According to a Notice of Inquiry (NoI), the Commission will initiate a comprehensive, in-depth look at its current standards for broadband deployment and availability, with the stated goal of increasing the national fixed broadband speed benchmark to 100 megabits per second for download and 20 megabits per second for upload. (Current FCC standards reference benchmark speeds of 25 megabits per second for download and 3 megabits per second for upload, originally set in 2015.)
The Commission says that the increases in broadband benchmark speeds are essential in light of the increased use of and demand for broadband access, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The FCC also believes that increased benchmark speeds will help facilitate more widespread internet access in low-income neighborhoods and rural communities.
The FCC’s ongoing efforts related to broadband services fall under section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which addresses issues related to universal broadband access, including deployment, affordability, availability, and equitable access.