A federally subsidized program called ConnectHome is designed to help low-income families get broadband Internet access, but it’s using a speed limit of 4 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up. That has irritated some U.S. senators, including Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Angus King of Maine, reports ArsTechnica.

Of course, there’s no objective measurement of “broadband” – it’s entirely subjective, which means subject to argument, as the article notes:

Broadband speed standards have also been controversial at the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC raised its definition of “advanced telecommunications capability” from 4Mbps/1Mbps to 25Mbps/3Mbps last year, angering ISPs that wanted lower speeds to count toward broadband deployment figures.

Still, the senators note that USDA, which runs ConnectHome, sets a 10 Mbps download floor for subsidized loans for building broadband in another program, which seems a little inconsistent, at best.

Hereabouts, phone company FairPoint offers a 4 Mbps download as its cheapest DSL service over copper lines, with options for 15 and 30+ Mbps if you want to pay more.  Comcast, the biggest cable provider in the state, seems to offer 10 Mbps downloads as its cheapest option.


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