200kbps No Longer Considered Broadband In The US

from the welcome-to-the-slow-lane dept

It took them long enough, but the FCC has finally made the change, saying that 768kbps is now the low-end cut off to be considered broadband. This change was announced back in March — at which point the FCC still ignored its own recommendation and released broadband data that kept the 200kbps cutoff. However, as of last Friday, those of you surfing below 768kbps (which, unfortunately, seems to include my home DSL connection) are officially kicked out of the broadband pool. Welcome to the slow lane.

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Comments on “200kbps No Longer Considered Broadband In The US”

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Net_Lurker says:

Broadband Prices?

200 Kbps was considered broadband in the US till now? Amazing! I thought the US was far ahead in terms of both broadband penetration as well as low rates.

Speaking of which, what’re the average rates there in the US? Here in India, we’re still in the dark ages when it comes to broadband, with residential customers having to pay through their nose if they want ‘high’ speeds.

Here’s a look at what we pay on average (taxes included, latest conversion rates applied):

256 Kbps (kilobits/sec) Unlimited – ~$19.64
384 Kbps Unlimited – ~$26.16
512 Kbps Unlimited – ~$39.25
1 Mbps Unlimited – ~$58.18

Beyond this, there are no unlimited plans that I know of, except for corporate plans which are prohibitively expensive. Speeds also go up to max 8 Mbps for residential customers, with plans like the following being our upper limit:

8 Mbps, 100 GB Limited – ~$523.62

I heard Verizon Wireless provides up to 50 Mbps connections for residential customers in the US? What I’d love to know are the current rates being paid by you guys over in the US (and for others, in their respective countries) for the purposes of comparison.

P.S. Keep in mind that Comcast-culture (torrent blocking etc.) still hasn’t infected Indian ISPs (though we’re dreading the advent of crap like SandVine etc. which is bound to happen sooner or later when they take a leaf out of American ISPs’ books. 🙁 ) So when I say ‘unlimited’, it truly is as unlimited as is practically possible.

P.P.S. Re. speeds, good ISPs here generally promise (and deliver) 80%+ of the rated speeds. So 256 Kbps = 32 KBps (kilobytes/sec) results in an average speed at home of ~30 KBps+ (and similarly for higher speeds).

P.P.P.S. ‘Service’ is a misnomer here, with very few ISPs bothering to provide even a minimally acceptable level of service once they’ve signed you up and started charging you (that never stops BTW, come what may!)

So, what’s your ‘broadband’ experience like?

Jed says:

Re: Re: Broadband Prices? #2

I live in the boonies. Good DSL prices are like:
$19.99 – 256kbps
$39.99 – 3mpbs

Cable in cities is:
$40ish for around 8mpbs

And fiber can be found in major cities:
$55ish for 15mpbs
$140ish for 30mpbs

In my experience you will receive mediocre service from customer support. But you generally won’t need it.

And you’ll get about 80% of the advertised speeds.

However, some times you can upgrade to a commercial package for a few bucks more, or at times less with a phone bundle, and receive amazing support along with 100%+ the advertised speeds and NO THROTTLING. I have a business bundle along with my phone lines and find that I’m saving about $10 per month. Again, I live in the boonies.

R. H. (profile) says:

Re: Broadband Prices?

Quick question, are those prices by the month? I couldn’t imagine 8 Mbps with a 100 GB transfer limit costing over $500 per month but given the other prices you listed it would almost have to be monthly. I go through about 100 GB per month my self and that doesn’t count the other machines on my home network.

Spectere (profile) says:

Re: Broadband Prices?

You’d be surprised how many dial-up users are still in North America, actually. A Canadian friend of mine used to live about ten minutes away from Niagara Falls and couldn’t get DSL or cable. There are also plenty of dial-up users left near larger cities where Internet speeds are plentiful.

So yeah, for some people here 200kbps could still be considered quick.

Umaru says:

Re: Broadband Prices?

You think you have it bad? Think again.
In Ghana this what we pay for “Broadband”
128 Kpbps Download,32 kbps upload = $43/month
256 Kpbps Download,64 kbps upload = $63/month
512 Kpbps Download,128 kbps upload = $184/month
1024 Kpbps Download,256 kbps upload = $231/month

All these are unlimited/uncapped whatever you wanna call it
And we pay happily for it. I am even about to upgrade to the $184/month service. Some other (wireless) providers charge about $2.50/hour.

Thank your stars

RevMike says:

Re: Broadband Prices?

“200 Kbps was considered broadband in the US till now? Amazing! I thought the US was far ahead in terms of both broadband penetration as well as low rates.”

200 kbps made a lot of sense for the “broadband borderline”. 200kbps means that one was getting their service by a technology other than traditional dial-up or ISDN. In residential settings, it means that one is getting DSL or Cable Modem service.

“Speaking of which, what’re the average rates there in the US? Here in India, we’re still in the dark ages when it comes to broadband, with residential customers having to pay through their nose if they want ‘high’ speeds.” a 200kbps line will support a good quality voip service, and will be fine for basic web browsing, but large downloads and video won’t be good.

Basic DSL service is usually provided by the phone companies over their twisted pair infrastructure and typically costs about $20 a month for a 728 kps to 1.5Mbps download bandwidth. Depending on ones distance from the phone company’s central office, and the quality of the line, that speed might degrade some. These speeds start to support video.

Cable Modem service is traditionally much faster, and is delivered by the cable TV companies over their coaxial cable infrastructure. Service typically costs $30 to $50 a month, depending on whether the service is bundled with a TV package. Speeds are typically 5Mbps download. Video and large downloads are well supported. Cable based internet is typically deployed so that a substantial number of homes share a single data channel back to the cable company’s “central office”. If the cable company has over-deployed in one’s neighborhood, one may only get 1Mbps during peek usage times.

Verizon is building out a new infrastructure – FiOS – to support cable TV, phone service, and internet on “fiber to the premises”. The fiber goes to a distribution box at a home or apartment, then the signals are converted to twisted pair for telephone, coax cable for TV and internet. Fiber is not durable enough to string directly to a set-top box or modem, but since the runs of coax are much shorter (less than 100 feet instead of thousands) they can carry much more data. This system typically supports download speed of 20Mbps to 50Mbps and price plans are competitive with the cable companies’.

courtland says:

my so called broadband

Well consider your selves lucky you don’t live in a monopolized area that says 100kbps is broadband. this coast me 29.99 a month plus you have to have the phone service thats 29.99 a month as well. so $60 and a 100kbps sucks. so wat to do when you cant get the company that monopolized your living area to upgrade there internet.

Net_Lurker says:

Re: my so called broadband

courtland, $60 for 100 Kbps is really, really bad. Guess you’ve taken the crown for worst plan so far… (a hollow victory if ever there was one!)

Where’s this “monopolized area” you live in?

What I want to know is, how can companies be so bullish about Web 2.0, rich internet apps, SaaS, browser as an OS (see recent topic on TD) etc., when a vast majority of people are not even connected, and even those who are, have to deal with dial-up speeds at stratospheric prices from monopolies who couldn’t give a damn about the customer?

courtland says:

Re: Re: my so called broadband

Quoted ” Well consider your selves lucky you don’t live in a monopolized area that says 100kbps is broadband. this coast me 29.99 a month plus you have to have the phone service thats 29.99 a month as well. so $60 and a 100kbps sucks. so what to do when you cant get the company that monopolized your living area to upgrade there internet. “

this area is in south east Oklahoma and is Calera, Ok. to be correct. the company is called Cherokee Telephone company. it claims to have up to 6mbps I’ve done online test and personal test I see during the day almost a 100kbps to almost 120kbps peak. Now at night during the week is see up to 150kbps but this is after midnight. and I don’t even bother getting on during the weekend. this company who owns the power line wont allow for other bigger companies to come in and help with the issues we have with the lines.

if you could help let me know.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: UK speed/price

Ahh good old Be. I only sync at ~17Mbit down 1.3Mbit up but it’s rock solid day and night 24/7.

Did you complete the survey they sent around recently? They were asking questions about what we’d think if they introduced traffic shaping or throttling – I responded quite simply – I’ll quit Be and go elsewhere.

Hopefully they’ll get the message.

anon says:

prices in Australia

We have mostly capped plans that dont give a lot of downloads but the speed is ok and improving. You are lucky to get 5 gig at 128 kbs for $40 per month.

I have only just upgraded from dial-up, which was unlimited for $20 a month or just $10 if you put the phone on with them. Therefore I don’t know all the deals but having unlimited broadband plans in Australia is very rare. Paying $50 for 1 or 2 gig, was very common between 2005 – 2007 in Australia, but I could be wrong. It depends on the conditions, eg some require fees if you download over the limit.

Even in big cities our telephone exchanges need upgrading for the higher speeds, so we have a long way to go, despite being one of the top internet using countries. Note the Aus dollar is now worth about 95% of US dollar.

Anonymous Coward says:

Man, some of those speeds/prices are just so low. Just for comparison, I can get these options at my own cable provider in The Netherlands:
(dollarprices are converted by google)

D: 1.6 MBit
U: 500 Kbit
Euro: 19,95
Dollar: 30,88

D: 4 MBit
U: 1 Mbit
Euro: 29,95
Dollar: 46,35

D: 12 MBit
U: 1.5 MBit
Euro: 47,95
Dollar: 74,21

D: 20 MBit
U: 2 MBit
Euro: 69,95
Dollar: 108,26

That’s all without any bandwidth caps or anything. You can use as much as you like.

Net_Lurker says:

Oh, for a bit and a byte of data I crave...

Yes R. H., those prices are indeed by the month, as I mentioned in a follow-up post. Looking at the prices mentioned by Jed, we’re really in the backwaters here when it comes to internet access. Man, internet highway robbery sucks big time! 🙁 Even if we could afford those atrocious prices somehow, we still can’t stickittodaRIAAman since our Internet pipes are all jammed up anyhow! 😉

P.S. Though apparently, the Japanese and even the Europeans (Gaz, Dutch AC et al) have the US beat in this regard… (w.r.t. broadband penetration, speeds and dirt cheap prices).

Anonymous Coward says:

You guys think your high prices suck…try dead silence and camp stories.

Some family and friends go up to Ellicotville NY to ski (hour below Buffalo/Niagara). Only internet was long distance dial up and only a fool would turn on the tv and expect cable. Basically if you didn’t have a dish you were good screwed.

OH USA mixed providers:

128kbs @ $9-14.99 Everyone I think.. — used it – crap
356kbs @ $49.99 RR — used it – rip
1mbs @ $70.ish “Business Class” RR — used it – jip
3mbs @ $86.ish “Business Class” RR — used it – WTF!

Isn’t this like asking someone what their pay rate is. At least to the cable company it is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Broadband? The only “broadband” available for me in the good ol’ USA is cellular or satellite.

Hughes ($300 upfront equipment)
700 Kbps – $60
1.0 Mbps – $70
1.5 Mbps – $80
2.0 Mbps – $120
3.0 Mbps – $190

$20 – Limit 5MB
$25 – Limit 10MB
$35 – Limit 20MB
$45 – Limit 50MB
$60 – Limit 5GB

Net_Lurker says:

Re: Re: That makes me sad to call myself an American

It’s not about Japan being far ahead in terms of technology uptake, that’s fine. (Could also be a cultural thing.) What’s problematic is that the issue is one of infrastructure, which is where we seem to have fallen woefully behind. IMO it should be the government’s responsibility to put our tax rupees/dollars/yen/whatever to work and ensure that its citizens don’t fall behind when it comes to these things. Maybe it’s high time the government classified (high-speed) internet backbones amongst the essential services list?

NET625 says:

WOW you peopple pay alot

I have qwest and this is what they give.
1.5 Mbps $29.99
7Mbps $36.99
12Mbps $46.99
20Mbps $99.99
all of thoes are unlimited and sory I don’t know what the up speed is but I think that the up speed for the 1.5Mbps is 756kbps. And it is very open its just an internet conection. The modem that they give you is not rediculously expencive. And the service from them (qwest) is great.

Jason (profile) says:

Even broadband isn't

I’m just flat out getting ripped off on my “broadband” DSL service. Our provider advertises “Up to 3Mbps, faster in some areas” so then I called in to report that I’m getting a flat maximum of 150k for downloads.

They come out and do a test that says we’re getting 900k, and the guy says, “Well that’s what you get.” I said, look, “I understand if “up to..” means I get a fraction of the speed most of the time, but right now I’m getting a fraction of your 256k, you show me at a fraction of 1Mbps, and I’m paying the rate for a fraction of 3Mbps.” I get the whole fraction thing – just give me the fraction that I’m paying for!!”
“Well, sir in your area…”
“Oh, nononono, it doesn’t say slower in some areas. It says faster in some areas. Give me what I’m paying for.”
“Well, umm…I’m going to have to pass your ticket on to a level 3 tech, blah, blah, blah”
==> Rip-off

Different Mike says:

But when you are in an area like mine...

I’m in Humboldt County California, about 300 miles north of San Francisco. Our internet situation here is horrible.

My home connection is 768k down/256k up for $27 per month with phone service including additional services such as caller ID required in order to receive that rate. Where I work we pay $300 per month for “Business Class” DSL at 1.5M down/1.5M up. I put that in quotes because I honestly can’t find anything that separates it from their other offerings, other than the simple fact that it has a static IP and synchronous download/upload speeds. Yes that was 1.5M, not 15M, and it is the highest upload speed that is offered. Download speeds up to an advertised 6M are available, but those go with a 1M upload speed.

The service is terrible. To them tech support consists entirely of telling you to power cycle your router and sending a ping. If the ping makes the round-trip then they tell you that you that there are no problems. Worst tech support ever.

To top it all off there is apparently only one single, non-redundant fiber line coming in to the county as our backbone. So when this one line goes down (which happens nearly every winter due to storms) the ENTIRE COUNTY is completely disconnected.

Mistoffeles says:


It is hilarious that this FCC declaration is even being made, considering the vast numbers of US residents who cannot even get 200kbps service and whose dialup access is pitiable at best, and often downright laughable.

I have had no less than 512kbps service at a minimum for the last ten years, via cable, DSL or wireless at various locations in Canada from the big city of Calgary right down to a small Native American village of 1500 residents in northern BC.


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