Wednesday, April 7, 2010

FCC Sets Broadband Plan Agenda

In follow-up to the release of its National Broadband Plan last month, the FCC published its action plan for implementing the key recommendations. This agenda explains the purpose and timing of more
than 60 rulemakings and other notice-and-comment proceedings the Plan recommends for FCC
action. Most of the items will be implemented through a series of open, participatory notice-and-comment proceedings.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the court ruling earlier this week vacating its 2008 order on Net Neutrality would not deter or delay the National Broadband Plant.

The 2010 Broadband Action Agenda focuses on four key goals:

1. Promote World-Leading Mobile Broadband Infrastructure and Innovation

  • Seek to make an additional 500 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum available for mobile
    broadband within the next ten years.

  • · Increase opportunities for unlicensed devices and innovative spectrum access models.

  • Expand incentives and mechanisms to reallocate or repurpose spectrum to higher-valued

  • Improve the transparency of spectrum allocation and utilization.

2. Accelerate Universal Broadband Access and Adoption, and Advance National Purposes Such as Education and Health Care

  • Carry out a once-in-a-generation transformation of the Universal Service Fund over the next
    ten years to support broadband service. This will be achieved by converting existing subsidy
    mechanisms over time from "POTS" (plain old telephone service) to broadband, without
    increasing the size of the fund over the current baseline projection.

  • Upgrade the E-rate program, which has successfully connected public libraries and K-12
    classrooms, to benefit students and others across the country by making broadband more

  • Reform and upgrade the Rural Health Care Program to connect more public health facilities
    to high-speed Internet facilities and to foster telemedicine applications and services. Create a
    Health Care Infrastructure Fund to support deployment of dedicated health care networks to
    underserved areas.

  • Create a Connect America Fund to extend broadband service to unserved areas of the nation
    and to ensure affordable broadband service in high-cost areas where support is necessary.

  • Create a Mobility Fund to bring all states to a baseline level of "3G" (or better) wireless

3. Foster Competition and Maximize Consumer Benefits Across the Broadband Ecosystem

  • Enhance broadband and marketplace choices for small businesses and mobile providers by
    establishing consistent policy frameworks for special access and wholesale wireline

  • Improve consumer disclosures and FCC data collection to better monitor and promote
    broadband competition.

  • Fulfill mandate from Congress to ensure that video navigation devices, such as smart video
    devices, are available to consumers in the marketplace, spurring innovation in home video
    devices and driving increased broadband adoption and utilization.

4. Advance Robust and Secure Public Safety Communications Networks

  • Facilitate the creation of a nationwide interoperable public safety wireless broadband

  • Promote cybersecurity and protect critical communications infrastructure.

  • Aid the transition to next-generation 911 and alerting systems.

See also