GOA: Broadband Benchmark Speeds May be too Slow


A new report from the Government Accountability Office encourages the Federal Communications Commission to evaluate benchmark broadband speeds. The report states, “We recommended that the FCC determine whether its current definition of broadband really meets the needs of small businesses.” Currently, the benchmark speeds for broadband are 25 megabits per second download, and three megabits per second upload. However, recent surveys suggest small businesses may need a download speed of 50 megabits per second. The GAO referenced a 2019 USDA report on rural broadband and agriculture that shows as technology advances, volumes of data needed to manage agriculture production grow. The USDA report says speeds in excess of 25/3 megabits per second with more equal download and upload speeds will likely be necessary. Further, GAO says small businesses will likely benefit from federal funding provided by the FCC and USDA to expand broadband deployment. Roughly eight percent of small businesses in the U.S. currently lack access to broadband.