Analyst: FCC plan should redefine broadband

The FCC is in the process of redefining U.S. broadband standards. The current definition is having 200 Kb per second in at least one direction.

"That falls an order of magnitude below global averages," wrote Lisa Phillips, senior analyst for eMarketer, in a note released by the market research firm this morning. "The US does not even make the top 10 list of global 'broadband leaders,' which measures household penetration and quality of connection."

The FCC's broadband plan coming out in February, which may include faster broadband benchmarks, may substantially affect U.S. household broadband penetration, "if cable and satellite connections--the dominant forms of digital broadband--prove slower than advertised," she said.

She expects the biggest increases in broadband use to come from consumers over 55 years old as they adopt Internet-enabled MP3 players, netbooks and smartphones.

Shown here is a chart showing the predicted rate of growth for Internet access and use.