Not so fast, or so says the Federal Communications Commission. The Wall Street Journal’s Amy Schatz explains: “With two months to go until the FCC is scheduled to unveil its plan for improving broadband service across the U.S., agency officials seem to be settling on relatively modest speeds for rural areas.”
The FCC is preparing to set a minimum Internet speed for unserved Americans (most of whom live in rural areas.) FCC officials are “looking at speeds in the 2-4 mbps range,” according to Schatz. That’s none too fast. Rep. Rick Boucher, a Democrat from southwest Virginia and chair of the house Communications, Technology and Internet Subcommittee suggested in a letter that 80% of Americans should have access to 50 mbps service by 2015.
The FCC estimates that it could cost from $20 to $350 billion to extend broadband to all Americans. (Quite a range, eh?) The federal stimulus bill had $7 billion for this work.