...the point of changing the definition is so that the cable companies can't point to your plan and call it the "Extra super good internet plan."
And why can't they? If the FCC changes the definition of broadband so the cable companies can't call it "broadband", then renaming it "Extra super good internet" is exactly the sort of thing they'll do. They'll just use some non-technical marketing language to describe it.
The point is essentially a technicality: Raise the definition so that most typical plans don't count as broadband. Which makes it harder for the telcos to justify charging broadband prices for sub-broadband service. Which, hopefully, will either reduce prices for the low end of things so that more people can access it, or encourage the companies to upgrade their infrastructure to support the new speeds.
I don't see how it would have that effect without price controls. Since there's no standardized technical definition for "broadband" as it relates internet connection speeds, it's a meaningless term. The problem is that the way the FCC is using the term to measure ISP deployment progress is based on a moving target. From TFA:
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 said that advanced telecommunications capability must “enable users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications using any technology.” Wheeler’s proposed annual report says the 4/1 definition adopted in 2010 “is inadequate for evaluating whether broadband capable of supporting today’s high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video is being deployed to all Americans in a timely way.”
Well, of course it's inadequate, because those things have become more demanding of bandwidth, because as more people have higher-speed internet access, sites and services take advantage of this fact and offer products that require it. Netflix video streaming started in what, 2007? HD videos on YouTube didn't roll out until 2009. I don't think playing word games by redefining terms will help anything.
If you want to make federal dollars dependent on a deployment/upgrade schedule, then make a schedule. Say "99% of users must have access at minimum down/up speeds of X/Y in 5/10/15/20 years", doubling the X & Y every 5 years (or whatever). Don't say "well yesterday 4 Mbps was broadband, but today Netflix offers 2160p 3D video, so we're going redefine our standard to whatever Netflix's top offering requires." (Yes, I know that's not exactly what they're doing, but it's close).
I'm no shill of the providers here - I think the effective monopolies have resulted in a great deal of harm to consumer choice and product quality - but this particular proposed action of the FCC strikes me as silly. Reclassifying them as common carriers and Congress banning anti-competitive laws that prohibit municipal broadband would go a great deal further toward fixing the problem IMHO. If you want internet to be a utility, treat it like a utility. If you want it to benefit from free market forces, make sure customers have real choices among competing products.