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Broadband isn't Broadband Unless its 2Mbps?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the time-for-a-bit-of-clarity dept.

Networking 351

quanticle writes "According to House Democrats, broadband isn't broadband unless its at least 2Mbps. The view of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications is that the FCC's data collection standards are hopelessly outdated, and is proposing a number of updates to their criteria. For one, they want 'broadband' reclassified to at least 2mbs, up from 200kbps. Another requirement will change the FCC's outlook on broadband availability. Just because one household in a zip code has broadband access, that will not longer mean everyone in the zip code does. 'The plan went over well with the consumer advocates who appeared before the subcommittee. Larry Cohen, president of the Communication Workers of America, said that the US is "stuck with a twentieth century Internet" and that he would support increasing the "broadband" definition to 2Mbps. Ben Scott of Free Press echoed that sentiment, suggesting that the definition needs to be an evolving standard that increases over time, which is in contrast to the current FCC definition; it has not changed in nine years. "We have always been limited by the FCC's inadequate and flawed data," he said.'"

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Forgive me (4, Interesting)

Kelz (611260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180249)

But its too correct (according to the summary, I didn't RTFA). Something else has to be behind this, given american politics.

There IS something behind it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19180389)

Im sure the CWA believes this will lead to more work for the CWA members.

Re:Forgive me (3, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180419)

It's getting close to an election year, more and more people are using the Internet. It only makes sense to push some feel good "chicken in every pot" sorts of initiatives. If I thought the federal government could and would really cut through the layers of red tape and regulations in place to actually get faster connections to everybody, I'd even almost rise to not being cynical about it.

Re:Forgive me (5, Interesting)

EMeta (860558) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180539)

While I completely agree with your sentiment, it does grate on me a bit that 'close to an election year' is 6 months since the last election, and just 4 since the new congress came in. It feels like when they have Christmas displays up in September, except probably closer in analogy if they had them in April.

Re:Forgive me (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180577)

Well, the way the states keep pushing the primaries up, give it a few years and you'll be able to vote in the general election while simultaneously voting in the primary for the next one.

Save a lot of taxpayer money that way, actually.

Re:Forgive me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19180855)

Round these parts Christmas has already begun. I've got the tree and the turkey, all I've got to do is order the transvestite Santa and I'm done.

Re:Forgive me (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180569)

It's nothing to do with that; it's just regulating what the cable/phone companies can claim actually IS broadband; as it stands they screw a lot of people who don't know any better by selling them "broadband" which is no such thing by modern standards.

I think it's definitely a good step in the "truth in advertising" department...I'm tired of sneering at the commercials where the broadband companies are comparing their download speeds to 28.8 modems and other such crap.

Re:Forgive me (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181101)

Reminds me of Fat-Free vs Reduced Fat vs No Trans Fat, etc.

To misquote Shakespear:
DSL Internet by any other name is still too slow to stream HD video.

Layne

Look out for the fine print (5, Informative)

azrider (918631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181149)

It's nothing to do with that; it's just regulating what the cable/phone companies can claim actually IS broadband; as it stands they screw a lot of people who don't know any better by selling them "broadband" which is no such thing by modern standards. I think it's definitely a good step in the "truth in advertising" department...I'm tired of sneering at the commercials where the broadband companies are comparing their download speeds to 28.8 modems and other such crap.
Just look at some of the offerings. One that I am familiar with advertises 3 different wireless services (768k MIR for $59, 1M MIR for $99, 3M MIR for $139). MIR stands for Maximum Information Rate as in "Up to 3Mb/sec". However, each of the services also specifies a CIR (Committed Information Rate) of 512k. This means that, until your rate drops below 512k/sec, you cannot complain that they are not adhering to their part of the contract.
Remember that and always ask for both the CIR and MIR when talking to a sales person. If they will not specify a CIR (or don't know what it is), RUN, don't walk for the nearest exit.

Re:Forgive me (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180451)

Most American politics is pretty cut and dry. That stuff rarely gets talked about by the media.

Re:Forgive me (4, Funny)

British (51765) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180803)

Most American politics is pretty cut and dry. That stuff rarely gets talked about by the media.

I'm just surprised that politicians are talking about the Internet not involving the legislation bingo buzzwords ["predator" || "myspace" || "molestor" || "terrorism" || "censorship" || "children" || "tubes" || "columbine" ]

It's kind of like reading a Family Circus comic and having Billy talk about some sort of technology made after 1952. It just surprises you.

Goatse! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19180459)

Goatse! [goatse.ch]

Re:Forgive me (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19180923)

There are government programs funding internet buildouts in schools. I'd guess almost everyone is built out by now, or the the writing is on the wall that massive government spending won't be required. By changing the terminology, congress will force states to upgrade everything - thus causing more dollars to be spent (funnelled) to education. Elections are coming up, and the Democrats need to keep the NEA beast fed.

Oddly enough, the code word I need to type in for this comment is campus. The universe mocks us.

Good (0)

x_MeRLiN_x (935994) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180261)

Even 2 Mbps is painfully slow for some us. :)

Re:Good (1)

hejog (816106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180323)

tell me about it.

I have 20mbps at home, and 2mbit SDSL at work -- the work internet connection is painful. Its practically unusable if I need to download a file over about 100Mb (Apple Dev Connection, Linux, etc etc.)

At home if I'm downloading a fairly large file and its going under about 5mbits, I usually cancel it and try desperately to find a decent mirror. Patience is a virtue eh?

What do you guys have "at home"? I'm on 20mbit down / 512kbps up.

Re:Good (1)

bouchecl (1001775) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180585)

What do you guys have "at home"? I'm on 20mbit down / 512kbps up.
7000mbit down / 800kbps up. My local cable company [videotron.com] delivers on speed (I'm a cheapstake, so I only subscribe to the "regular" tier), but d/l and u/l (20GiB/10GiB a month) quotas will have to be reviewed at one point. Last month, I busted my u/l quota just by downloading the torrents for openSuSE 10.2, CenOS 5.0, Ubuntu Feisty and Fedora 7test4...

Re:Good (1)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180645)

Being a cheapskate of Scottish descent, I opted for a non-advertised but offered "Broadband" account with Adelphia that was 25 bucks a month for 256k down. I usually clock it at about 384 or so, but still it's painfully slow. When Comcast took over, they stopped offering the plan, but existing subscribers are allowed to keep it. 2Mbps would be an amazing change for me, but I don't expect Comcast to honor that anytime soon. Given that the standard plan in my area is 6 Mbps, it's kind of a shame that they can't give me more, but oh well.

Re:Good (1)

Yewbert (708667) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181097)

That sux. Comcast is becoming infamous for sandvining their traffic - severely hampering anyone wanting to use their bandwidth for bittorrenting, too. I don't know what I'd do if they were my *only* option. I've been really very pleased with AT&T's (formerly SBC, when I signed up) advertised 3-6mbps down/~768kbps up DSL at 36 bux/month. I reliably get the ~3mbps down (low end of their advertised range, but my share ration would suffer if I got any more asymmetric a connection, so I don't bitch), and not a peep about quota-ing my usage.

Re:Good (1)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180727)

I have 7M/512K Mediacom at home. $9.99/mo. The ISP I work for has 1.5M/128K for $45/mo. OUCH. We're working on that though :)

Re:Good (1)

Djupblue (780563) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180759)

100Mbit down/10Mbit up for $60/month, no limits
I live in Sweden.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19180453)

Even 2 Mbps is painfully slow for some us.

By the time your local V.A.R gets hold of 2Mbps, it'll become 2Mb/s. That should be enough for you.

Re:Good (3, Funny)

Duke (23059) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180467)

Yeah. But the poster mentions 2mbps. 2 milli bps. Now that is slow. Five hundred seconds to get one bit. SI prefixes are case sensitive. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SI_prefix [wikipedia.org]

Re:Good (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180779)

It may be slow for you, but I also keeps the MAFIAA happy. Who in their right mind would steal music/movies over a dialup?

hooray (5, Funny)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180273)

Fat tubes for all!

Korea has 10MBPs to the home... (5, Interesting)

athloi (1075845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180277)

Let's aim high. In the future, it is likely many individuals will run media servers, VPN in to home, download a ton of video and use services like VOIP that rely on quality bandwidth. Instead of going piecemeal into this future, let's design for the next fifty years, roll out the hardware, and enjoy a nice long depreciation curve. It will be cheaper in the long run...

Re:Korea has 10MBPs to the home... (2, Informative)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180331)

10Mbytes? Why stop there? Fiber will give you 30 easily. The infrastructure upgrade to handle all those 30Mbyte end user connections, but that can be done over years. It won't be long before wireless will be competing successfully with DSL and making dialup seem a bad value.

Re:Korea has 10MBPs to the home... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19180633)

The infrastructure upgrade to handle all those 30Mbyte end user connections, but that can be done over years.

Or if you've been paying attention, you'd know that the telcos have already been paid to give us exactly this upgrade over the past ten years, but somehow the money mysteriously disappeared...

Re:Korea has 10MBPs to the home... (3, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181043)

Yes, I do know that, but mentioning it means having to think about and discuss the fact that we HAVE paid for the fiber, and now Verizon et al want to charge us again for installing it via higher fees.

Re:Korea has 10MBPs to the home... (1)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180761)

Motorolla Surfboard modems will support 38Mbps according to their spec. I've done the calculations, and our system would handle this for our customer base. Unfortunately, our DS3 could NOT handle that many customers at 38Mbps :)

Re:Korea has 10MBPs to the home... (1)

LiLWiP (918943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181173)

Fiber will give you 1 Gigabit if you are willing to pay for it. Lets define some terms though. Korea has 10 Megabits (Mbps), not MegaBytes (MBps), to the home. 8 bits in a byte, 10 MB = 80 Mb per second. It is important that we differentiate bits and bytes... The speeds in the US are slowly catching up to this 10 Mb although it is generally not symmetrical as the upstream bandwidth is what is costly to provide, and what very few people actually use... Companies like AT&T are working on FTTC (Fiber To The Curb) and Time Warner is doing FTTP (Fiber To The Premise) if you are willing to pay for it and are within their footprint. Even speeds of WiFi services are increasing. Metro Mesh gear can support up to 108 Mbps if you are directly connected to the egress location (speeds half every hop you take.)

These things take time and money to deploy. Who pays for it? The Cable and Phone companies are in the business of making money, not providing you more bandwidth that to be honest, you are not going to use. The government has NO business in this arena, or would you like your tax dollars being spent to deploy something that you are not going to use? Relax, as more people demand more speeds, the availability will be there and the price will come down significantly. I have already seen the prices of 100 Mbps circuits get cut in half, and that was just in the last year.

Re:Korea has 10MBPs to the home... (5, Interesting)

odoketa (1040340) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180535)

And France has 20MB symmetric. The numbers are somewhat irrelevant when you start talking about orders of magnitude. The fact is that the US is behind in ways that are staggering, and it's hurting us economically. How many more small businesses would buy a server if they could actually get the pipe to host their own apps? How much more software/multimedia would be sold if it came in seconds, instead of hours.

At least in France, many of the problems were solved by local loop unbundling. I imagine the same would work here.

LLU's dead; the FCC killed it. (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180895)

At least in France, many of the problems were solved by local loop unbundling. I imagine the same would work here.

We had local loop unbundling here in the U.S., but then the FCC took it away. Now if you want DSL, it's back to the local phone company -- except for the places where they still have outstanding contracts with independent ISPs (like Speakeasy, etc.), there's no choice.

The FCC's rationale for reneging on the LLU decision was that consumers now had "choice" without it -- between the cable company, and the phone company. The nature of the decision had something to do with classing DSL as a 'data service' as opposed to a 'communications service' or something similarly pedantic, but the upshot was that it didn't require wholesale line leases to competitors, or let them charge more for it, or something.

I can't find a source on it right now, but I distinctly remember reading about it (maybe about a year ago, maybe a bit more).

Finally found some reference to it:
FCC Could Rule on DSL Line Sharing [betanews.com]
FCC Halts DSL-Sharing by Telcos [pcworld.com]
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20040303-3487 .html [arstechnica.com]

(Reason I wasn't finding anything is that "LLU" or "Local Loop Unbundling" only seems to be used in the press in the U.K. and Europe; in the 'States they seem to call it 'Line Sharing,' probably to maintain their mandatory 6th-grade reading level.)

Re:Korea has 10MBPs to the home... (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180561)

10 MB/s seems like overkill just to allow old people to send email.

Re:Korea has 10MBPs to the home... (1)

absorbr (995554) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180819)

I have 10mbit/1mbit to the home through Time Warner Cable. I'd like to see something closer to 100mbit though.

Re:Korea has 10MBPs to the home... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19180863)

Let's aim high. In the future, it is likely many individuals will run media servers, VPN in to home, download a ton of video and use services like VOIP that rely on quality bandwidth. Instead of going piecemeal into this future, let's design for the next fifty years, roll out the hardware, and enjoy a nice long depreciation curve. It will be cheaper in the long run...

Been there, done that. I have 100Mbps fiber (with a real-world throughput of 68Mbps) here in Tokyo, and take for granted the things you mention. It amazes me that the U.S. is so far behind. Bigger country, harder to roll out infrastructure. I understand that part, but the velocity is so much weaker. Rather than being 3 years behind Asia, the U.S. gap seems to be growing daily. We're talking about 1000Mbps to the home here in Japan, and figuring things out. And the U.S. is trying to redefine broadband as 2Mbps!?!?

Just for the record, I'm an ex-pat, so this is constructive criticism here.

T-1 (3, Funny)

Gates82 (706573) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180315)

Great now my boss will want to pay even more for an internet connection at work. Our T-1 wont be broadband anymore. And before the T-1 = slow debate starts, I've suggested alternative implementations.

--
So who is hotter? Ali or Ali's Sister?

Re:T-1 (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180371)

I thought a T1 was a digital signal... isn't it already not broadband?

Re:T-1 (2, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180547)

A T1 is slow by broadband standards. Compared with Europe, I think 2Mbps is actually too slow. I'd set the limit at 5Mbps as a minimum, and probably 10. They chose 2Mbps to make us look bad compared to the rest of the world without looking as totally backwater as we are.

Of course, if the government came back with stats that said the U.S. had 0.0000000001% broadband deployment, people might start suing their broadband providers for calling 768/128 "broadband" and then things would get ugly. On the other hand, maybe that would be a good thing. Hard to say.

Re:T-1 (2, Interesting)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180619)

Get a grip. They can't sue their broadband providers for calling 768/128 broadband, because it is broadband according to the current FCC definition. I'm sure if the FCC redefines it, the providers will change their lingo.

So I don't have broadband? (2, Interesting)

Wog (58146) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180317)

My wife and I share a 1.5Mbps DSL connection with 256k up. I've never had to wish it were faster.

Re:So I don't have broadband? (3, Insightful)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180385)

There's people who think 56kbps is enough. Those people use the internet for emails.

ObSlashdot Meme (2, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181079)

So they're old Korean people?

Re:So I don't have broadband? (5, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180537)

My wife and I share a 1.5Mbps DSL connection with 256k up. I've never had to wish it were faster.

You and your wife are boring. I can saturate both directions on the T1 at work without any help.

If you want to tell us to get off your lawn, just put up a sign.

Re:So I don't have broadband? (4, Funny)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180935)

You and your wife are boring. I can saturate both directions on the T1 at work without any help.

Your boss lets you look at porn at work?

-Rick

Re:So I don't have broadband? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181013)

Your boss lets you look at porn at work?

Some days, I can accomplish it just by running an apt-get upgrade :P At least, the downstream.

But there's so many things to torrent! :D

for the record, no, I'm not engaged in nonstop torrenting. And if I do torrent I usually use the cable modem interface via wifi (we use it for hotel customers.)

Re:So I don't have broadband? (1)

rev_sanchez (691443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181093)

Congress has two reasons to address this. First, we are falling way, way behind other industrialized nations when it comes to communications infastructure. Second, congress passed a bill in the 90's to give tax breaks and hefty regulations changes in exchange for huge upgrades in our national communications system by the telecoms. For the most part the telecoms raised their rates and fees, took the money, and didn't do what they promised.

Finally, it looks like someone is trying to do something about this and a small part of that is clearing up the ridiculous standards used to define broadband availability. I'm glad you are content with your internet access speed but the internet in general is in pretty bad shape these days and American consumers including you (assuming you are American) have been ripped off to the tune of several billion dollars on this deal.

What about uplink speed? (5, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180325)

If the downlink is required to be 2Mbps to count as "broadband", I think the uplink should be a minimum of 512Kbps. Far too many people are stuck on lines that have 128Kbps up and far too easily saturate the uplink and bog the whole connection down.

Re:What about uplink speed? (2, Informative)

grub (11606) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180623)


Far too many people are stuck on lines that have 128Kbps up and far too easily saturate the uplink and bog the whole connection down.

That's why it's handy to have a decent gateway which can prioritize TCP ACKs. If they get lost in the muddle your download speeds get hurt. It's covered here [openbsd.org] . (I link to the OpenBSD pages as that's what I use)

Re:What about uplink speed? (3, Informative)

aegzorz (1014757) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180829)

They do the same thing here in Sweden, they say you'll get 24Mbit broadband (DSL) but the uplink is only 1Mbit. Most people only use the Internet for webbrowsing but more and more use it for VoIP, 1Mbit up is awfully slow when you use services like that.

I currently have a 100/100Mbit Internet connection, but they're offering up to 1Gbit in other parts of my city. They won't really get 1Gbit but certainly somewhere around 400Mbit.

For it to be called broadband I think the bandwidth should have to be symmetric, or at least 2:1.

Why not? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19180347)

After all, they've already completely redefined "broadband" once. It never used to refer to the download speed at all.

Re:Why not? (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180543)

And at one time in the not too distant past 'google' was just a one with a lot of zeros after it...

Re:Why not? (1, Offtopic)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180681)

And at one time in the not too distant past 'google' was just a one with a lot of zeros after it...

That's never been the case. A googol [wikipedia.org] was, though...

Re:Why not? (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181133)

And a googolplex was a one followed by a googol's worth of zeroes.

Although I guess it could also be the place where you kept your googol :)

Re:Why not? (1)

Belacgod (1103921) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180725)

That's "googol."

So when will it be like Japan? (1)

Anarchysoft (1100393) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180351)

The US lags in speed, availability, and value, said Markey, compared to a country like Japan, where most residents can pay $30 a month for 50Mbps fiber connections to the Internet
For years I've paid 35-70 dollars a month for internet speeds that rarely exceed 3Mbps. How long until the next generation of bandwidth is commonly available? And, I really don't agree with folks who say consumers don't need that bandwidth; people have been saying the same thing about nearly every computer performance benchmark for decades and proven wrong again and again. So, are there any large scale infrastructure projects in the works right now to provide great bandwidth in the States?

Re:So when will it be like Japan? (3, Insightful)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180559)

And, I really don't agree with folks who say consumers don't need that bandwidth


I'm going to expand a little on that with a simple line: what about consumers who want that bandwidth? Why should we have to wait for anything to download? And by wait I mean longer than instantaneous.

Re:So when will it be like Japan? (1)

Dputiger (561114) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181137)

Because you are not God, the Internet is a big place with lots going on, and downloading multiple gigabytes of data is never going to be instantaneous (assuming you intend to save it, rather than simply stream it.)

Re:So when will it be like Japan? (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181027)

Lucky you. I'm 18000 feet from the CO and can only get 1.5Mbps (I think I'm currently provisioned at 768Kbps because 1.5M gives too many drops).

PacHell used to have "Project Pronto". Of course, the SBC and AT&T mergers took care of that.

Re:So when will it be like Japan? (1)

Wyzard (110714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181053)

Well, there's Verizon's FiOS fiber service, which can give you 15Mbps down and 2Mbps up for $50/month. (You can also get 30/5, IIRC, but it costs significantly more.) It's not quite Japan's 50Mbps, but it's still pretty good.

I suspect that the 50Mbps service in Japan is available mostly in cities, though, not in rural areas. Much of Japan's population is concentrated in a few cities -- according to statistics I heard from a Japanese tour guide last year, about 10% of the entire population lives in Tokyo -- so wiring up a relatively small geographic area can serve quite a lot of people. In the US we're more spread-out, so deploying broadband service is more expensive for the telcos.

rename it (2, Funny)

Bobtree (105901) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180401)

They're widely misusing the term "broadband" already (just like "modem" and many others), so why not simply define the class of service they want to standardize and give it a NEW NAME instead of abusing existing ones? My vote is for "Standardized Fast Ubernet." You can guess what else the acronym might stand for.

Re:rename it (2, Insightful)

swrider (854292) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180621)

This has always been an indication of the ignorance of the people throwing that marketing-kidnapped term around. 'Broadband' has a specific meaning already, that has nothing to do with 'speed'. If they want to define classes of connection 'speed', why not add BPS designations to terms such as 'high-speed', 'mid-speed', 'low-speed', and 'so-frickin-slow-speed'?

Re:rename it (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180711)

My vote is for "Standardized Fast Ubernet." You can guess what else the acronym might stand for.

SFUN? Good call, cos the internet SFUN!

The drama of SCSI? (4, Funny)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181055)

What kind of SCSI do you have?

SCSI-1
Fast SCSI
Fast Wide SCSI
Ultra SCSI(1.5)
Ultra SCSI(3)
Wide Ultra SCSI
Wide Ultra SCSI(1.5)
Wide Ultra SCSI(3)
Ultra2 SCSI
Wide Ultra2 SCSI
Ultra3 SCSI or Ultra160 SCSI
Ultra320 SCSI

Nah. Just make the term "Broad Band" a standard that is reviewed every 2 years and be done with it. Otherwise, in 20 years we'll be connecting over the Super double wide ultra fast inter tubes of doom .

-Rick

Priceline (1)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180403)

There's obviously not enough third party data to sell at these slower rates.

I thought Broadband Was... (2, Insightful)

Gates82 (706573) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180413)

I don't really like this redefinition. I thought broadband had to do with the way in which data is transferred; ie. the ability to send multiple frequencies or channels, where as baseband can only handle one. I guess my Network+ book is outdated, or soon will be.

--
So who is hotter? Ali or Ali's Sister?

Re:I thought Broadband Was... (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180991)

Well, I don't like the redefinition of

1) "Begs the question..." - now used to mean "raises the question
2) "Chemistry" - in terms of relationships
3) Irregardless - wasn't even a word until the early 20th century, and it doesn't even make any sense given the double negative inherent in the word

On the otherhand, language is a dynamic entity. Words and phrases will eventually mean what everyone else commonly understands them to mean.

Re:I thought Broadband Was... (1)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181049)

I hate the mis-definition too. Broadband is a transmission technology, not a speed. The term itself seems to have been hijacked a while ago, probably by DSL marketing asshats originally lying about offering "Broadband speeds over your phone line!" Now everything faster than 56kbps (including EDGE and EV/DO wireless technologies which are in fact narrowband transmissions) claim to be "broadband."

Some of the more amusing aspects about the legislation are that it leaves DSL out of the new definition (hopefully meaning an end to Quest's misinformation marketing campaign); and some of the oldest actual-factual broadband technology was only 1mbps, which no longer fits the new definition.

A better approach would be to call speeds what they are, such as "7mbps", and drop the not-so-catchy names. If they feel names are more accessible than facts, at least use names that have no implied relationships. A chart of speeds could be like this:

  • Bob Speed - 0 <= 56kbps
  • Fred Speed - 56kbps <= 1mbps
  • Tom Speed - 1mbps <= 10mpbs
  • Jim Speed - 10mbps <= 100mbps
That way when we need to market speeds faster than Jim Speed, we can create Barney Speed without invalidating any of the other terms. There's only so much Ultra-mega-giga-hyper-adjectivization the population can take.

Whoa! (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180445)

I thought 56K was broadband when I upgraded from my 14.4K modem. Of course, that was back in 1998.

Re:Whoa! (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180849)

man that sucks, I was on 768k DSL in 97 in rural Vermont then. It was only $50/month too which I paid for with my part-time job landscaping hotels after school.

What again was broadband? (5, Informative)

dascandy (869781) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180469)

Broadband, as opposed to baseband, is technically defined as anything not at the base frequency of 0Hz. Baseband is at the base frequency and up, broadband is at a higher frequency and up.

FCC can't even seem to get a technicality right.

as long as ... (1)

moseman (190361) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180505)

As long as I can get it paid on the backs of the poor, then I am all for it.

broadband != speed (4, Insightful)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180517)

When I was in college back in the triassic period, broadband had nothing to do with transmission rates, but with the fact that multiple channels were transmitted through a single wire (like TV) over a more broad frequency band than single-channel narrowband transmission, regardless of speed. Every time I hear someone say "broadband" in reference to the speed of some sort of internet connection I sort of cringe inside.

Re:broadband != speed (-1, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180825)

A definition of broadband is, in fact, speed.
In fact, isn't DSL sending miltyple signals down the same wire? hmmmm?

What about cable? why...yes it does!

So you pretty much have nothing to complain about. Stop whining like an old man.

Re:broadband != speed (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180941)

People try to redefine words they do not understand in terms that make no sense in relation to the real technical definition.

T1 (DS1) is not broadband. Ethernet is not broadband. If you mean "high speed internet", say "high speed internet". High is a relative term, so specific uses can be defined and redefined.

Re:broadband != speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19181105)

Broadband is a series of very wide tubes.

Re:broadband != speed (1)

nharmon (97591) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181141)

Thank you! I was hoping someone would explain that broadband had nothing to do with the speeds.

I guess now all we can hope is that the FCC redefines baseband as being speeds of a gig or higher. :/

Truth in advertising (4, Insightful)

grapeape (137008) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180523)

One good thing could come out of this. Setting a definition for broadband will reduce misleading "broadband" offers from cable and dsl companies. Either they raise their data rates or they have to call it something else. Most will choose to increase bandwidth since having to admit they are slower would be an advertising nightmare.

Imagine that, Deomcrats don't understand (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19180531)

Imagine that, Democrats also don't understand the Internet. Broadband isn't a speed. Broadband is using multiple bandwidths multiplexed together to create a single channel. Baseband is using a single band.

For example, Ethernet is a baseband technology. It ranges from 10Mbps to 1Gbps. I guess by the new Democrat definition of the word, it's "broadband" even though it's really "baseband".

I guess even though a Democrat "invented" the Internet, they still don't understand it at all.

But will people make fun of this mischaracterization of the technology the same way they did for the "series of tubes"? (Which, of course, is a fairly good metaphor for the technology behind the Internet.)

I doubt it, because Democrats are assumed to "get it". Even though they clearly don't.

Huh? (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180545)

Well, to quote the Wikipedia article on broadband, "Broadband is always a relative term, understood according to its context." So by definition if the context changes, the meaning will too.

Back in the day broadband was..? "Not dialup".. but times have changed. News: somehting is new! Wow..

Re:Huh? (3, Funny)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180915)

As much as I loath the US Congress, and celebrate Wikipedia, I haven't quite gotten to the point where I think that the the later should be able to overrule the former.

Is it time to blow the Broadband lobby already? (0, Troll)

Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180549)

I thought Fridays were officially "Suck Second Life's Schlong" day on Slashdot. I must not have gotten the TPS memo. Did you use the proper cover sheet?

Of course, every day is "Bash Bush and/or Dibold" day on Slashdot. That, and burning heretics who question the truth of the Protocols of the Elders of Global Warming.

Crow T. Trollbot

Definitions (5, Insightful)

s31523 (926314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180591)

For one, they want 'broadband' reclassified to at least 2mbs

The definition also needs to specify up/down speeds. I don't consider a satellite connection with 1.5Mbs down and 56K up (phoneline) a broadband connection.

Re:Definitions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19180907)

"The definition also needs to specify up/down speeds. I don't consider a satellite connection with 1.5Mbs down and 56K up (phoneline) a broadband connection."

Actually, I believe phone up is maxed out at 33K.

My parents live in the boonies. 200K would be like lightening speed for them. They are lucky to hit 40K down on a good day when the phone gods are smiling on them.

2mbps (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180651)

We get 30Mbps as part of us using utilities - gas, water, heat and electricity is reported through a fiberoptic link and we get 30Mb/s (no servers or anything, but email addresses and basic webpage stuff) to the apartment as part of that. If we want to actually pay, we can easily get 100Mb/s with IP-phone (keep our landline number), streaming TV (Tivo over the net, more or less) and a bunch of cable channels served over IP.

As my SO is running her business from home, however, for now we're staying with the normal landlines and fax numbers (though to be fair they have gotten dramatically cheaper the last few years as well).
 

Re:2mbps (3, Funny)

f1055man (951955) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181147)

I hate you.

adsl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19180673)

i pay 35/month for broadband, thats adsl over the telephone line with 4mbps download and 256kps upload speed and a monthly volume of 10gig, along with a pop mailbox and 50mb webspace.

what?! (1)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180811)

wow, 10gig a month? what, do you like just check email or something? That's insane. I thought transfer quotas went out of fashion with swing music.

768k (2, Informative)

WatchTheTramCarPleas (970756) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180737)

768K seems to be a nice low speed broadband. Large downloads are still doable, and youtube videos just take a few more seconds to buffer than on a faster connection. Podcasts are downloaded automatically in the background, so there is little reason for those to have to be super fast. This is just to serve as an example of working broadband internet under 2mb.

I think you meant... (0, Redundant)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180757)

broadband isn't broadband unless its at least 2Mbps

broadband isn't broadband unless it's at least 2Mbps

Gee, I wonder who's sponsoring this..... (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180805)

So, Congress wants the FCC to label "broadband" as anything faster than 2mbps? Isn't it convenient that most DSL packages are 1.5mbps down? Comcast would have shitfits if they tried to label broadband as 4, 8, or even 10 mbps down.

But I do like the provision that change how a broadband "served" area are labeled. I'm just waiting for Verizon's FIOS to hit my area.

Well, I guess I don't have broadband (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180831)

Well, I guess I don't have broadband at home. I'm currently using 1 MBit down with 125 KBit up. It's not the fastest, but I really don't want to spend $40 a month for internet, since I don't really download videos. I think this is plenty fast for most home users. But I guess that most home users don't need broadband then.

Incorrectly tagged story (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180833)

Come on, someone needs to tag this as: seriesoftubes (ducking and running)

Elemental Watson (1)

Ep0xi (1093943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180885)

OF course that 2mbps is the slowest broadband available
but they invented "Slow broadband" as my 128kbps for two main reasons.
One is to collect data from users, and with higher speeds it's difficult to do.
and the second is "TO COLLECt data from users.
PERiod.

Truth in advertising (4, Insightful)

Perp Atuitie (919967) | more than 7 years ago | (#19180921)

Around here, AT&T and Comcast, among others, have been pushing cheap "broadband" that turns out to be in the 600kbps range. If the hapless FCC is forced to adopt realistic definitions, so much the better for consumers and for the communications industry in the long run. I have yet to find a downside explained in all the lazy cynical-posing comments.

2Mbps seems to be on the low side (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181039)

when I have 100Mbps (OK, uplink limited to 10Mbps). But that's fiber to a switch in the basement of the apartment complex where I live and a TP outlet in my apartment.

For xDSL users the upper limit is 24Mbps for the downlink here...

The pedantic tech says... (4, Insightful)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181041)

Broadband is a signaling method - as long as the Congress is deciding what speed of Internet connectivity is appropriate, can they also legislate a more appropriate term?

Like monkeying with the poverty line... (3, Insightful)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181051)

It's all politics. You redefine "broadband" (in this case, the new definition in a way consumers will like, since they want more of it) so that you can say come election time that only x number of homes have broadband, and blame the lack of availability on the previous administration. (Or you can even say that the number of US homes with broadband went down, though that looks worse if you're called on the definition change.) You can fit a single statistic into a good sound byte, but politicians aren't good at fitting an explanation for why the statistic is ridiculous into a sound byte.

This is similar to changing the poverty formula--or any other similar metric--in advance of an election.

Government in action. (2, Interesting)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181151)

Rather than siting down for a minute and actually, you know, thinking about something, or heaven forbid talking to someone who has thought about it, politicians and bureaucrats just up and make laws. It's sort of like Slashdot, except the rule is "legislate first, then maybe think" instead of "post frist ;-, think second".

The most important difference between broadband and not broadband is Always On (or, as we Mediacom customers say, "Sometimes On"). The definition ought to be stated in terms of connect latency: how much difference is there between the time it takes to establish the first connection of a particular online session and the average connection time during a session? If the first is no different than the average, you have broadband.

The next most important attribute is Quality of Service:

  • How often is the thing down (or, as we Mediacom customers say, "what time of day is it mostly useable")?
  • (more generally): What is the real expected speed?
  • Is my bandwidth shared with a horde of 9-year-olds playing the latest Britney video
  • (or their dads, playing certain other videos)?
  • Does it feel like dialup, since I'm not sure when I will need to reconnect?

The top speed of that connection, and the uplink and downlink speed difference, is important, but less so. Caching, prefetch, and P2P techniques mean that as long as you have anything faster than 9600bps, if it's always on you will have essentially the same online experience as someone with a 2Mbps connection.

Now, with regard to live video audio as a substitute for broadcast media, the faster the better. And 2Mbps is not enough, and is certainly not a magic threshhold, given the QoS concerns above.

"Up to" should be considered deceptive advertising (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181171)

What we need is an FTC rule that advertising any service quality or quantity with the words "up to" or substantially similar language is, by law, considered deceptive. Advertising should have to specify a guaranteed level of service. That would put cable and DSL on the same measurement scale, discourage underprovisioning, and make cellular data transfer rates in ads something you could rely on.

There's precedent for this. At various times in the past, the FTC had to tighten up the definition of "horsepower" for cars and "watts" for audio gear. [angelfire.com]

Then Comcast Isn't Broadband (1)

tompatman (936656) | more than 7 years ago | (#19181205)

I have done speed tests at several different times on my comcast service and typically do no better than 1.5Mbps. I think it is pretty misleading to advertise a 6Mbps connection and get some thing that is 1/4 of that.
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