The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States recently confirmed that it is looking into upgrading its definition of broadband from the current 4Mbps to 10Mbps.
Ars Technica reported that the FCC may even consider bumping up the minimum broadband requirement to 25Mbps.
This may be linked to Netflix’s recommendation of a minimum downlink speed of 5Mbps for HD video streaming and 25Mbps for “Ultra HD 4K” streaming.
The United States currently has an average download speed of 24.5Mbps – well above the possible 10Mbps requirement.
South Africa falling behind
While the FCC has nothing to do with South African telecoms, it does give an indication of where international standards are going.
According to Ookla’s Net Index website, which uses data from millions of recent test results from Speedtest.net, the average download speed in South Africa is 5.6Mbps.
The Net Index website further shows that the country’s average mobile broadband speed is 6.9Mbps.
This means that South Africa’s average Internet speed will be well below the FCC’s requirement of 10Mbps to be called a broadband service.
In fact, Telkom’s 2Mbps and 4Mbps ADSL services will also not qualify as broadband under the FCC’s planned speed increase. Even Telkom’s 10Mbps ADSL service will not produce real-world speed of 10Mbps.
Some progress on broadband speeds
There is some good news for South African broadband users. Telkom is planning to launch its first 100Mbps fibre to the home (FTTH) products this year.
Vodacom, MTN and other players have also indicated that they are planning to offer FTTH products soon.