What is "broadband" anyway?

Dave Isenberg, who has beat many of us at reading through the latest request for proposals for grant applications for ARRA (i.e. stimulus) money, found an interesting definition of broadband. As David quotes:

The NOFA defines broadband in terms of advertised speed (p. 18, lines 384-387):
Broadband means providing two-way data transmission with advertised speeds of at least 768 kilobits per second (kbps) downstream and at least 200 kbps upstream to end users . . .

Ok… I admit we’ve been trying to run our video application with a minimum of 256Kb upstream, and it kinda, sorta works. But in most cases these speeds are either at the end of a long DSL run, or during really congested periods using cable. But, please, if we are going to spend billions in taxpayer funds to provide broadband service to underserved areas, we are should be looking at a minimum of ten times that figure, i.e. 2 megs upstream. At that rate we’ll still be far back in the pack compared to places like Finland and Korea.

This is like saying when we built the Interstate Highway System, we could probably get along with two lanes, as long as they were paved.

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