Ajit Pai-proposed upgrade to 25Mbps starts paying off for rural ISPs


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More than 106,000 rural homes and small businesses in 43 US states will get access to 25Mbps broadband at some point in the next decade thanks to a Federal Communications Commission policy change.

The FCC’s Connect America Fund (CAF), which distributes money to ISPs in exchange for new broadband deployments in underserved areas, had been requiring speeds of just 10Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream over the past few years. But FCC Chairman Ajit Pai led a vote in December 2018 to raise the standard for new CAF projects to 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up.

While Pai often claims—with no evidence or with incorrect data—that his net neutrality repeal and other deregulatory policies are increasing broadband access, this decision actually will have a modest impact on broadband speeds in some rural areas.

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