Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Communications Government Network The Internet United States Hardware Technology

FCC Plan To Lower Broadband Standards Is Met With 'Mobile Only Challenge' (arstechnica.com) 145

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Broadband consumer advocates have launched a "Mobile Only Challenge" to show U.S. regulators that cellular data should not be considered an adequate replacement for home Internet service. The awareness campaign comes as the Federal Communications Commission is considering a change to the standard it uses to judge whether broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion. While FCC Chairman Ajit Pai hasn't released his final plan yet, the FCC may soon declare that America's broadband deployment problem is solved as long as everyone has access to either fast home Internet or cellular Internet service with download speeds of at least 10Mbps. That would be a change from current FCC policy, which says that everyone should have access to both mobile data and fast home Internet services such as fiber or cable.

"The FCC wants to lower broadband standards," organizers of the Mobile Only Challenge say on the campaign's website. "Pledge to spend one day in January 2018 accessing the Internet only on your mobile device to tell them that's not OK." The Mobile Only Challenge was organized by Public Knowledge, Next Century Cities, New America's Open Technology Institute, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), and other groups. Participants are encouraged to share their experiences using the #MobileOnly hashtag.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FCC Plan To Lower Broadband Standards Is Met With 'Mobile Only Challenge'

Comments Filter:
  • Ummm, 10Mbps internet service isn't exactly slow. That's faster than my crappy AT&T DSL and I can still stream Netflix, etc. just fine even with another user in the home on the internet.
    • Re:10Mbps (Score:4, Insightful)

      by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @05:40PM (#55903993) Journal

      The problem with mobile isn't typically the speeds. It's the monthly bandwidth limits.

      • As soon as you move away from an interstate a mile or two it drops fast
      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        For me, in Canada, being considered rural and remote with no access besides fixed mobile (4G with a shiny new tower), I get a 250 GB cap, probably with some government subsidy somewhere in there. Speed averages over 10/1 with one bar on the hub.
        Here it is considered an essential service with the plan to connect everyone, ideally at 50/5 but with 5/1 being acceptable for remote rural and 3/1 for the far north. The far north is quite challenging, areas that can contain a couple of Texas's with maybe 35,000 pe

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I guess you don't live in the boondocks. The other problem is erratic signal power. There are places where you only get a strong signal like every 10 minutes or so. This may just be a shitty AT&T problem, but I've seen it happen with Verizon too. It's like, welp... someone can call them, and I guess they have data every 10 minutes... broadband stamp achieved... But When the signal is low you literally can't even check your email it's so slow.

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        I tried explaining this to a guy who is a networking consultant. He said he would be going with cable when he moved. I asked him what his contract said about data limits. He said the sales person told him it was unlimited. I again asked what the contract was. He insisted it was irrelevant. So he got cut of after a few days and had to take an account that was more with what he needed and now pays 4 times as to what I pay.
        This so he can download a movie faster than I can. I still can download faster than I ca

    • It's literally 100 times slower compared to my 1G/100Mbps fibre.
      Half the people in my country can get this speed.
      2/3rds can get 100/20Mbps fibre
      The rest have a combination of ADSL2+, VDSL, 3G and 4G
      By 2022 87% will have fibre to their home.

      • And here I am on 10M ADSL. Honestly, while I suppose it'd be nice to have more speed, I have yet to find the need for it. I can download 720p video faster than I can watch it, and that's my biggest bandwidth requirement.

        On the other hand, the faster the standard, the less I'll get charged for my 'slow' connection, so I'm all for that.

        • I found it handy to have decent upload bandwidth

          I can download media to my phone to watch on the commute home from work if I run out. Having decent upload bandwidth means it doesn't take long to download more over the guest wifi at work.

          I was wrong in my previous post, my speed is 950M/450M not 1G/100M

          years ago I thought 20/10 on VDSL was great and for a while I was happy on a 100/20 fibre plan.

      • by kenh ( 9056 )

        It's literally 100 times slower compared to my 1G/100Mbps fibre.

        Your mobile devices are tethered to a 1 Gig fibre connection? Where do you live? Or did you miss the part where the 10 Mb/sec is a new definition for mobile access?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'd live with fairly reliable 10M LTE for the near term. Some of my rural relatives would dance a jig if they could get it.

    The problem comes in with reliability, pricing, and caps. 10/2 cable for $35 a month with effectively no use cap is a very, very different thing from 10/2 LTE for $80 a month that shuts you off at 20 GB (i.e., 4.5 hours of use per month). If you just focus on the 10/2, you are intentionally being blind to the real difference.

  • i've been on a tmobile 'unlimited' plan for about a year (30gb at max, then 3g speed) it was recently bumped to 50gb before throttling.

    prior to that i've spent a couple years on straight talk's unlimited, 3gb at max speed then throttled to 2g/edge. straight talk wasn't Great. but it was $30 a month and far better than DSL or dialup.

    tmobile, i forget i'm not connected. everything just works. I have to plan big game downloads towards the end of the month or take a laptop to the library, but it's Far better t

    • Currently I am paying for (& seem to be actually be getting it!) 150Mbps. Capped at 1 terabyte, bastards. We've come close but not gone over, yet. I do not see cell service replacing it this year. Maybe in the future.
  • "Pledge to spend one day in January 2018 accessing the Internet only on your mobile device to tell them that's not OK."

    And when the world doesn't come crashing to a halt, these synapse-starved activists will just prove the point that mobile is a perfectly viable alternative in most areas.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I would reach my data cap in a single transaction if I was forced to do my hobby through cellular internet. God forbid I had to do my actual real job using only cell data.

      For the record, my hobby is graphic design-- uploading multiple gigabyte files for printing is a regular occurrence. My job is a consulting engineer. Engineering deliverables tend to be large once you start adding in three dimensional models.

      The point is, I can't do my job OR pursue my hobby in a cellular internet world. Could I live?

      • I would reach my data cap in a single transaction if I was forced to do my hobby through cellular internet.

        Good thing the FCC isn't trying to force you to use just cellular networking, huh? This request for comments has nothing to do with that.

        That said, I didn't think I was living in the 1980s so I assumed I'd be able to pursue whatever hobby and job I wanted in the supposed "richest country in the world".

        The FCC isn't telling you that you cannot pursue your hobby or job.

        we might as well nationalize the infrastructure

        I think the point is that where cellular is the best option, there IS no fixed infrastructure to nationalize. It's not there because it costs money to put it there, with few customers to repay the costs.

        And the secondary point is, if you need gigabit speeds for your hobby or job, then picking someplace t

    • by Anonymous Coward

      WiFi was down at my hotel, so I spent 2 weeks using only cell phones tethered to laptops. I got sick of local TV and watched Amazon and Netflix through my mobile services. And I'm on a pay-as-you-go plan. It ended up costing me an extra bit of cash than my usual monthly charges, but compared to the hotel bill it was not really that much.

      Downloaded and installed updates to an MMO while tethered as well. And the game played fine (well it didn't play that well because our laptops suck for games, but the networ

    • What the hell kind of internet addict would crumble after only a DAY of inadequate internet? Use mobile-only for a MONTH, then we'll talk.
  • ... making wrong assumptions. The FCC wants to classify mobile broadband as 10 mbps. They don't want to lower anything. Fake news is really starting to polute the minds of the gullible.

    • That's not what the article summary says, and that's not what anybody in these comments is claiming, so perhaps you should like work on your reading comprehension before calling other people gullible.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by d0rp ( 888607 )
        Actually, he's right... I had to look it up to be sure, and according to this article [zdnet.com], and the actual FCC document it references [fcc.gov], says that the definition for fixed broadband remains the same, and it's only the mobile broadband definition that is changing.

        First, we propose to maintain the current speed benchmark of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload (25 Mbps/3 Mbps) for fixed broadband, and we also seek comment about other potential benchmarks.

        We seek comment on whether a mobile speed benchmark of 10 Mbps/1 Mbps is appropriate for mobile broadband services. Would a download speed benchmark higher or lower than 10 Mbps be appropriate for the purpose of assessing American consumers’ access to advanced telecommunications capability?

      • by RedK ( 112790 )

        That's not what the article summary says, and that's not what anybody in these comments is claiming

        It's literally the article title, it's in the summary, and its on the activist website linked from the summary. I dunno how you missed it.

        Yes, those people are gullible. They swallowed the fake news that standards are being lowered and are pushing that narrative themselves.

        It is a false statement as that is not what is happening.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The reason ISPs want 10/1 to be recognized as "broadband" is so they can ignore customers who don't have access to 25/3 fixed broadband while still claiming that they're being adequately served. While they're not changing the definition of fixed broadband, they are effectively lowering the standard by arguing that a mobile connection is a viable way to access the internet.

          From Comcast's filing [fcc.gov] with the FCC:

          Leaving aside that the 25/3 Mbps benchmark is an arbitrary cut-off as explained below, any factually-based analysis of the marketplace demonstrates that Americans already have access to a growing number of offerings over varied transmission media, including fixed wireless, satellite, and mobile wireless, which are increasingly capable of very fast speeds. More importantly, Dr. Evans’ analysis ignores the fact that speeds lower than 25/3 Mbps can and do meet the needs of many consumers. As Dr. Christian Dippon explains, “[f]or many people, 10 Mbps service, or even 3 Mbps, is more than adequate.”

          They are explicitly stating that 10mbps down is "more than adequate" for consumers, and even go a step

          • by RedK ( 112790 )

            They are explicitly stating that 10mbps down is "more than adequate" for consumers, and even go a step further by trying to argue that 3mbps down is somehow good enough

            I'm pretty sure that's not what even your quote says. Different people = different needs.

            If 10/1 is considered broadband, they can claim 100% broadband coverage.

            Only from MOBILE sources. Not FIXED sources. You'll never have 100% FIXED broadband coverage. It's just unfeasible in some areas, for economic and geographical reasons.

            So having a set standard of 10/1 for MOBILE is a step up, not down.

            So yes, you're gullible here when you try to claim the FCC are attempting to lower the standard. They are not.

        • You don't seem to understand that what the FCC is doing is accepting 10/1 wireless links as a acceptable alternative to fixed line 25/3 broadband. This allows companies to access grants and bid on projects meant to bring broadband to rural and under-served areas. You think anyone will be laying cable now that they can get away with a much cheaper alternative? I'm afraid you sir are the gullible one
          • by RedK ( 112790 )

            What you people aren't told and don't research for yourselves is that MOBILE and FIXED deployments are followed seperately by the FCC.

            The 2015 had seperate deployment maps for FIXED vs MOBILE. There's a reason there are 2 categorisations.

            This allows companies to access grants and bid on projects meant to bring broadband to rural and under-served areas.

            VS companies not bidding on the projets at all ? I don't see the downside. Unless you're against rural areas having access to at the very least mobile broadband ? Why are you so mean to rural areas ?

            • by dryeo ( 100693 )

              Seems to me, the potential problem is low caps. If a couple of Windows updates maxes out your cap for the month, you still don't really have broadband.

          • by kenh ( 9056 )

            You don't seem to understand that what the FCC is doing is accepting 10/1 wireless links as a acceptable alternative to fixed line 25/3 broadband.

            You don't seem to understand, the 25/3 broadband metric is unchanged - they are attempting to establish a definition for mobile broadband, not fixed...

  • by Ronin Developer ( 67677 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2018 @06:02PM (#55904115)

    It seems to me that the FCC has been lowering its standards ever since Ajit took over control. Nothing new here.

  • During 1992 election time, Jay Leno made joke on Dan Quayle. "How do you improve mileage of US cars?". Dan Quayle's solution was to increase the size of the gallon. Once again they are going to improve broadband coverage in USA by redefining the broadband.

    • Yep. The Republicans are pushing this so that their crony ISP buddies don't have to build the "broadband" infrastructure that they promised to, and that they charged their customers for.
    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      Once again they are going to improve broadband coverage in USA by redefining the broadband.

      It's a meaningless metric, are you seriously arguing that 10 Mb/sec is an intolerable connection speed?

      If the FCC declared "Broadband" to be 10 Gb/sec, would it make your home connection any faster? Why does defining it at 10 Mb/sec somehow impact your life in any meaningful way?

    • Dan Quayle's solution was to increase the size of the gallon.

      You know, when Leno or Jon Stewart or Steven Colbert say completely outrageous insulting nonsense everyone assumes that it is supposed to be a joke. (Kathy Griffin had to go completely bonkers before she got called on the "joke" she made, but she expected we would all assume it was a joke to start with.) When a Republican politician says what is obviously a joke, everyone has a hissy fit and thinks he's serious.

      I think "increase the size of the gallon" is a perfect joke answer to a complicated question tha

  • My mother's only option for network at her rural house was a very old, very poor DSL line that was around 30kBps at times (yes, bot even mbs).

    I got her a T-Mobile hotspot, and after that she was about to get a good 5-10MB/s, almost all the time. That meant she could actually watch HD Netflix. That meant she could download photos in a reasonable time. It was a terrific replacement for infrastructure that was going to take many years to get better.

    The ONLY downside is not related to physical equipment - th

    • by dryeo ( 100693 )

      That's how it is working in Canada, if you are considered remote rural with no other choices, as I am, I get a 250GB cap for the same price as a 10GB cap in town. This is what is called fixed mobile, using a hub rather then tethering. The phone number isn't even currently activated.

      • That would be perfect, even with a somewhat lower cap of 100 GB it would be plenty for lots of people. That's a really great solution to help rural users.

        She also has a hub (the mobile hotspot) that technically has a phone number but is not usable as such (cannot make calls, does not support SMS).

        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          This was the middle plan, not sure what the limits on the other plans were as 250GB seemed good.
          The hub does have 2 phone jacks and my neighbour, who seems to have a better relationship with the ISP's representative got her phone connected for $10 extra, supposedly I can do the same in a couple of months. It receives SMS as well, view-able through the web interface, but no way to send. I'd guess I could plug a phone in and access 911 if needed.
          Complaints, the hub at $300 ($12.50 a month over 2 years) was to

    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      I got her a T-Mobile hotspot, and after that she was about to get a good 5-10MB/s, almost all the time. That meant she could actually watch HD Netflix. That meant she could download photos in a reasonable time. It was a terrific replacement for infrastructure that was going to take many years to get better.

      Wait, you mean 10 Mb/sec is actually a real-world useful bandwidth rate? The way folks here are reacting you'd think this was slower than dial-up!

  • Why bring second device on vacation or pay for hotel WiFi? E-mail, Photos, Netflix (which T-mobile currently includes), everything else works great. Can set up a hotspot if I need bigger screen/keyboard/etc. Using 1GB of data for 3 hours of emails/tweets seems insane, I had 500MB data pass stretch for a week on vacation. Sure, there is some convenience to faster/higher limit home WiFi, but we are talking about a costly government mandate here. Why prop up dying technology when gigabit LTE is around the corn

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I live in a major metropolitan area and I dream about 10Mbps speeds on my LTE4 phone. The tower congestion is the rate limiting factor here. If I want good LTE performance, I just need to drive to a rural area where I have a clear shot to the tower and just a few other users. This isn't hyperbole. I get better LTE performance (order of magnitude) off the coast of NJ or rural PA than I do in Washington, DC.

    Build more towers damn it!

  • What we need to do is have both the FCC and Congress limited to 10Mbps for over a month! Wouldn't that be a riot if Russian/Ukranian/Saba hackers switched the BGP map for both FCC and Congress's carriers during that same period? I'm only dreaming of course...
    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      Exactly what horrors do you imagine will befall FCC staffers and Congress Critters when their HOME internet is limited to 10 Mb/sec?

      You realize this isn't a speed LIMIT, it's a target for the MINIMUM SPEED to qualify for broadband - right?

  • "Pledge to spend one day in January 2018 accessing the Internet only on your mobile device to tell them that's not OK."

    To prove what? To accomplish what? How will the [FCC | ISP | Anyone] know what you did? How exactly does this influence the FCCs decision?

    This will be even less effective than Hashtag Activisim, like #BringBackOurGIrls [independent.co.uk] - at least with hashtag activism you can see how many people support you.

  • Fire Island, NY is a sand barrier island near NYC. It is covered with vacation homes, and is a nice place to spend a weekend on a beach. When a hurricane took out the existing wireline phone network, Verizon worked very hard to replace it with a cellular network. Same thing here. No messy union employees. No real estate issues. Just a tower put up by contract monkeys.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    declare all_my_problems_fixed = true;

    Pai is a genius! /s

    Meanwhile, my work actually requires me to do something about the problems. Imagine that.

  • Fuck Ajit Pai
  • If cellular packet data were sufficient speed, we would still be using dial up modems because that is all the speed you need. 10mbps cellula, with the packet lag and dropped packets, has throughput more like a 54 kBPS dialup modem and 3G (which most of the country has as a best signal) is like a 14,400 dialup modem. Yeah, you can get some email and stream low-res but you need to be on wifi to an actual broadband connection to do anything serious. When the FCC upped the definition of "broadband" from 12
  • Even though Ajit Pai won't listen to them, maybe the next FCC chair can look into it after Trump leaves office?

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"

Working...