Officials at the FCC confirmed last Friday that a draft Notice of Inquiry (NOI) is now circulating among the FCC’s commissioners for consideration of an upward adjustment in the minimum broadband Internet access speeds that would meet the definition of “advanced telecommunications capability” for the purposes of Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. In implementing Section 706, the FCC decreed initially that Internet services providing both download and upload transmission speeds of at least 200 Kbps would meet the threshold of advanced communications capability. Although the FCC raised that threshold to 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream in 2010, those speeds are now widely considered to be inadequate in today’s rapidly-evolving broadband environment which increasingly is dominated by high-bandwidth online video streaming and cloud computing services. As part of the draft NOI, the FCC is expected to solicit stakeholder input on whether the broadband threshold should again be raised and where minimum download/upload speeds should be set in redefining what constitutes a broadband service. Sources at the agency say that the draft NOI is proposing a minimum download threshold of 10 Mbps that the commission would define as a “high-use” case that supports high-definition (HD) video streaming and HD voice calls. For uploads, the FCC is pondering a minimum threshold speed of 2.9 Mbps. If enacted, the revised thresholds are expected to increase the number of Americans who are deemed to lack access to broadband for the purposes of Section 706. (Statistics released in 2012 show that 6% of the U.S. population lacked access to broadband service as defined by the current FCC benchmarks of 4 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream.) Officials did not specify when the FCC will vote on the NOI.