FCC Broadband Policy Beginnings

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| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

FCC Broadband Policy Beginnings

As the FCC, USDA, and NTIA get set to disburse $7.2 billion in moneys to telecommunications companies for broadband deployment, penetration, and mapping along with E-Rate type services and tele-medicine, the FCC has to actually come up with a National Broadband Strategy.
"The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act charged the FCC with creating a plan to give all Americans access to broadband. The FCC began the effort, which will include a series of hearings and meetings, on Wednesday by asking for public comment. The FCC must present the plan to lawmakers by Feb. 17, 2010." [Infoweek]
One would have thought that former FCC Chairman Martin would have put a national policy in place, but all he had was a chalk board with "ideas" or guidelines that the telcos could ignore. Now acting FCC Chair Copps has been tasked and he takes this seriously.
"This commission has never, I believe, received a more serious charge than the one to spearhead development of a national broadband plan," FCC Chairman Michael Copps said in a statement Wednesday. [CircleID
The three agencies did  whirlwind tour of America to listen to experts and public opinion about Broadband availability. April 15th is the last day to comment on the NTIA Broadband Grant Program.  The NTIA does break down how their share of the money will be allocated and are working diligently to put in place a grant program for disbursement. The lynchpin is going to be how terms are defined. By terms, I mean broadband, unserved, and underserved.

The other sticking piint will be what companies are eligible to get grant. Certainly, the 20% matching funds will limit the smaller providers. However, the larger companies (like Verizon and TW Cable) are not happy with the Net Neutrality type of conditions on the money.

Back to the FCC: Copps could really use your input on the development of the National Broadband Plan. The FCC "Seeks public input on plan to ensure every American has access to broadband capability. (Dkt No 09-51). If you have thoughts on these elements, the Commission now seeks your comment:
  • The most effective and efficient ways to ensure broadband access for all Americans
  • Strategies for achieving affordability and maximum utilization of broadband infrastructure and services
  • Evaluation of the status of broadband deployment, including the progress of related grant programs
  • How to use broadband to advance consumer welfare, civic participation, public safety and homeland security, community development, health care delivery, energy independence and efficiency, education, worker training, private sector investment, entrepreneurial activity, job creation, and economic growth, and other national purposes.

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