AT&T Defines "Broadband" and Gaming isn't Part of it

by Annette Gonzalez on Sep 06, 2009 at 10:40 AM

Communications giant AT&T has earned the ire of the gaming community after its comments to the FCC regarding the definition of "broadband." Their argument is gaming is not a vital part of the internet landscape, but rather an "aspirational service." Here is part of the statement from AT&T:

"For Americans who today have no terrestrial broadband service at all, 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."

AT&T states that the core definition of "broadband" should be applications of the internet that help people "learn, train for jobs, and work online." While games have been used in some instances for educational purposes and job training, there is an argument about whether or not we actually "need" online gaming. ESA Vice President Kenneth Doroshow took issue with AT&T's stance, responding:

"What AT&T describes as aspirational services are no less important to the future of the Internet than email and web browsing were to the past and are today. Online video games are a meaningful part of our participative culture. They remove geographic barriers, connecting people from across the country and around the world. They teach cooperation, cultivate leadership skills, and empower users to express their creativity."

The FCC has not yet reached their official definition of broadband, and AT&T has not responded to Doroshow's comment.