Monday, February 2, 2015

FCC Changes Broadband Definition

Access to broadband is an issue in nearly every corner of the Commonwealth. 

In some areas, affordability is an issue.  In others, older buildings present problems providing access.  In rural areas, geographic and low population densities create challenges.

As the internet continues to expand and more people use it for more functions such as watching movies, the definition of broadband has been pressured as well. 

This week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) changed its definition of broadband from 4Mbps/1Mbps to 25Mbps/3Mbps (Mbps = Megabits per second and download/upload speeds). 

Nationwide 17% of Americans or 55 million people lack access to broadband service.  in Virginia, 30% of our localities do not have access to broadband and 45% or 62 counties are underserved.

You can see how this plays out on the map on the left.

Broadband access is also an issue in Northern Virginia.  While fiber optic service might be available to each address, it is not available in every community or every building. 

Broadband is just as essential today as electricity, water and sewer service, and is a critical component of creating jobs, education, and ensuring quality of life.  The FCC's decision to change the definition of broadband further underscores how long we have to go in Virginia. 

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