U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, Michael Bennet (D-CO), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Joe Manchin (D-WV), urged the Biden Administration to update federal standards for high-speed broadband to reflect modern uses and align those standards across the government. In a bipartisan letter to the Biden Administration’s top officials for federal broadband policy, the senators called on federal agencies to significantly update broadband program baseline speed requirements to reflect existing and anticipated uses, from two-way video conferencing to smart grids to artificial intelligence.
The senators also urged the officials to work together to align the definition of what constitutes high-speed broadband across federal agencies to replace what they call a “patchwork” of existing standards. Lawmakers urged officials to upgrade the broadband speed definition to 100 megabits per second for upstream and downstream. They say the standard of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream are inadequate to meet the needs of most households.
In the years ahead, emerging technologies such as 5G, telemedicine, smart grid, health IoT and artificial intelligence “will all require broadband networks capable of delivering much faster speeds, lower latency, and higher reliability than those now codified by various federal agencies,” wrote King and his colleagues. “We must learn from our experience during the pandemic and raise federal standards for new broadband service to require low latency, high reliability, and speeds that meet our expected 21st century needs. We should also insist that new networks supported with federal funds meet this higher standard, with limited exceptions for truly hard-to-reach locations.”
King and his colleagues continued: “For years, we have seen billions in taxpayer dollars subsidize network deployments that are outdated as soon as they are complete, lacking in capacity and failing to replace inadequate broadband infrastructure. We need a new approach. We urge you to work together to establish one consistent, modern baseline definition of high-speed broadband service and underlying infrastructure specifications across the federal government and a coordinated approach to deploy funding efficiently where it is most needed.”
The letters were addressed to: Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Acting Chair of the FCC Jessica Rosenworcel, and Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese.
NTCA, The Rural Broadband Association, supports the concept. “The demands placed upon broadband networks by the pandemic demonstrates that ‘just good enough’ speeds and latency are not good enough and will fall even further short of consumers’ needs in the near future,” said NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield. “Our nation’s federal broadband programs should aim higher and do better to drive investment that will provide the level of symmetrical speed and performance customers will need in the near future and for decades to come.”
The post Senators Urge FCC to Create Unified Federal Broadband Standard appeared first on Inside Towers.