July 20, 2022

Manchin, King, Bennet, Portman Applaud Newly Proposed FCC Broadband Standard

The proposed 100 mbps standard for broadband connections follows Senators’ bipartisan letter to FCC Chair Rosenworcel in March of last year

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Angus King (I-ME), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rob Portman (R-OH) applauded the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) newly proposed standard for broadband connections as 100 megabits per second (mbps) download or faster. The proposed change will improve Internet connectivity for families across West Virginia and the United States, particularly in rural communities.

“As rural communities across the country begin to see the massive impacts of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s historic investment in affordable broadband technology, we must make sure everyone has the high-speed connections needed to fully engage in 21st century life,” said the Senators. “To avoid lagging behind in our increasingly connected world, rural residents need the ability to work remotely, video conference with their loved ones, and access vital services like distance learning or telehealth. The current federal broadband standard of 25 megabits per second download speed has proven to be insufficient for these needs, and must be significantly updated to ensure reliable service. We’re glad Chair Rosenworcel has heard our calls to modernize this definition, and urge the FCC to finalize their decision on the standard as soon as possible.”

In March of last year, the Senators urged then-Acting Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Jessica Rosenworcel, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese to support the 100 mbps standard. In their letter, the Senators encouraged the Administration to prioritize unserved Americans before upgrading to higher speeds elsewhere, which the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) accomplishes by providing $65 billion for reliable, high-speed internet for every American. Additionally, the IIJA includes a requirement that unserved locations with download speeds of less than 25 mbps are connected first. The Senators’ letter also highlighted the modern demands of Internet connectivity and how the current definition does not come close to meeting them.

A timeline of Senator Manchin’s work to expand broadband access can be found here.