Recently there have been a serious debate between the FCC and major telecoms about the minimum rate for broadband. It’s pretty obvious that there’s a strong disagreement between most customers and their ISPs. For the most part rural ISPs are pretty terrible. If you live outside of a major city it’s unlikely that you’ll have a very fast internet service. For a country of our size and population, we have an extremely large portion of our population that does have access to the internet, however we don’t have the deepest penetration of the internet in the world. Which for a country of our wealth that is something of a shame. We’ve been investing, through governmental grants since the middle of the 90’s and we haven’t seen the expected return on investment that we’d expected as investors. We paid for companies like Verizon and Comcast to invest in our network, and I mean we, as in the tax payers. We’re paying for them to get rich off of grants.
Smaller countries like the Netherlands and the UK have significantly greater penetration. Sure they have smaller populations than we do, but they also have significantly faster internet speeds than we do across the board including rural areas. Korea has speeds an order of magnitude higher than we do, despite the fact that we’re a significantly richer country than South Korea.
One of the first moves in a long time that the FCC has done that is a positive move in a really long time. As of today, the FCC has decided that the minimum speed for broadband must be 10mbps which is a huge step in the right direction. This will change the minimum threshold for any investment by a company to earn a grant to increase from 4mbps to 10mbps. This is the right direction for our country and I’m really excited about the possibilities. It means that the FCC is starting to really understand that the telecoms don’t fully have our best interests in mind when they make their arguments. We’ll see what happens in the upcoming months.