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The update proposed by Ajit Pai at 25 Mbps starts giving results to rural areas


A map of the USA with lines that represent broadband networks.

More than 106,000 rural and small businesses from 43 US states will have access to 25Mbps broadband at some point in the next decade thanks to a change in policy of the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC Connect America Fund (CAF), which distributes money to the ISP in exchange for new deployments of broadband in disadvantaged areas, has required speeds of only 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps of water over the last few years. But FCC President Ajit Pai led a vote in December 2018 to raise the standard for new CAF projects at 25 Mbits downwards and 3 Mbps.

Although Father often requests – without evidence or incorrect data – that its repeal by net neutrality and other liberalizing policies increase access to broadband, this decision will have a modest impact on the Broadband speeds in some rural areas.

Yesterday, the FCC announced that its December 2018 vote would yield tangible results: 186 Internet providers accepted a total of $ 65.7 million in additional annual funds and "pledged to deploy a 25 / 3Mbps to 106,365 households and small businesses that otherwise would have only received a 10/1Mbps slower service. "Carriers had previously agreed to deploy 25 Mbits / 3Mbps in 334,443 locations, so that the additional placements announced yesterday they contribute the total to 440,808.

It will take nearly a full decade for all these homes and companies to get the service. Under the financing conditions, the FCC said that ISPs "must deploy a 25 / 3Mbps service up to 40% of their locations by the end of 2022 and increase deployment by 10% per year until the final project is completed of 2028 ". Here are the ISPs that receive the new financing.

Ten years is a time of long deployment, even according to FCC standards. In August 2015, the FCC decided to distribute 1,500 million dollars in annual support to attend 3.6 million households and companies and required companies to end their deployments by the end of 2020.

The new 25Mbps / 3Mbps rule is not automatically applied to pre-existing CAF projects, but the FCC gave carriers the opportunity to obtain more funding in return for complying with the new norm in previously funded projects. About 92% of the new financing offers were accepted, the FCC said.

25 Mbps not so fast according to modern standards

25Mbps / 3Mbps is not as fast as current standards: a Netflix 4K stream can only use up to 25 Mbps. In January 2015, the FCC decided that the progress of broadband nationwide should be judged based on whether the Americans had access to a minimum speed of 25 Mbits / 3Mbps, but that they continued to use the oldest 10Mbps / 1Mbps norm for the CAF program until the December 2018 vote.

Gigabit home Internet services are now common deals for cable and fiber companies. While rural areas tend to lag behind, some rural areas have gigabit service thanks to municipal broadband.

The new FCC-funded deployments will not mess up the nation's broadband breach: a recent analysis of the FCC data found that 21.3 million Americans still do not have access to a band connection fixed width of at least 25 Mbits / 3 Mbps. However, 25Mbps / 3Mbps is an improvement on what many rural areas can access today, and it is faster than otherwise required by the old rules of the FCC.

"Today's announcement means that many more rural Americans will have access to a high-speed broadband service that will allow them to participate fully in the digital economy: entrepreneurship, telemedicine, precision agriculture, online education and much more, "Father said after announcing the new funding. "This is another example of how the FCC works hard to close the digital divide".

FCC-financed programs can reach a gigabit. With the disbursement of the FCC Connect America Fund for 2015 that will end in 2020, Pai has proposed a replacement fund of $ 20.4 million that could connect up to four million households and small businesses over the next 10 years with "broadband of maximum speed ". The minimum speed for this new fund could still be 25 Mbits / 3 Mbps.

The Connect America Fund is one of the universal service programs of the FCC, which are paid by the Americans through installments to telephone bills. Father recently proposed a new budget limit for universal service that could limit the number of poor people who can receive voice and broadband subsidies.

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