit/s services are the average standard in urban South Korean homes and the country is rapidly rolling out 1Gbit/s connections or 1,000 Mbit/s, at $20 per month,[12] which is roughly 263 times faster than the world average and 100 times faster than the average speed in the United States.[13]

Link.

Yeah, I get that South Korea is substantially smaller than America. But the US seems to pay more than anyone for internet access that is way behind the times. Other than getting a hell of a lot more money for doing almost nothing, what could be a real infrastructure or technology versus feasibility of upgrading the nation argument about why to keep it at 4 mbps?

you know, other than this here..

ObsidianJones:
So, someone knowledgable please explain to me what actual strain this would put on At&T and Verizon's infrastructure? I remember reading about south Korea's broadband and... well

According to the State of the Internet report from Akamai for Q1 2013, the average Internet speed in South Korea during the quarter was 14.2 Mbit/s, with a peak Internet connection speed of 44.8 Mbit/s.[10]

As of 2013, South Korea has the fastest average internet connection in the world at 21.0 Mbit/s according to the report State of the Internet published by Akamai Technologies,[11] which is over 40% faster than the next fastest country, Japan, which clocked in at a distant second with 12.9 Mbit/s. South Korea's speed is almost six times faster than the world average of 3.8 Mbit/s, and more than twice as fast as the United States at 10 Mbit/s. It is important to note that 100 Mbit/s services are the average standard in urban South Korean homes and the country is rapidly rolling out 1Gbit/s connections or 1,000 Mbit/s, at $20 per month,[12] which is roughly 263 times faster than the world average and 100 times faster than the average speed in the United States.[13]

Link.

Yeah, I get that South Korea is substantially smaller than America. But the US seems to pay more than anyone for internet access that is way behind the times. Other than getting a hell of a lot more money for doing almost nothing, what could be a real infrastructure or technology versus feasibility of upgrading the nation argument about why to keep it at 4 mbps?

you know, other than this here..

Its not that their network can't handle it, its they don't want to have to spend any money ever on upgrading it as it cuts into shareholders returns.

These people will do anything in order not to improve their infrastructure. I guess we should all forget the 1996 Telecommunications Act that pretty much says they have to improve their infrastructure because that's why they received all those tax breaks. Basically, ISP's and cable companies have stolen billions of tax payer dollars since 1996, and I wonder how long we'll have to wait until someone in power points that out.

So consumers want (nay, demand) faster internet, ISPs tell them faster internet isn't necessary...

Sorry, I admit economics isn't my thing, but isn't that scenario the direct opposite of the free market ideology the Republicans keep telling us is the solution to all our problems?

So in other words, "We're not going to pay to give anyone faster than 4gb, they (consumers) can pay for that."

You should see the situation here in Italy. ISPs think ADSL is perfectly fine and 7 Mbps is considered a fast connection. For the "low" price of 30 euro a month...

That about sums it up for me. Is the FCC allowed to twist their arm? Like, they have no choice kind of stuff? Because this shit is damn near intolerable. I pay 20 bucks a month for 3mbs (Which it never reaches), and I'm one of the more fortunate ones.

*laughs*
Yeah, sure.

Slash the minimum legal commit rate by SIXTY PERCENT, in an era where the average throughput requirement only continues to rise. Well, I propose we slash prices by sixty percent.

Kmadden2004:
So consumers want (nay, demand) faster internet, ISPs tell them faster internet isn't necessary...

Sorry, I admit economics isn't my thing, but isn't that scenario the direct opposite of the free market ideology the Republicans keep telling us is the solution to all our problems?

It is, but after watching them for the past 25 years I'm convinced that they are pathological liars that are incapable of saying what they are actually doing/thinking. I have an attention span and memory that can last longer than 5 minutes, so they tend to not like me very much. The funny part is I am fairly conservative, I just can't vote that way because I'm also not stupid or delusional.

Adam Jensen:
These people will do anything in order not to improve their infrastructure. I guess we should all forget the 1996 Telecommunications Act that pretty much says they have to improve their infrastructure because that's why they received all those tax breaks. Basically, ISP's and cable companies have stolen billions of tax payer dollars since 1996, and I wonder how long we'll have to wait until someone in power points that out.

Considering how many tel-com lobbyists and pro-ISP people we currently have deeply entrenched in all branches of the government...

It'll be a long time before that happens.

*Puts on Tin-Foil hat*

What if the FCC is trying to up standard speeds so that when they introduce the "Fast Lane" concept, the "Regular Lane" doesn't actually slow down? Is that actually job competence, or just wanting to strangle the internet at a more leisurely pace?

*Takes of Tin-Foil hat*

Yay! The FCC may actually be trying to do its job for once. High Speed internet in the US works fine in most places where it exists, but it barely exists in most places. AT&T and Verizon's response is literally "But then we'd actually have to spend money upgrading infrastructure!" Notice I omitted the word 'more' because they never cared about the regions in which they have monopolies in the first place.

*stunned* seriously?
I just checked to be sure. The slowest connection I can get with my cable provider is 50Mbit. THE SLOWEST!
On DSL I can go as low as.. brace yourselves.. 10Mbit.
And the fun part is. I'm almost willing to bet that next year around this time but will be higher.
(Just for the record, This is the Netherlands I'm talking about. The weed smoking, cheese loving, tulip farmers.)

I know there are some problems with the size of the US and putting cables every where. but still. Not like these company's don't have any money.

The more I read about your ISP actions, the more convinced I am that your country is a corrupt shithole.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with your legislative branches?

Meanwhile, I'm stuck hoping that a koala doesn't come along and knock over the loose collection of knives, 4x cans and snakes I call a modem while I try and pirate a new episode of Game of Thrones.

LordMithril:

I know there are some problems with the size of the US and putting cables every where. but still. Not like these company's don't have any money.

They want to keep it, is the problem.

But I have to ask, with the sheer audacity of this - whatever this is - how are they still even making money? In Britain if our services are or have become sub-par we switch (and the government are supposedly making it easier to switch energy providers) and more providers are road works are present to replace old telephone wires with Fibre O (though only at the source not the source itself).

This just seems to be taking advantage.

Here in the UK the only time you would expect less than 10Mbps is if you were with a company that gave free internet access. In my area i can chose from four companies that have 40Mbps as a minimum, and up to 150Mbps.

How on earth is America so far behind with this?

Well, considering this statement, the net neutrality SNAFU, the fact Comcast claims mobile internet is a direct competitor [1], the fact every major ISP won't bother investing in infrastructure in smaller towns, but will lobby the state governments to make it illegal for the cities to build their own internet services, and the fact that every big telecom company is trying to eliminate competition via the ways above and through mergers, I'd say that every US citizen should have the right to smack these people upside the head the next time they say something that will only benefit the company. (Sorry for the huge sentence, but that list just shows how much dirty business is going on with these corporations in the past year alone.)

I think it's time these execs and major shareholders figured out that they have enough personal money to buy super cars and yachts big enough to show off a fleet of those cars and eat the cost of upgrades for a few years[2], instead of thinking they're damned royalty from the feudal ages, who demand taxes from thy serfs for the honor of being able to farm and hunt on thy land. It's getting so ridiculous how big companies will spend tons of money protecting their interests and saving money in the long run, but don't pass any of those savings down to the customers (or the hard working employees at the bottom) that might need the services/products offered, yet can only get jobs as fry technicians in today's job market.

When is the FCC gonna get these conglomerates reclassified, so they can beat any idiot coming out the woodwork to say things like this with a big old club with NO inscribed on it?

[1] Yeah, try watching a few episodes of a TV show via 3G/4G without hitting data caps within a day and getting a bill roughly tens times the Comcast bill.
[2] They can still make money. They just need to stop wasting it on so much lobbying *cough* Comcast trying to hold a $120,000 dinner for Tom Wheeler *cough*, extreme bonus for execs and advertising their lies about how great they are.

Adam Jensen:
These people will do anything in order not to improve their infrastructure.

That they're willing to shuck "power users" is proof enough of that.

But yes. The bottom line is they don't want to spend money, damn it!

Hairless Mammoth:

When is the FCC gonna get these conglomerates reclassified, so they can beat any idiot coming out the woodwork to say things like this with a big old club with NO inscribed on it?

At a guess, when it no longer counts as biting the hand that feeds.

Man seriously, I know every country has corruption and evil business execs but holy fuck the US really takes the cake, and then insists the cake was never yours to begin with and will only continue with the discussion once you tick this box confirming that you have never been in possession of cake. I'm not even talking all out world destroying evil like Nestle(I know they're not American) killing babies, or companies that profit off the use of conflict minerals, I'm just talking straight out dicking of their customers. They're so brazen about how much they want you to go fuck yourselves. We have like one guy here like that in Ireland, Michael O'Leary. But everyone in any form of commercial industry in the US is basically a Captain Planet villain. It's fascinating. Again, I know these guys are dicks no matter what country they're in. It just seems that largely in Europe they at least try to hide how much they hate us.

You poor buggers, 60-100Mbps is the "normal" fiber speed over here, I don't even know if you can get anything below 20.

Cable companies suck, the U.S. ones should be charged with anti-competitive practices and the FCC needs to grow about 40 additional pairs of balls and pussy up about 30 additional times.

On top of that though, I wish 'they' would stop defining internet speed in terms of download volume only. I have cable internet (provided through my rental agreement) which has about 40 Mbs download... and an incredibly unstable .2 Mbs upload. Playing any type of game online is a crapshoot as to whether it will work well or not. Thankfully I don't do many business related things like video uploading or some such or I'd just be screwed. ISP's just barely give up even the most basic info about prospective plans when they should be providing all the details possible including up-times, down and up speed, caps, where routing stations are, etc.

That's insane. In what kind of world is 10Mbps enough for anything? I had no idea the state of the american internet services was this bad. I don't even know anyone with speeds less than 30Mbps. Most of my friends and colleagues have around 100Mbps.

Ed130 The Vanguard:
The more I read about your ISP actions, the more convinced I am that your country is a corrupt shithole.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with your legislative branches?

Well, we have something called an "Ogliopoly", in which multiple cable companies agree to not compete against one another in order to overcharge and underprovide for the customers. Which should be illegal, but those companies have dozens of "lobbyists" whose job it is to bribe government officials to look the other way.

A friend in Italy put it best: "We have lobbying in Italy too. We're just more honest about it when we call it bribery"

Im on 10mbps... kind of fine I guess. :/

Like, I can play games comfortably and porn streams fine.

Anyway, is it possible they want to keep the minimum definition at 4 so that in the times when line quality dips, or for consumers who are out in the sticks and only capable of getting around that work, they can still say "Ah, we're still offering you broadband, sir, technically."?

Knife-28:
Meanwhile, I'm stuck hoping that a koala doesn't come along and knock over the loose collection of knives, 4x cans and snakes I call a modem while I try and pirate a new episode of Game of Thrones.

Where about in Aus do you live mate? No-one I know has under 20mb/s and most have far more.

OT: This is why I laugh when fellow Aussies complain about our net, our net speeds are far beyond what I hear most Americans quote. Problem is that out distance from game servers is often the other side of the planet causing higher ping. That's distance issue not net speed.

Wow. Reading this thread, it seems like everyone has completely insane speeds compared to me. I just did a test, and I get about 4.75 Mbps (and oddly enough I have a higher upload speed than download speed). I never noticed many problems to be honest, but finding out about how much faster speeds are in other countries, it hardly seems fair or frankly even ethical that American ISPs are charging this much for speeds this low.

RicoADF:

Knife-28:
Meanwhile, I'm stuck hoping that a koala doesn't come along and knock over the loose collection of knives, 4x cans and snakes I call a modem while I try and pirate a new episode of Game of Thrones.

Where about in Aus do you live mate? No-one I know has under 20mb/s and most have far more.

OT: This is why I laugh when fellow Aussies complain about our net, our net speeds are far beyond what I hear most Americans quote. Problem is that out distance from game servers is often the other side of the planet causing higher ping. That's distance issue not net speed.

Well it depends, if you live in one of the big city's the net's fine, but if you're like me and live a bit south of the middle of nowhere and east of whoop whoop, then the net's a tad bit shitter.

Which I guess is a problem with people in far out places all over the world really.

Unkillable Cat:
Here in the UK the only time you would expect less than 10Mbps is if you were with a company that gave free internet access. In my area i can chose from four companies that have 40Mbps as a minimum, and up to 150Mbps.

How on earth is America so far behind with this?

I live in a pretty rural area of Norfolk, UK and I can just about squeeze 20Mbps through the pipes. I have a friend in town who can get over 100Mbps. Hell, when I was at university 2 years ago I got a 4Mbps connection for free in student halls. FREE! The big ISPs should do this, then internet usage will become ubiquitous and people will be more willing to pay for better packages. It works with phone contracts so why don't they do it for landline connections?

Knife-28:

Well it depends, if you live in one of the big city's the net's fine, but if you're like me and live a bit south of the middle of nowhere and east of whoop whoop, then the net's a tad bit shitter.

Which I guess is a problem with people in far out places all over the world really.

Exactly, people who live in rural areas anywhere on earth has that problem. Atleast we've got NBN rolling out to fix it here, the US doesn't have that benefit (this is assuming Abbot doesn't turn us into the US anymore than he's already trying and can the whole thing like the backwards idiot he is)

Pinkamena:
That's insane. In what kind of world is 10Mbps enough for anything?

It's enough for 1080p video, apparently, so that probably is plenty for most people right now, especially people who live alone. And it's not like this definition of "broadband" is preventing anything higher from being available (Time Warner, our local provider, offers six tiers of service; four of them are between 15 and 50 Mbps, and the other two are clearly aimed at people who used to be content with dial-up), nor would this proposed change force them to lower their prices any (which is the bigger concern, given that every ISP has been constantly raising their rates over the past few years).

I'm afraid to ask how much they carge for those speeds.

LordMithril:
*stunned* seriously?
I just checked to be sure. The slowest connection I can get with my cable provider is 50Mbit. THE SLOWEST!
On DSL I can go as low as.. brace yourselves.. 10Mbit.
And the fun part is. I'm almost willing to bet that next year around this time but will be higher.
(Just for the record, This is the Netherlands I'm talking about. The weed smoking, cheese loving, tulip farmers.)

I know there are some problems with the size of the US and putting cables every where. but still. Not like these company's don't have any money.

It's not even just the size of the country. It's all about willingness to invest in infrastructure over shareholder returns. In the UK there are a lot of people I know who live in semi-rural areas (15 miles from 100 000+ population town) who can't get more than 2Mbps. And they have a monthly cap too. There's no better services around in some places.

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