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68% of US Broadband Connections Aren't Broadband

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the time-to-measure-up dept.

The Internet 611

An anonymous reader writes "The FCC has published a new 87-page report titled 'Internet Access Services: Status as of December 31, 2009 (PDF).' The report explains that 68 percent of connections in the US advertised as 'broadband' can't really be considered as such because they fall below the agency's most recent minimum requirement: 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream. In other words, more than two-thirds of broadband Internet connections in the US aren't really broadband; over 90 million people in the US are using a substandard broadband service. To make matters worse, 58 percent of connections don't even reach downstream speeds above 3Mbps. The definition of broadband is constantly changing, and it's becoming clear that the US is having a hard time keeping up."

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Meanwhile, in Japan (5, Informative)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533276)

We have 1Gb fiber to the home. :)

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (5, Funny)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533290)

Bet the streaming tenticle porn is great!

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533320)

It's not a fiber. It's a series of tubes.....

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (1)

muntis (1503471) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533380)

Latvia is still lagging behind with miserable 500Mbps

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (0, Troll)

Tuan121 (1715852) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533388)

Congratulations, when your entire country is the size of say, California it's a little easier on the infrastructure.

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533402)

Congratulations, when your entire country is the size of say, California it's a little easier on the infrastructure.

Yes, but despite your whining your broadband speeds are still slow.

(200Mbps at home here in Finland)

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533502)

Congratulations, when you're entire country is smaller in size than say, California, it's a little easier on the infrastructure.

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (0)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533606)

Congratulations, you successfully managed to ignore population density.

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (2, Insightful)

Calydor (739835) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533532)

Oh, so that's why all homes in California have 1GB fiber straight to the door, right?

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533572)

Shh don't bring logic into this

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533546)

That argument might have some merit if California itself was any better. The existence of vast swathes of rural wilderness within the US' borders doesn't have any impact upon the provision of broadband in major cities.

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533454)

Meanwhile in Lithuania we have 1Gb fiber to the home (although it's limited to 200Mb/s to the "outside world" ) for 30 euro.
100MB/s (for 15 euro) is enough for me.
Also, no upload caps :)

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (1)

Oasiz (1017554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533486)

I have a pathetic 200Mbps connection :(
One ISP in Finland is starting to roll 1000/100Mbps though, It will cost like close to 100e per month.

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533638)

...and from what I hear, a severely limited pipe to the outside world.

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (2)

muindaur (925372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533706)

...and absolutely unecesary for most people.

I have a 50Mbs connection and have no problems streaming anything or loading webpages. I'm conent. To upgrade the speed in this rural area the costs would be really high, and cause interuptions. After the upgrade was complete I would be paying more for the connection. This is a capitalist country and it's completely unfair to expect a company to upgrade the lines, if 99% of it's customers are happy with their speed, and still charge the same rates. My cost would go up for more bandwidth that I'm not using.

One thing I am doing is downgrading my connection speed to save $15 a month from $45.

Those of you in countries that have really high taxes so the government can do the upgrades can have you 1Gb connection. I'll keep my taxes low, and my internet costs low(charity works as some teens died and the funerary expenses were raised to help the families in a couple of days in this terrible economy.)

Re:Meanwhile, in Japan (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533724)

and how fast is the speed past your ISP? how fast can you access data around the world?

Does it address what ports are open? (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533278)

To me "Internet access" is an I.P. connection on the Internet, not a filtered and plugged natted off I.P. What good is "broad band" if you're not "really" on the Internet? This article didn't address that.

Also, beyond just having crappy maintinance and ethics a majority of the land mass in the U.S. is difficult to give proper broadband to since there such low population density over such a large area. Of course that doesn't excuse Verizon for only giving me 3 Mbps when I paid for 20 and got 20 for the first month. /yes, I'm being a squeaky wheel.

Re:Does it address what ports are open? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533338)

a majority of the land mass in the U.S. is difficult to give proper broadband to since there such low population density over such a large area

I agree that it is difficult to supply broadband to the few people living in the middle of nowhere, but they don't have much of an effect on the statistics precisely because there aren't very many of them. The USA is actually slightly more urbanized than South Korea. Stop with the excuses already.

Re:Does it address what ports are open? (0)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533552)

Ah, so you're one of those "there are people in California, and people in a couple of cities going down the eastern coastline, and nothing else counts" sorts, huh?

His statement is pretty spot on -- there are some pretty wide swaths in this country where you've either got low population density or geographical problems making it difficult. Look at Appalachia as a whole, for example -- a good chunk of it is "difficult" geographically, and having a significant percentage of the populace nestled in mountain hollows doesn't help.

Re:Does it address what ports are open? (3, Insightful)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533650)

Ah, so you're one of those "there are people in California, and people in a couple of cities going down the eastern coastline, and nothing else counts" sorts, huh?

His statement is pretty spot on -- there are some pretty wide swaths in this country where you've either got low population density or geographical problems making it difficult. Look at Appalachia as a whole, for example -- a good chunk of it is "difficult" geographically, and having a significant percentage of the populace nestled in mountain hollows doesn't help.

Ah - you'll be happy to know then that we don't actually have a significant percentage of the US population nestled in mountain hollows. And in other good news, it turns out that the existence of Appalachian Mountain Dancers doesn't necessarily preclude the good people of Manhattan from having blazingly fast high speed internet access.

For my next trick, I'll show how letting two gay men get married to each other shouldn't cause millions of straight people to get divorced.

Re:Does it address what ports are open? (2)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533654)

That's funny, we all have electric and public water down here in the hollows and up ontop of the ridges...

Re:Does it address what ports are open? (4, Insightful)

dkf (304284) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533680)

Ah, so you're one of those "there are people in California, and people in a couple of cities going down the eastern coastline, and nothing else counts" sorts, huh?

In population terms, yes. There's no excuse for urban populations having crap broadband, and there's lots of people in cities and towns in the US. If you're out in the boonies, it's going to impact on your speed (or costs) but that's true all over the world. But more to the point, just look at where the majority of people are, in urban and suburban areas. Is there any reason why it's impossible for such a large fraction of them to get broadband? (Well, yes there is, and it's got to do with lack of real competition between providers. Regulatory fail.)

His statement is pretty spot on -- there are some pretty wide swaths in this country where you've either got low population density or geographical problems making it difficult. Look at Appalachia as a whole, for example -- a good chunk of it is "difficult" geographically, and having a significant percentage of the populace nestled in mountain hollows doesn't help.

Because cables can't go down into mountain hollows... (Or did you think that the rest of the world does broadband always by wireless telecoms?)

Re:Does it address what ports are open? (4, Informative)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533630)

Exactly, stop making excuses. I am in Finland where the population density barely crosses the 1% mark, and we have great broadband and phone coverage over 98% of the country.

Re:Does it address what ports are open? (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533698)

The USA is actually slightly more urbanized than South Korea. Stop with the excuses already.

Half of South Korea's population lives in a single metropolitan area [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Does it address what ports are open? (5, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533452)

To me "Internet access" is an I.P. connection on the Internet, not a filtered and plugged natted off I.P. What good is "broad band" if you're not "really" on the Internet? This article didn't address that.

This really annoys me.

Back when we got our first broadband connection (a blazing-fast 768k DSL connection) it was a genuine connection to the Internet. I wasn't doing anything amazing with it... But I would periodically use RDP or VNC or whatever to connect into my home machine for something. I had occasion to fire up an FTP server at home once or twice as well. I even tinkered around with a web server at home briefly. All those ports were readily available for my use. I had to play some games with NAT since I had a couple computers sharing that one public address... And it wasn't a static address, so I had to constantly look up my IP or use a free dynamic DNS service... But I could at least use those ports.

These days I cannot use those ports. I know for a fact that 3389 and 80 are blocked. And any time I run RDP on a different port it'll wind up blocked again after two or three connections.

One of the things that initially made the Internet so awesome was that everyone was basically a peer. Anybody could host information... Share resources... Communicate... It was all kinds of decentralized and whatnot.

These days there's a very clearly defined producer/consumer relationship. It isn't just a matter of bandwidth or anything... I simply cannot host a website on my home connection. I am barred from doing that.

Re:Does it address what ports are open? (1)

lingon (559576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533536)

Don't you have any provider in the US that doesn't block ports? I only grudingly accept that my ISP in Sweden blocks port 25, but I can understand their reasoning. If they would block 3389, 80, or any other port I would immediately switch providers, that's simply unacceptable.

Re:Does it address what ports are open? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533620)

Everything you want to do I do at home on my "not real" internet connection.

You just have to take your Meds for your ADD and use ports that are not blocked, and use a dyndns service.

I do VPN back to home, I run a SFTP, I run a webserver on Port 81 and Port 82.

Re:Does it address what ports are open? (2)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533714)

Everything you want to do I do at home on my "not real" internet connection.

You just have to take your Meds for your ADD and use ports that are not blocked, and use a dyndns service.

I do VPN back to home, I run a SFTP, I run a webserver on Port 81 and Port 82.

I'm really not sure what ADD and medication have to do with anything...

Like I indicated in my post: And any time I run RDP on a different port it'll wind up blocked again after two or three connections.

It isn't just that 3389 is blocked... If I run RDP on 3390 or 3391 or 3392 those ports will be blocked after one or two incoming connections. I've run a web server on alternative ports as well - 8080, and 8088 for example (so that I could remotely manage my router) and they got blocked after a couple connections.

I suppose, if I really wanted to, I could automate the whole thing... Throw together a script of some sort to randomly select a new port for every connection attempt or something... But that seems like an awful lot of work for very little reward.

I've started using LogMeIn [logmein.com] for remote access to my home computer, which gets around these blocks on incoming connections by opening an outgoing connection to their central server.

Re:Does it address what ports are open? (0)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533604)

Pony up and pay for what you want. It's available.

Oh wait, you want business class OC3 at the price of tier 1 DSL.

Well I want a New BMW 725i at the price of a 1985 Honda Civic.

Woohoo! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533280)

False advertising!

Broadband != Speed (5, Informative)

grahamm (8844) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533292)

Not forgetting that Broadband indicates the technology used to deliver the data not the speed. So the opposite of Broadband is Baseband, not narrowband. So any ADSL is broadband but 1000BaseT is not.

Re:Broadband != Speed (5, Insightful)

martas (1439879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533442)

Aha, words mean what people want them to mean. That may have been the origin of the term, but for the majority of people, that is not the primary meaning.

Re:Broadband != Speed (3, Insightful)

jps25 (1286898) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533534)

Aha, words mean what people want them to mean.

No, they don't. Words mean what they mean. Ignorance doesn't change that.

Re:Broadband != Speed (2)

martas (1439879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533566)

According to who? God? The word fairy? Oxford-English dictionary? Words existed long before any such pseudo-authority was created. You use words so others can understand you, period.

Re:Broadband != Speed (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533596)

Oh, and the same applies to grammar -- I can say "what did you step on" all I want, and the entire English-speaking population of the world will know what I mean. No grammar Nazi will make me change the way I speak/write if it serves my purposes just fine.

Words have meanings (4, Informative)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533300)

What they should call this is High Bandwidth, or High Speed Internet something along those lines. Broadband has nothing to do with speed or performance it implies symbols are used to send bits as opposed to baseband which would just be sending highs and lows to send the bits. Neither is a speed thing, I don't know why have to confuse and conflate technical terms in government and on tech sites were people should really know better.

Re:Words have meanings (1)

imashination (840740) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533334)

Because "Hi-Speed USB" was a real winner in explaining what it does.

Re:Words have meanings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533340)

Broadband is a consumer facing brand for 'plays youtube'.

Words can have different meaning in different contexts WOOOO!!1

Seriously, EE degree required before I can take someone who uses the word 'broadband' seriously. Where's yours?

Re:Words have meanings (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533360)

Actually, I've always presumed it meant a modulated signal - baseband would still be using symbols, not just shifting DC on the wire, in fact variations on FSK I think. Broadband uses a carrier signal and is much more like transimitting a radio signal using the phone line as a wire. I guess I don't understand the technology all that well, but using 'broadband' as a term for data rate is definitely wrong. Even worse is 'narrowband' which just makes me want to cringe.

Re:Words have meanings (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533678)

Think of phone line as roughly the same as speaker wire. Narrowband and is narrow because it is restricted to the narrow part of the frequency range that the phone company cares about for encoding voice data. Broadband transmits a range of frequencies that are outside the narrow range that the phone company uses for voice data that extends from just inside our hearing range to well outside of it.

To make the whole thing more fun there is an ADSL 2+ mode designed for dedicated date lines that uses the entire frequency range but it only adds around 64k to the overall transfer speed.

Re:Words have meanings (1)

fche (36607) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533398)

Broadband = Wide Band.
Wide = Large Width.
Ergo, broadband = high bandwidth.

Re:Words have meanings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533550)

Broadband = Wide Band.
Wide = Large Width.
Ergo, broadband = high bandwidth.

Using your reasoning wouldn't it be:
Broadband = Large Width Band?

Re:Words have meanings (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533646)

I'm torn. On the one hand, I remember when 512 kb/s down and 256 kb/s up was considered to be 'broadband', and seemed pretty damn fast. The idea that a connection can be broadband one day, and not broadband the next, because a bureaucrat somewhere changed a definition seems absurd to me.

On the other hand, coming up with a new name for each bump in speed also seems absurd to me. (I can't wait until super-duper-even-broader-band internet comes to my area!)

The US is not having a "hard time." (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533310)

To say the US is having a hard time keeping up would imply that it is difficult to do that for US companies. It's not. It simply goes against their desire to get money for nothing. They want to put nothing into their infrastructure and so nothing improves. This is in sharp contrast with other businesses in other parts of the world. The difference isn't the technology or the scale of deployment. It is the mindset of the people making decisions.

For the love of GOD won't they please declare that internet service is a "utility" and regulate it as such?

Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (0)

imashination (840740) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533348)

Because the rolling brownouts on the regulated electricity "utility" is a real winner.

Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (2)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533384)

California only had power problems after deregulating its utilities.

Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533418)

California deregulated how much you could charge for wholesale electricity.
While locking how much you could charge consumers.
While banning any new power plants.
Hmmm
What could go wrong?

Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (1)

bev_tech_rob (313485) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533480)

You might want to read up on Enron and their shenanigans in regards to brownouts. That occurred AFTER deregulation was implemented...

Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533564)

California never deregulated the electricity market. They only deregulated the wholesale market for electricity, while maintaining a cap on how much you could charge the enduser, and requiring that the companies that delivered electricity to the enduser not produce any electricity. Those companies that before "deregulation" had both consumer electric divisions and electric generation plants were required to either sell their electric generation capabality or split it off into a separate, unrelated corporate entity. What happened was entirely predictable.

Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533352)

For the love of GOD won't they please declare that internet service is a "utility" and regulate it as such?

I'm afraid it's not going to happen any time soon as the trend has been away from publically owned utilities.

Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (1)

fche (36607) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533404)

... and thank GOD for that.

Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533358)

For the love of GOD won't they please declare that internet service is a "utility" and regulate it as such?

Oh yea, you really want politicians to decide how internet access is provided and who subsidizes whom. The plus side would be we'd get huge investments in infrastructure so the utility gets it's 10% or so return.

Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (5, Insightful)

crunchygranola (1954152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533582)

For the love of GOD won't they please declare that internet service is a "utility" and regulate it as such?

Oh yea, you really want politicians to decide how internet access is provided and who subsidizes whom....

It is certainly preferable to having the corporations make those decisions.

The only reason rural America can send and receive mail at a reasonable cost (the same cost as everyone else, and the cheapest rates in the world) is that the USPS is a government regulated "utility". The only reason rural America got electrical power and a phone system was also due to government regulation and "interference" via the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) which was abolished in 1994 after completing its job of bringing those service to all Americans.

A corporation is only interested in its bottom line (they are compelled to do this by law in fact) not the national interest. So raking in large fees for service that is far below international standards is perfectly fine for them. If you believe that the Internet is important and that new industries and productive activities can grow out of state-of-the-art high speed data access then the U.S. is at a competitive disadvantage. You cable company doesn't care about this but national politicians should.

Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (5, Insightful)

AntEater (16627) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533368)

To say the US is having a hard time keeping up would imply that it is difficult to do that for US companies. It's not. It simply goes against their desire to get money for nothing. They want to put nothing into their infrastructure and so nothing improves.

Don't worry, the invisible hand of the marketplace will exert it's influence opening up more options for us. As soon as a competitor sees the opportunity to.... Oh, wait... Nevermind.

Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (2)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533522)

Free market is a wondeful cure for most problems, it just has one weakness: it breaks down once a single company (a colluding cartel counts as one) corners a majority of the market. Thus, you need the government to stay away except for a vital duty of breaking monopolies -- instead of nurturing "too big to fail" crap.

Oh, and in the case at hand, instead of fighting the monopolies, the govt is actually creating them.

Umm, how is that supposed to work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533720)

I F-ing hate Time-Warner (may the FSM strangle them with shim's noodly appendages!), but, they are the ONLY option I have for cable TV (which I just recently cancelled completely after becoming fed up with their crappy service and excuses while I pay upwards of $150.00 per month) and internet (aside from dial-up). They have a government granted and industry enforced (through collusion) MONOPOLY. My options are pay what they want and accept crappy service, or not have service. And no, I do not live in the boondocks. I live 15 minutes from downtown Akron, Ohio (a fairly decent sized city). Internet/Cable TV/Telecom in the U.S. is SERIOUSLY BROKEN! All the CEO's and others in charge of these industries should be taken out into the street and beat within an inch of their lives!

Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (2)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533488)

You hit the nail on the head. Other than 1-2 cities, there is zero increase in bandwidth in the US, but fees are going up. Essentially most people are paying more for their cable or DSL for the same amount of bits flying across per time period as they did when the services were introduced more than a decade ago.

Take mobile bandwidth for instance. In '06, my mobile phone (although EDGE only) was more than happy to tether. Push a button, and the phone now became a modem. Now, if you want tethering, you pay $10 a gig to AT&T, or you hack your phone and hope Sprint or VZW doesn't catch on and put the boot to your connection. The only "free" cellular provider for this is T-Mobile, and who knows how long they will allow it to continue.

The ironic thing? Take South Korea or Japan. You can watch any TV show ready to be streamed to you at any moment. The ISPs there have no bandwidth caps, and speeds to a mobile device faster than most cable/DSL speeds. Korean ISPs handle far more data than American ISPs, and they don't whine and wring their hands in front of the National Assembly or the Diet of how the poor customers are using their services forcing them to upgrade.

While bandwidth for the average American has been stagnant for the past decade unless one is lucky enough to live in an area with fiber to the door, every other country's ISPs are not whining, but rolling up their sleeves, laying fiber and buying the Cisco equipment needed to do the task at hand.

Will this change anytime soon in the US? Doubtful in today's political climate.

Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533548)

The US does seem to be having a hard time enforcing laws against false advertising.

4G is not really 4G, broadband is not really broadband, and if I remember correctly a 56kb modem only went 53kb max.

Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533640)

You nailed it.

Comcast, AT&T, all of them do NOT want to upgrade infrastructure to deliver real broadband, because they make far higher profits by letting it simply sit.
Plus without Govt regulation or real competition, they can tel the customer, "Stuff it in your pie hole" if you call to complain.

Honestly, they are doing what us as consumers ask them to do. IF you happily pay your bill month after month and do not complain to the FTC and FCC on a regular basis, then you ENJOY your service and LOVE your service company.

Keeping up with who? (0)

hondamankev (1000186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533314)

The US carriers make no additional money by competing with anyone outside of the US. And did the report take into consideration that many people opt for the cheapest broadband available? The cheapest might not qualify as 4/1, or the "minimum" to be considered broadband. Which is just fine in that case. The consumer is getting exactly what he/she paid for.

Re:Keeping up with who? (5, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533434)

Well maybe the users by the cheapest because the ISP are gouging and you don't get a good ROI for your money? I know when I first moved to my area I first went to the "residential" cable followed by the "business" cable and promptly went back to residential. Why? Because after running speed tests as well as real world downloads I found their "business" line did nothing but that cheap "speedburst" trick and that is worthless for anything over 50MB. Other than that I still got between 1Mb and 2Mb.

So please don't say "he/she got what they paid for" because many of us get the choices of a shit sandwich or a shit burrito. My choices are $106 a month cable/TV/VoIP combo (they screw you hard if you don't take the combo and sign a contract, we are talking 1/3 higher price) with a lousy 36GB a month cap, paying another $75 to get my cap raised to 76GB for "business", going with AT&T $62 DSL which maxes out here at 200Kb and is on 50 year old lines which they have made clear they will NOT be upgrading, or $90 a month for WISP with a max speed of 300Kb and a cap of 25GB. Now tell me, where is the choice? Pretty much all of these "choices" are like deciding if you would like to be ass raped by the knobby strap-on or the notched one.

Re:Keeping up with who? (1)

geegel (1587009) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533672)

Holy crap that's expensive. I have a 100 Mbs metropolitan/ 20 Mbs international, no cap connection for roughly 14 dollars a month.

Perhaps I should mention, I live in Romania.

Imagine that... (0)

uncledrax (112438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533344)

So the FCC changes the definition they use, and all the sudden not everyone is in compliance again?!?!?! SHOCKING I TELL YOU!

How about we go by what DarkOx said, call it 'High Speed' or something.. and use the term 'broadband' by what the Wire Tappers consider (basically anything NOT over POTS/ISDN which is sorta how T1.IAS CALEA defines it..)..

Re:Imagine that... (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533370)

Yeah, according to the definition I don't have "broadband" (read "high speed Internet", because that's what they mean). I have 5Mbps downstream and 512kbps upstream. It costs me 33.80€/month and fulfils my needs perfectly well. Heck, back when they started to roll out ADSL in my country it was 256kbps/64kbps and that was already the greatest thing since sliced bread (compared to ISDN, and per minute costs)

This is just a change of definition, which means nothing about actual usability about Internet connections throughout the US.

I could have "real broadband". (3, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533346)

I don't need it. 1.5Mb is fast enough. I know others for whom even lower speeds suffice. Not everyone watches television over the Net.

Re:I could have "real broadband". (4, Insightful)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533444)

So, who says that everyone must have broadband? The article only points out that a good majority of the people who pay for broadband don't receive a service that can be justifiably called that.

Re:I could have "real broadband". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533478)

I successfully stream over a sub 1Mbps connection regularly. I have access to a higher speed connection upon the rare need to download extremely large files in a short time. Having to drive there makes me learn network efficiency. This is good for my line of work. I used to have only dialup and Hughesnet (even slower for large downloads than dialup) as options. Now with my mobile WiMAX 4G (not real 4G)/3G I can even have faster than my home connection at home. I usually don't bother.

Re:I could have "real broadband". (1)

Triv (181010) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533492)

Glad you're happy with the service you have, but that isn't the issue. The issue is that ISPs are advertising their services as "broadband" where the FCC has a definition of "broadband" that the providers are failing to meet - if I'm paying for 4mbps downstream and I'm getting 1, that's false advertising.

Re:I could have "real broadband". (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533608)

Glad you're happy with the service you have, but that isn't the issue. The issue is that ISPs are advertising their services as "broadband" where the FCC has a definition of "broadband" that the providers are failing to meet - if I'm paying for 4mbps downstream and I'm getting 1, that's false advertising.

Why should ISPs use the FCC definition? Wikipedia has this to say [wikipedia.org] :

Different criteria for "broad" have been applied in different contexts and at different times. Its origin is in radio systems engineering, but became popularized after MediaOne adopted it as part of a marketing campaign in 1996 to sell their high speed data access. The slogan was "This is Broadband. This is the Way". The term has never been formally defined, even though it is used widely and has been the subject of many policy debates, and the FCC "National Broadband Plan [wikipedia.org] ".

Re:I could have "real broadband". (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533644)

Of course they are, that's the way the FCC works. Make a definition that everyone can follow then change it and put out a report that says 2/3rds of the vendors are wrong. Standard government regulation encroachment tactic.

Re:I could have "real broadband". (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533656)

Good thing they advertise speeds "up to ${SPEED}", which is just weasel-y enough to skirt the laws with regards to false advertising then, isn't it?

Re:I could have "real broadband". (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533586)

I have friends whose speed is 10 times what I have. They all laugh about my speed when we compare and then I tell them that I have this all the time 24/7 and no need to buy extra bandwith because I exceeded some random number in down/up load.
Also I have no ports blocked, fixed IP and no P2P throttling. Things they don't have. Price is about the same.

Yet even though they complain all the time about the data limit, none wants to change. They happily buy extra, even though the company advertises that there is no limit. The limit is decided by 1.5 times the average usage of users. And nobody knows what that will be at any moment. Fun. (Oh, it is per area, so if you live in an area with lots of students, you can download more then if all are retired people.)

So speed is not the only factor.

Re:I could have "real broadband". (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533690)

Work out the address ranges allocated to your local area, and arrange for some ddos attacks to saturate most of their connections all month, then the average will be extremely high...
Or just pool resources with your neighbours, if you all download huge amounts that will push the average up too.

US Carriers are not having a hard time. (3, Informative)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533356)

They have a monopoly and they just don't care. The FCC and FTC were so weakened by the Bush administration that our government can do nothing to help protect the citizens that elected them.

Corporatism at work!

Before everyone starts posting their own speeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533364)

Speedtest.net [speedtest.net] has an excellent overview of global speeds, which agrees very much with this posted report, and also gives a good indication of speeds in other areas of the world.

Re:Before everyone starts posting their own speeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533540)

Interestingly enough I'm getting 27.08 down and 10.40 up at Speedtest, but that's to a Swedish server "only" 250 miles away, and that's from a connection advertised as 25/10. Across the pond to New York, 3850 miles away, the numbers shrink to about 8/4.

A definition I am envious of (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533366)

Here in the UK we decided a number of years ago to define broadband as being >2Mbps downstream, which at the time was in my option at least quite ambitious and forward thinking decision (I think I was on 0.5Mbps at the time and that was about as fast as you could get). What we neglected to do however was place any sort of requirement on upstream, and thus I am languishing on a 10Mbps cable connection with 512k of upstream (although it tends to be more like 400.) Anyone seen complaining about upstream on broadband forums is immediately met with a barrage of insults and accusations, asserting that only someone pirating movies 24 / 7 (the same people who get the blame for any sort of network congestion / usage restrictions)could want more than a token upstream speed. Yet uploading large videos to youtube, hosting some high upstream utilisation online games, attempting to make HD video calls on skype, all these things and thousands more are verboten to the average UK consumer and his "broadband" internet connection.

Re:A definition I am envious of (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533666)

It has to be said - most UK broadband is ADSL, and there the "asymmetric" is in the name of the protocol. And most people genuinely, honestly, don't need that much upload and if they do, it's a small, rare burst compared to their overall usage (yeah, it would be good to have 8Mb down AND up, but to be honest you're very unlikely to get a constant average measured over 24 hours where upload is anywhere NEAR download). Even back in the days of modems you were lucky to see 14.4 or 28.8 up even on a 56K down (and in fact upload was ALWAYS less because of the technology).

The cable companies are offering upload speeds on a 10:1 ratio with the download - e.g. Virgin media has a 10Mb / 1Mb or a 50Mb / 5Mb and that maps across to the ADSL providers pretty well too. It's not a conspiracy - most people genuinely don't need anywhere near as much upload as download and every byte in either direction counts against their data tariffs (e.g. over BT's ADSL infrastructure), and almost all technology from modems to DSL to 3G is heavily biased to support higher download than upload (most "8Mb" ADSL routers can't actually do anything past 1\Mb for upload, most "24Mb" ADSL2+ routers can't do more than 1.4 Mb up) - it's not just the particular setup, it's the technology and protocols. Look at the tech specs of ADSL2+, which is what we have deployed in the UK - it's 1.4Mb up MAXIMUM.

If you want more upload, it's there - go look at the prices for SDSL, for instance. It's ridiculous, and that *probably* is the price-gouging. But who, at home, needs more than 5Mb up? Or who needs 5Mb up for any purpose where they CAN'T buy themselves a decent symmetric connection? When you word it like that, it pretty much is only the pirates who are left and you could be reasonably sure that if Torrents demand upload as well as download, they wouldn't want more upload either.

There are cases of huge upload, but I can get a decent sized upload on a £5.99 / month contract, or a 5Mb upload on a not-prohbibitive home contract. That's way before you ever get into business services, SDSL, leased lines, etc. I maintain several websites. Yeah, a better upload would be nice but it's really not worth the money except for that one day every five years where I have to restore a remote server from an FTP backup. And even then, it's quicker to just send the host a DVD to slot into the machine. And such rare usage means it *does* become more expensive just because few people actually complain about their upload being too low, so ADSL2+ etc. technologies become the norm and anything higher is "special".

A school I work for has 450 students and dozens of staff, online with everything from iPhones to netbooks to laptops to desktops. They upload photos, I manage the websites from on-site, they share videos with other schools, do video-conferencing, and upload a huge backup of the main school database to a remote server every night. We have two 1Mb uploads on two lines giving 24Mbps each. It's never been seen as "limiting". Hell, when our last ISP cut us off (ironically for "using more than a residential broadband line") we ran on 3G sticks for a fortnight. Upload *is* different - it's rarer, the technology doesn't aim at it, it's smaller bursts than download and it's generally somewhere between 10:1 and 2:1 in terms of down/up ratios. Most people don't need it higher, so it costs you more to MAKE it higher. And a simple package upgrade can get you to 5Mb up in even a bog-standard cable-serviced area.

Re:A definition I am envious of (1)

mikechant (729173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533718)

and thus I am languishing on a 10Mbps cable connection with 512k of upstream

Assuming you must be referring to Virgin Media cable, you should find your upstream doubled to 1Mb/s shortly (if not already). It came as a pleasant surprise to me when I did a speed test a few weeks ago since I didn't know it was happening. I think the whole country's supposed be done within the next few months.
See http://shop.virginmedia.com/help/discover-broadband/broadband-speed/upload-speeds.html [virginmedia.com]

Never seen anyone offer even 1MBPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533396)

768k/256k here on Verizon DSL. And that's the highest tier available in my area. The "Regular" tier is 384k/128k.

Re:Never seen anyone offer even 1MBPS (2)

AntEater (16627) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533526)

I'd be happy if I could get any service at all where I live. For many of us satellite is the only option and it sucks (just not as bad as dialup).

Depends on how you test? (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533400)

Okay, this is part comment, part question.

The comment: speeds seem to depend on the location of the test server. For example, my connection at university has more than 50MB/s upstream to the server in Hungary (I'm in Hungary myself), but only 1-2MB/s to a California server (as tested by Speedtest.net), so it gives ISPs an opportunity to cheat the tests, like my home provider does: advertises 8MB/s download, with a minimum of 1MB/s at any time, provides ~5-6MB/s to the Hungarian server, and 1MB/s to a US server.

The question: why is it like this? Can someone please explain to me why speeds drop rapidly as the test server moves farther and farther away from my physical location? Is the lag in routing this significant?

Re:Depends on how you test? (1)

lingon (559576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533516)

Your ISP probably has really bad peering with other ISPs or (more likely, considering it's a university) Hungary has bad connections to other countries and/or doesn't buy enough bandwidth on the transatlantic cables. Physical location really doesn't enter much into it.

6 down isn't broadband? (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533414)

I guess my 6 down 712 up isn't broadband then? Oh well, it's fast enough for what I use it for.

So what are they going to do about it? (4, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533424)

That's the real question. Because if 'broadband' is a term with a real official meaning, it would be possible to go after any ISP selling 'broadband' that isn't 'broadband' for false advertising. Alternately, if their contracts and the like say that they're selling 5 Mbps and they're actually selling 1 Mbps, that could also be actionable.

Either way, without some sort of legal liability, this is going to become standard practice.

By choice or just because it isn't available? (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533428)

I personally only have 3 Mbit internet (256 k up). So I don't have broadband either. But I could get up to 50 Mbit, I just don't want to pay for it. 3 Mbit is fast enough to stream videos, netflix included (if SD is good enough for you). It fulfills all my needs. Sure it would be nice to have 50 mbit, and download a Linux distro in 10 minutes, but it's really hard to justify the cost for the number of times you have to do that in a year. Sure people don't want to be running on dial up speeds, but not everyone needs 10 mbit internet.

Competiton, we've heard of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533438)

Once there's a few monopolies in place Adam Smith's invisible hand is shackled. That being said, my family gets by just fine with 1.5Mb/S. We don't care to stream movies and skype presents no problems. I credit the squid caching for making it work since our surfing habits are fairly repetitive and most of the sites I go to are text-based like, well, like this site here. Qwest would love to sell me seven but the wire in this neighborhood can't even deliver 3 if more than a few people are online. There's 8 wireless networks visible from our house (and only one is open. Good work kids!)

T1 is not "broadband" then (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533440)

While I agree that oversubscribed consumer DSL and cable should be judged by different standards, by this definition T1 (1.54Mbps up and down) is not "broadband".

Re:T1 is not "broadband" then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533694)

T1 was also introduced in 1961....

Birmingham, AL ... (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533446)

By that definition, this entire area isn't "broadband." We can get decent downstroke (6 Mbits is common), but it's very difficult to get anything more than a 768 Kbit upstroke.

We had to move our mail server to a co-location at the ISPs office just to get 1.5/1.5.

A lot of people don't want that (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533456)

It may come as a shock to a lot of Slashdot readers, but a lot of Americans don't have any need for more than that. If the price is right, it's a good bargain. My dad helped an elderly friend switch over to $15/month DSL because she's at that season of life where most of the things that need much more than DSL are just outside the scope of what she wants to learn and do. She really isn't losing anything. In fact, she's gaining Internet access that's pretty good at a price that she can actually afford without cutting her budget or dipping into the government's pocket.

Where's the loss there? Availability is one thing, but personal choices are a non-issue.

But the free market! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533468)

ISP's should be allowed to lie about the speeds they provide, it should be illegal to now let them do that.

Re:But the free market! (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533614)

Two points, the first is that a principle of free market economics is that you're not allowed to lie about what you provide. The second is that broadband has a definition related to network communications that has nothing to do with speed (well ok, broadband will almost always be faster than baseband, but that is a result of what broadband is, not part of the definition of broadband).

1Mbps FTW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533506)

I'm just thrilled to have gotten up to 1Mbps as of this year... Before then it was 44Kbps (which itself was a major feat, considering the fact that for years we'd been stuck behind a SLIC and maxing out at 26.4Kbps!).

All My Pages Load Fast And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34533510)

Hulu and Netflix stream uninterupted.

I've seen Steam downloads cap at 3 MBs per second silumtaneously. That's about 48 Mbs so I know I'm getting a good down stream, but only for multiple connections. A single connection is capped at 2MBs.

Now, I could actually downgrade my connection speed, and still have websites load in under five seconds. Now, onto the US Infrastructure. This is a very large, spread out country. If companies upgraded the lines it would cost a great deal of money; that I would pay in fees for service that provides more bandwidth than I need(remember I could downgrade my 50Mbs connection without any ill effects on performance.)

As for speed caps, that all depends on the proximity of the server, and if that server has it's own caps in place. I think people forget that Network Admins will, at the behest of their company, cap the speed of incoming/outgoing connections to save money(companies tend to pay per Mb used and not a flat fee.) I can connect to a server in a major city near me, and get a really high downspeed, but upspeed is normally low because of their caps.

it's part of the plan (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533518)

This is what I think is going on.

The internet providers have been slow to give us the 'broadband' speeds that a lot of world is enjoying. On top of that, they are trying to get tiered service, putting caps on how much you can download, etc.

What they are going to do, is bargin with the fcc/gov.

They'll up the speeds/lay the last "mile" of fiber, but to do that, they will need the tiered/limited allowed.

Then they'll rake in the money on all the people who go over their limits because they can actually download/upload stuff fast.

SA (1)

garatheus (993376) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533554)

The US doesn't have anything to contend with (or worry about really) in terms of broadband... In SA our monopoly-provider, Telkom, advertises "blazing fast Internet" at a lowely 384kbps... And anything after that comes at an exorbitant price (don't forget we're capped here - so their "cheapest offering" only really includes 1GB international and I think around 10GB local-only). While there's a new wave of competition in the access-to-bandwidth arena (Telkom still charges around R70 a GB while you can get it from most other places at around R10-R25 /GB) you really can see just how badly we're affected by it. Oh yeah, and we have to pay for an analog line - even if we're not going to actually connect it to a phone. Interestingly enough, I've looked at one of our mobile providers, Cell C - and their HSDPA is actually fairly good priced when you factor in things. Its about time - really wish ICASA would get onto Telkom's case and regulate them further...

In my day we used 14.4kbps dial-up modems... (3, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533568)

...while waiting for a home page to load, and we LIKED IT!

Total Price Gouging Strategy (5, Insightful)

adosch (1397357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533600)

I'm happy with my 1.5Mbps cable broadband speed, but let's face it, it's a total price gouging tactic to squeeze more money out of the end-user consumer. If I wanted to even upgrade my cable service from 1.5Mbps to 2.5Mbps, it's an easy US $30/month dent for a measly 1Mbps extra bandwidth and for what? So I can download that , depending on size, handfuls of minutes faster than I could before? Even more so, I'll go on the high mark to say it also has a lot to do with what they know you're going to do with that bandwidth and they make you pay for it (a la against net-neutrality). Almost all wired broadband companies in my area are coupled with television access, so you can buy your internet package separately or as part of a bundled set. Why would they want to give you cheap bandwidth so you can drop their cable television service and use NetFlix/Hulu/Vudu/BD-Live, ect.?

Meaningless definition (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533632)

The definition of broadband is constantly changing

The definition is meaningless in two ways:

1) Its a monopolized and mostly unregulated unfree market which means that the definition doesn't matter. You can argue the definition of a good hamburger if there are a hundred different local and franchise restaurants, general and specialty food stores, farmers markets, and online shopping to select your burger and/or its ingredients. However, in a prison cell you eat whatever the warden decides to serve or you starve, so arguing the definition of bread as in bread and water is kind of pointless, you gonna eat it or not?

2) The only thing that matters is the end user experience and usage patterns and technology have not changed in AT LEAST half a decade, although the fad website of the month obviously changes each month. Who cares how often they change a definition that has no impact whatsoever on user experience?

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