from the better-latency-than-never dept.
Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard
The FCC under Chairman Ajit Pai is signaling new broadband policy changes that can only be described as friendly to ISPs and hostile to consumers. In a "Notice of Inquiry," a public comment step often taken ahead of rule changes, the commission proposes that both fixed and mobile can be counted as broadband under Section 706 of its rules. That differs from the current standard, developed under Tom Wheeler, that requires timely deployment of both wired and wireless networks in the US.
On top of that, the FCC has suggested that if mobile networks are providing this "broadband," all one needs is 10Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speeds. That's less than half of the 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up speeds currently required to fit the definition of home broadband. At the same time, the Notice of Inquiry proposes to leave home speeds at the current level.
The FCC says the "statutory language" gives it the right to scoop mobile and land transmission into one broadband basket. Section 706, it says, defines advanced telecommunications tech "as high-speed, switched, broadband that enables users to original and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics and video telecommunications ... without regard to any transmission media or technology."
[...] The FCC's Democrat Commissioner Mignon Clyburn doesn't agree with gist of the Notice of Inquiry. "We seek comment on whether to deem an area as 'served' if mobile or fixed service is available," she wrote in a concurring statement. "I am skeptical of this line of inquiry. Consumers who are mobile only often find themselves in such a position, not by choice but because they cannot afford a fixed connection."
[...] The Notice of Inquiry calls for public comments at this link until September 7th, with reply comments due by September 22nd. So far, the commission has done a lousy job of handling comments about net neutrality, with intermittent or no access during an eight-hour period on May 7th, 2017. That was either due to a DDoS attack or, as some security professionals think, just a bad commenting system. Anyway, even if lots of folks express their disapproval, the FCC doesn't really care.
I'm guessing they just don't want to have to provide actual broadband to unserved areas to qualify for special perks and subsidies. Which is precisely why I live in a town rather than fifteen miles away from the nearest one.
Also at: Ars Technica.