In our work, we refer to both the OECD and ITU definitions of broadband. They are quite different, indicating this is not settled science.
Now the FCC has entered the fray, asking for comments on interpreting broadband.
This is what one online commentator says:
Nicely put, but defining and, even more, “interpreting” broadband may be a tough call. The FCC’s Notice certainly doesn’t make it easy. When last we checked, the FCC upgraded its speed based definition of “basic” broadband to over 200Kbps but less than 768Kbps (uploads and downloads). “I am pleased that the Commission finally moved away from its antiquated definition of broadband as 200 kilobits per second, which had become something of a running joke,” declared one Commissioner after the June 2008 Order. The Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), which is taking applications for broadband stimulus money, defines broadband as “two-way data transmission with advertised speeds of at least 768 kbps downstream and at least 200 kbps upstream to end users.”
But now the Commission notes that just because some ISP advertises service at thus and such a speed doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what the consumer will get. In July, for example, the United Kingdom Ofcom released the conclusions of a six-month investigation about broadband rates. Customers who bought DSL from one of eight different companies may have thought they were getting 8Mbps, Ofcom reported, but on average they were only getting 4.8.