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Will broadband internet definition include online gaming?

September 18, 2009

Wireless phone and broadband internet provider AT&T may have hurt its image with the online gaming community in comments to the Federal Communications Commission seeking to exclude gaming from the offical definition of broadband services.

The FCC has been soliciting comments from ISPs, the wireless industry and consumer groups about how to define broadband internet as it crafts a National Broadband Plan for expanding high speed internet across the country.

AT&T's filing included a comment that, for Americans without wireline broadband service, "the pressing concern is not the ability to engage in real-time, two-way gaming, but obtaining meaningful access to the internet's resources and to reliable email communications and other basic tools that most of the country has come to expect as a given."

The gaming community took offense that AT&T called gaming an "aspirational" service rather than an essential one. After all, to gamers fast two-way connections on the internet through PCs and consoles like the XBox 360 are how they communicate online in live games.

A battle over how to define broadband high speed internet means some service providers could be trying to downplay the notion that anyone has a right to a certain level of speed or service.

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