Forget 1Gbps – the cable industry says you don’t even need 25Mbps

Cable Internet Speeds 25 Mbps

There are times when it’s easy to picture cable companies as Mr. Bumble, the orphanage headmaster in Oliver Twist (i.e., “Please, sir, I want some more bandwidth!” “MORE BANDWIDTH?!!!??!”). We bring this up because Ars Technica has spotted a new FCC filing made by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association in which the cable lobbying group argues that the average consumer doesn’t even need a connection speed of 25Mbps, let alone faster ones like the 1Gbps connections offered by Google Fiber.

MORE NCTA GOODNESS: Top cable lobbyist urges more ISPs to slap users with data caps

The NCTA made this filing in response to the FCC’s proposal to redefine broadband as any Internet service that delivers download speeds of 25Mbps or higher, versus the current definition of 4Mbps or higher. You’ll be unsurprised to know that the cable industry thinks that you should be happy with the 4Mbps gruel it’s serving you since you don’t really need to stream lots of videos at once or anything.

Netflix, for instance, bases its call for a 25Mbps download threshold on what it believes consumers need for streaming 4K and ultra-HD video content — despite the fact that only a tiny fraction of consumers use their broadband connections in this manner, and notwithstanding the consensus among others in the industry that 25Mbps is significantly more bandwidth than is needed for 4K streaming,” the NCTA writes. “Meanwhile, Public Knowledge asserts in conclusory fashion that an ‘average’ US household constantly streams at least three high-definition movies simultaneously while also running various ‘online backup services and other applications’—without providing any evidence indicating that such usage is at all ‘average.'”

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the NCTA try to insist that we don’t really need faster Internet services, as chairman Michael Powell once said that the push to deliver 1Gbps service was “an irrelevant exercise in bragging rights.” All the same, we can at least understand the argument that the average consumer doesn’t need a 1Gbps connection just yet, but telling us we don’t need even a 25Mbps connection is something new entirely.

Ars Technica
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