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Re: [802SEC] Conference Call - 26 August - 2:00 p.m. CDT - FCC Request for Help to Define "Broadband"

On 8/26/09 8:33 AM, Mike Lynch wrote:
Dear EC and RR-TAG,

A friendly reminder of today's call - as if you haven't been loaded up with
other emails on this topic!


Some thoughts on the topic which will hopefully accelerate the discussions on the call. Much of this is in the realm of stating the obvious, but I do believe that the obvious does need to be crisply and definitively stated for this task.

  1. I don't believe that we are actually trying to define "Broadband"
     What I think we are trying to do is only to define the term
     "Broadband" when it is used as an adjective in the context of
     describing the bandwidth of wide area communications services in
     general and subscriber access (especially residential) services in

  2. The job that we are trying to accomplish here is to provide a
     definition for "Broadband" that will be used in U.S. Federal
     legislation to define the minimum bandwidth required for access
     and supporting backbone communication services to meet national
     minimum standards that will be the subject of the legislation.

  3. In this context, there is likely to be a strong push (from
     incumbent carriers) to attach this label to any residential
     subscriber access service which provides a data rate greater than
     the best that can be provided via an analog POTS line, i.e. 56 kpbs.

  4. I am of the personal belief that, for the intended purpose, there
     needs to be separate definitions for fixed base services as
     contrasted with mobile services.
     (Note that fixed based service may be (partially) provided by
     wireless rather than cabled means, thus the particular terms that
     I have chosen.)

  5. Another aspect of access service which will muddle the picture is
     shared vs. dedicated bandwidth for a given customer. Even if we
     can't figure out how to work that into whatever definition we come
     up with, we still need to note that it is an issue in terms of the
     ultimate usable bandwidth available to the end customer.

  6. In an earlier message to this group, Johnny Dixon indicated that
     there was a definition for "Broadband" in the ITU-T  Recc. I.113
     vocabulary which set the floor at 1.544 Mbps.

  7. Much of what is currently peddled by carriers to customers in the
     U.S. as "Internet Service" (and thus alleged to be "Broadband")
     does not even meet the lowest criteria of the ITU-T  Recc. I.113
     vocabulary immediately above. The use of ISDN BRI as such would be
     an example.

  8. As I said in my earlier message, the job of a broadband network is
     to provide the needed communication service for an (or set of)
     application(s) and not get in the way. Thus any numeric definition
     of "Broadband" will tend to move up over time as society's use and
     expectation of the applications that can be supported over
     broadband services expands.

As an anecdote, it is amusing to me how the growth in available speeds for Ethernet has distorted public opinion. 10 Mbps is still an enormous amount of bandwidth from an individual user point-of-view. Most members of the public (not realizing that their home access networks, wireless and cell phone networks run at less speed than this) would not even consider buying a hub for their home that "only" supported 10BASE-T.

I hope this helps. See you on the telephone in a little bit.

Best regards,

Geoff Thompson
GraCaSI Standards Advisors


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