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Archive for May 2010

FCC Takes Critical Step Forward in the Deployment of a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network for America’s First Responders

May 18th, 2010 by Jamie Barnett - Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

The failed bombing attack in Times Square on May 1, 2010 is another sobering reminder of our Nation’s need for a robust communications network for our Nation’s first responders.  To address this pressing need, the Commission’s National Broadband Plan (“NBP”) recommended that a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network be created, and outlined the steps for our Nation to achieve this goal. Now, only a couple months after releasing the NBP, the Commission has taken another critical step forward to further the deployment of this nationwide network and the realization of this essential component of our Nation’s public safety and national security infrastructure.

On May 11, 2010, the Commission unanimously adopted an order granting conditional approval of 21 petitions filed by cities, counties and states that sought waiver of the Commission’s rules to permit them to move forward with the construction of regional or statewide interoperable wireless broadband networks in the 700 MHz public safety broadband spectrum.  By acting on the petitions, the Commission not only enabled the petitioners to begin deployment of their networks, but provided a potential path forward for eventual development of a truly nationwide public safety broadband network.  Of particular, importance the Commission required the waiver recipients to proceed with the deployment of their networks under uniform terms and conditions, which will ensure that all the networks being deployed are technically compatible and fully interoperable.  The Commission also directed the waiver recipients to coordinate their efforts with the newly formed Emergency Response Interoperability Center (“ERIC”), which is developing a common interoperability framework that will apply to all public safety broadband networks.

The Commission was urged by many in the public safety community to act expeditiously.  Others recommended caution due to concern over the ability to integrate any early deployments into a later network.  The waiver order, and the path forward it provides, balances these concerns.  By acting now, the Commission enables public safety to take advantage of current and imminent development of 4G technology by commercial providers, which will provide the technological basis for deployment in the 700 MHz band beginning later this year.  Public safety can also begin to engage in the broader 4G development process to ensure that the process addresses public safety’s needs.  Finally, the Commission’s action will enable the waiver recipients to take advantage of funding opportunities and leverage existing deployment plans that may be time sensitive.
In response to those that recommended caution in light of the larger rulemaking proceeding, the Commission made clear that its grant of waivers does not prejudge the outcome of that proceeding.  The Commission also noted that the deployment of actual networks could serve to inform the record in the larger rulemaking. 
There remains much more hard work to be done before our Nation’s first responders have at their ready a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network.  We are all aware that it will not happen overnight.  But, with the commencement of deployment through the Waiver Order, the Commission has taken a critical step forward toward that goal.

Help Us Launch the Accessibility and Innovation Forum

May 17th, 2010 by Karen Peltz Strauss

To address the barriers that people with disabilities face in accessing technology, the National Broadband Plan (“NBP”) recommends, among other things, that the Commission establish an ongoing Accessibility and Innovation Forum (“A&I Forum” or “Forum”).  At the March 10 event rolling out the NBP’s accessibility recommendations, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Chief Joel Gurin announced that the Commission would launch the A&I Forum in July.

The Forum will be an ongoing collaborative problem-solving effort with diverse stakeholders to promote innovative solutions to broadband and other communications technology barriers.  The Forum will allow the Commission to use new tools and tap into new sources of ideas and innovation to address accessibility problems, using ongoing online efforts, workshops, field events, and facilitated dialogues.

In July, we plan to (1) launch a clearinghouse; (2) announce guidelines for the Chairman’s Award for Accessibility and Innovation; (3) expand blog coverage of ongoing accessibility efforts in the public and private sector; and (4) announce future workshops and field events.  Over the next 12-18 months, we will expand these efforts and add new initiatives.

We will be seeking input on each of these aspects of the new A&I Forum in a series of blog posts over the next two weeks.  This post seeks input on an online clearinghouse. 

Online Clearinghouse

One problem that consumers with disabilities face is that they are unable to find accessible communications technologies and assistive technologies, even if they currently exist.  In addition, consumers often do not have the training and support they need to use these products.  We would like to create an online space where consumers could find links to accessible products and product information that have been recommended by other consumers and/or provided by companies and vendors themselves.

We would like your thoughts on the best way for us to structure this on-line space.  What guidelines should we have for inclusion of accessible products and information?  Should we design the space so consumers can comment on the products and support information? What categories of products and services should we include? How should we ensure that the information in our clearinghouse stays current? 

We welcome any suggestions or models that you may recommend. You can respond directly to this post, file a comment in docket CG10-100, or e-mail comments and suggestions to Elizabeth.Lyle@fcc.gov AND Pam.Gregory@fcc.gov.  We would appreciate feedback as soon as possible but ask that you file any comments no later than Thursday, June 10. 

You can also sign up to receive periodic e-mails about the Forum’s activities and other Commission accessibility issues by sending an e-mail to AccessInfo@fcc.gov.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Message to NCTA

May 13th, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.

Cable’s story is a great American story.  It’s a tale of visionary entrepreneurs and pioneers who recognized the potential in a new technology, took big risks, and helped build an industry that in many ways has reshaped our nation.

Pioneers like Ralph Roberts, who, in 1962, thought it would be a good business idea to buy a 1,200-subscriber cable system in Tupelo, Mississippi; Charles Dolan and Gerald Levin, who had a crazy notion that people would pay for television; and Ted Turner, who saw a market for a “superstation” and later a 24-hour news network.

Taking advantage of opportunities that Congress and the FCC created, these leaders galvanized the larger cable industry to invest billions of dollars.  Cable soon emerged as America’s most popular entertainment platform, eventually attracting 62 million video customers and supporting 1.5 million jobs.

But it didn’t stop there.  A new generation of cable pioneers saw the future, and it was broadband.  Identifying a new world of technology solutions and business opportunities, and spurred by government measures that promoted the development of a competing satellite TV platform, cable innovators developed the cable modem, providing consumers high-speed access to the Internet. 

Since 1996, the cable industry has collectively invested many billions of dollars in broadband access networks, which itself has spurred telephone companies and others to invest massive sums in broadband, while also unleashing Internet companies, large and small, to invest massive sums in content, applications, and services that consumers access through broadband networks. 

Today, broadband is the indispensible infrastructure of the 21st century economy.  It is rapidly becoming our primary platform for innovation, economic growth, and enduring job creation.  A vibrant, ubiquitous, high-speed Internet — characterized by openness and freedom — is vital to our global competitiveness, to U.S. global leadership in innovation, and to our ability to design, develop, and distribute new Internet-fueled products here in the United States and export them to the rest of the world.

Broadband is vital also for helping solve pressing national challenges like education, health care, energy, and public safety – if  all Americans are connected, whether they live in rural towns, urban cities, or in between.  Broadband can give every American child real opportunity in our 21st century economy – if we ensure that all of our children have the digital tools, training, and broadband access they need.  Broadband can lead to better health care and reduce health costs – if all doctors, clinics, hospital, and patients are connected with broadband of sufficient speed to allow for remote diagnostics and the transfer of MRIs and other bandwidth-consuming information and applications.  Broadband can help accelerate a clean and lower cost energy future – if universal broadband is integrated with smart grids and powers universally accessible applications that reduce energy use.  And broadband can save lives – if our first responders finally have a mobile broadband communications network and we otherwise pursue policies to promote public safety and protect Americans in a broadband world.

Broadband is vital for free speech and for our democracy, for speakers to reach audiences without censorship and for expanding participation in the marketplace of ideas.  And broadband is vital for an improved and efficient e-government in the 21st century, providing better services to American citizens at lower costs.

I recognize and applaud the cable industry for its investment in America’s broadband future.  The existence of the cable broadband plant in the United States, in addition to the telephone companies’ infrastructure, provides us with the potential for a significant global competitive advantage. 

Still, we are not yet where we need to be when it comes to broadband.

The United States is lagging other nations according to key measures of network speed and adoption, threatening America’s global competitiveness. Some studies of network speeds place the U.S. as low as 18th globally, and the overall U.S. adoption rate of 65% compares to over 90% in some other countries.  Many communities in America are lagging even further behind in broadband adoption, including rural Americans, minorities, low-income citizens, and Americans with disabilities. More than 93 million Americans don’t have broadband at home, and 14 to 24 million live in areas where they couldn’t get it if they wanted it.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world increasingly recognizes the power of ubiquitous, high-speed Internet access to spur innovation and job creation in their countries.

One illuminating and alarming study looked at broadband and several other key metrics relating to competitiveness and innovation.  It placed the U.S. 40th out of 40 industrial countries ranked in “the rate of change in innovative capacity.” 

For the U.S., when it comes to broadband, to stand still is to fall behind.

For these reasons, I was pleased that Congress entrusted the FCC with developing a National Broadband Plan, which the FCC released in March.  The Broadband Plan ranks among the most important projects in FCC history.  Broadband networks are our 21st century communications networks.  As the Commission said unanimously in its Joint Statement on Broadband: “Working to make sure that America has world-leading high-speed broadband networks—both wired and wireless—lies at the very core of the FCC’s mission in the 21st Century.”

The National Broadband Plan is guided by a set of three principles aimed at realizing the transformative power of broadband and grounded in experience.

First, the private sector must play the leading role in extending broadband networks across our nation, and a healthy return on investment is both desirable and necessary to spur risk taking and capital investment in broadband.

The United States is one of few nations where cable is the major broadband provider. And because of the investments in DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades, cable’s networks offer fast and increasingly faster speeds in many markets.  And just as satellite TV was a positive competitive spur to cable’s development of the cable modem, the cable broadband infrastructure has been a positive competitive spur to the telephone companies’ development of fiber and other competitive high-speed networks.  The Broadband Plan sets ambitious goals of 1-gigabit service to at least one public anchor institution in every community, and affordable 100-megabit service to 100 million households.  Cable and telco broadband infrastructure are essential to achieving those goals.

As with broadband deployment, the private sector has an equally essential role to play in spurring broadband adoption.  The costs of digital exclusion are high and getting higher.  Broadband access is increasingly necessary for finding and applying for jobs, and digital skills are increasingly necessary for being eligible for jobs.  Broadband access is increasingly necessary for education, for health care, for basic safety.

I commend NCTA and the cable industry for its “Adoption-plus” initiative and for its leadership role in the Digital Adoption Coalition, a public-private partnership working to invest in making discounted equipment, service, and training available to lower-income urban and rural areas.  These are strong first steps.  I look forward to energetic implementation, to working together, and to achieving results.  Everyone wins if we can increase broadband adoption from 65% to the National Broadband Plan’s 90% goal for 2020, and ultimately to universal adoption.
   
The second principle is that smart, but restrained government policies can have a positive impact on industry growth.

Historically, cable has been a beneficiary of pro-investment, pro-competition policies.  In the 1970s, the government pushed through opposition from competing industries and adopted policies to remove barriers and accelerate cable television service, including creating low-cost opportunities for cable pioneers to deploy their infrastructure on utility poles nationwide.  In the 1980s, the government nurtured and incentivized cable’s growth by ensuring that competition to cable would be fair and healthy.  And in the 1990s, the government green lit cable’s entry into the local voice business, and telephone’s entry into video. These and other smart government policies fueled cable’s explosive growth, ensuring the construction of the wired broadband infrastructure we have today. 

The National Broadband Plan builds on this history with recommendations to lower the cost of broadband deployment, for example by cutting red tape around pole attachments and rights-of-way.

It also calls for a once-in-a-generation transformation of the Universal Service Fund from supporting yesterday’s telephone service to tomorrow’s broadband access service – doing it in a way that reforms and wrings savings out of the existing fund, as we put in place a new Connect America Fund that will efficiently support broadband service.

Finally, the National Broadband Plan is guided by the principle that competition in a free market is essential to drive innovation, encourage investment, and spur consumer benefits. 

A specific area where the plan includes recommendations to unleash competition and innovation is in the smart video device market.  Just as a shopping mall presents customers with numerous retail outlets, smart video devices can offer viewers a single window into pay-TV content, Internet content, and content that a viewer has already bought or archived.  Consumers want devices that can navigate the universe of video programming, from multiple sources, in a simple integrated way.  But there is not enough competition driving innovation.  Last month the FCC launched a proceeding to establish new standards and spur competition.  The NCTA’s consumer principles are playing a constructive role on policy development relating to the integration of traditional TV and the Internet experience, and I’m pleased that cable’s leaders have embraced our goal to drive innovation in this area.

I’m also pleased that last week the Commission took an important step involving selectable output controls to enable a potential new business model for content creators and cable companies, in a reasonable way that enhances consumer choice and guards against piracy. 

I believe that to spur competition we need an Internet that is both open and trusted, that meaningfully protects consumer freedom and choice, incentivizes innovation both in the core of broadband networks and on the edge, and ensures that businesses can develop business models that provide a real return on investment and protect intellectual property.

The National Broadband Plan also includes recommendations to promote transparency to broadband subscribers, and otherwise provide basic protections to consumers, innovators, small businesses, and new entrants from all regions and all communities.  And it recommends steps to address vital public safety and cybersecurity challenges raised by our country’s shift to broadband communications networks.

Since the plan was delivered to Congress in March, the breadth and depth of the support and praise has been encouraging, and a real testament to the FCC staff who worked so hard to run a fair, open, and data-driven process, and to develop ideas to drive toward U.S. leadership in broadband.  In a space where consensus can certainly be elusive, more than 3,000 companies throughout the broadband ecosystem, nonprofit organizations, and others have applauded the FCC staff’s work.

Unfortunately, the D.C. Circuit’s recent decision in the Comcast case raises serious questions about whether the legal framework the FCC chose nearly a decade ago is adequate to implement key provisions of the National Broadband Plan, including universal service reform; basic protections for consumers, innovators and entrepreneurs; public safety and cybersecurity; and others.
 
The court decision has not changed our broadband policy objectives one iota. But it did damage the legal foundation underneath these objectives.  I was comfortable with the Commission’s prior approach. We defended it in court; we argued that Title I gave us the authority we needed. But the court disagreed. This decision creates uncertainty, and risks compromising our common goals of pursuing world-class broadband for all Americans. 

We’ve now got to fix the legal foundation.  The design concept for the solution we’ve proposed is simple:  let’s find a solid legal foundation to move forward on key policy outcomes previously identified without doing anything more than necessary to achieve that purpose.

Last week, I proposed a narrowly tailored approach to do that.

It rejects both extremes – the extreme of doing nothing, and the extreme of imposing massive regulations on broadband.

Under this light touch approach, the FCC would invoke only the handful of provisions in the Communications Act necessary to achieve limited but essential broadband goals.  This is not about unbundling and price regulation. It’s about fixing the basic legal foundation – having a narrowly tailored path to move forward on previously identified policy outcomes.  We’re going to continue to rely on competitive markets.  

This Third Way approach is modeled on approaches that have worked and continue to work -- for example, the regulatory framework for mobile voice communications, which involves select application of a small number of Title II provisions and broad forbearance.  That approach, in place for many years, has provided certainty and confidence, and I am committed to ensuring that it provides the same certainty and confidence as applied to broadband access.  Indeed, today over 800 rural telephone companies voluntarily provide broadband access under a Title II framework that is less clearly delimited than the Third Way I have proposed.

Will this approach serve as the basis for a broad restructuring of how broadband providers do business?  No.

Will it serve as the basis for regulatory creep?  No. And we’ve suggested ways to have clear and lasting boundaries against regulatory overreach.

The American people rightfully expect a reasonable and solid legal framework to promote broadband everywhere, to protect fair competition, to protect consumers, and to preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet and its ability to remain a platform for innovation, job creation and free speech.

I will ask my Commission colleagues to join me in soon launching a public process on the issues raised by the court decision and inviting new ideas.  This process would begin with a Notice of Inquiry and Notice of Proposed Forbearance that seek public comment on our proposed approach, along with any other approaches, for restoring the pre-Comcast status quo framework.

I call on the cable industry and all stakeholders to work with us productively to secure a solid legal foundation for our broadband future, and to implement policies that will promote the kind of innovation, investment, and entrepreneurship exhibited by cable’s pioneers. 

The Comcast decision has created a problem.  Let’s approach it with the philosophy of the business community: let’s work together to solve it.  Together, we can ensure that the U.S. has world-leading broadband deployment and adoption, and that our country can realize the benefits of broadband’s transformative power to fuel our economy and improve the lives of all Americans.

Connecting America’s Stories: Public Safety

May 12th, 2010 by Page Schindler Buchanan

The effort to manage the oil spill hitting the Gulf Coast is just one more reminder of how critical the recommendations in the National Broadband Plan are for ensuring public safety.  The gulf coast states have built a communications network to help their safety and cleanup operations talk to one another – a problem that has plagued emergency responders for years – quite memorably during both Hurricane Katrina and September 11th. Around the country people are using broadband technology in new and creative ways to help keep their communities safe and informed. 

Peggy is a farmer in Deming, Washington.

We've recently started a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) that disseminates information (flood warnings, announcements for emergency training sessions, and alerts about at-large criminals, sex-offender re-locations, etc.) Without this email-tree, we would all be in the dark, cut off from training that could save lives, and at higher risk to danger.

In this video authors of the plan look at how communications technology can be better designed to make Americans safer.
 

Jennifer Manner, lead for the Public Safety and Homeland Security chapter of the Broadband Plan, focused on the need to get all of the country’s public safety agencies on the same frequency – literally. 

One of the challenges has been that the networks are very fragmented, so emergency responders aren’t often able to talk to one another across jurisdictions, or across geographies… if you remember during Katrina this was a big problem, during 9-11 this was another big problem. …

[One of our proposals is] an Emergency Reliability and Interoperability Center (ERIC) – we wanted the system to be interoperable – we wanted the officer in New York to be able to go to California to help out and be able to use his device there. 

In addition, the Broadband Plan looks at ways for citizens to get information more quickly and efficiently.  Jennifer also talks about the great potential for activating citizens in emergencies.

If you think about the Amber Alerts that we have today, wouldn’t it be more effective if they could actually show you the face of the child who is missing, or the picture of the car in a real time basis?

Check out the Action Agenda for the next steps the FCC is taking to make these and other changes to support public safety in America a reality, and keep sharing your stories of how broadband access helps you and your community stay safe.
 

Connecting America’s Stories: Broadband Availability

May 10th, 2010 by Page Schindler Buchanan

Goal #1 of the National Broadband Plan is that 100 million U.S. Homes will have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and actual upload speeds of at least 50 megabits per second.

What do these numbers mean to you? Email that doesn’t take all day to send.  Sharing photos with friends.  Working from home instead of a long commute.  Getting your degree while supporting your family.  Not letting an illness keep you isolated from work and family.  You told us this, and so much more.

Maria is a college professor and mother in rural York, New York:

Four-tenths of a mile down the road residents have access to cable. When I contacted [the local internet provider] I received a letter stating that in order to have cable run to our home we would have to pay them $5,000 (in addition to monthly fees).

Residents four-tenths of a mile down the road have cable television, wireless Internet and all of the benefits that go along with it--they can watch movies from their PCs, they can upload games wirelessly, watch educational videos for free on PBS.org with their children, share home movies with family across the country. Four-tenths of a mile down the road, residents did not have to pay anything to have cable run to their homes. Four-tenths of a mile down the road moms have the option to work from home with their high-speed Internet without the cost and stress of enrolling their children in daycare.

Maria’s frustration is echoed in the stories many of you have sent us.  Spotty, slow and non-existent internet connections have deep economic, social and personal consequences that may well shape the future of our nation.

In this video leaders on the National Broadband Plan team talk about increasing availability of broadband to all Americans.

Carol Mattey worked on the Universal Service Recommendations in the Broadband Plan:

Our current regulatory policies in this area are broken.  They needed to be fixed.  The system has accomplished a great deal over the years, but it is not suited and is not going to bring broadband to all of America.

We brought in perspectives from industry and academia, and actual users and participants… We really were focused on trying to develop facts and information, which ultimately are the foundation of making good decisions.

The result is a set of recommendations that will help people find creative solutions to the unique issues in their communities, such as:

Helping schools, hospitals, local communities and Tribal lands afford the infrastructure they need to set up broadband, and share it with businesses and neighbors.

Helping local governments set up broadband in areas where private business can’t make a profit.

Changing the way that companies charge to connect people across the country.

To find out more about how the National Broadband Plan can help to increase broadband availability, read more here, and share your stories on how broadband has impacted you and your community.

 

Updating a Critical Lifeline

May 10th, 2010 by Irene Flannery - Acting Associate Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau

Support for low-income consumers to enable access to telecommunications has long been a priority for states as well as the federal government, and the FCC has worked in tandem with the states to ensure that support is available to all those who are eligible.  So it is appropriate that we ask our partners in the states for their input now, given the tremendous changes to telecommunications that are shaping the way we assist low-income consumers through our Lifeline and Link Up programs.  By way of background, since 1984, Lifeline has helped offset the cost of a monthly phone bill, and Link Up has helped offset telephone installation costs, for low-income consumers.  The concept behind these programs, which are part of the FCC’s universal service programs, is that all Americans need access to telecommunications – a concept that the National Broadband Plan recently recommended be updated to include broadband.

One change to the telecommunications marketplace is the increasing availability of alternatives to traditional wireline phone service, including wireless and cable services.  This change has lead to a rapidly expanding universe of carriers participating in the Lifeline and Link Up programs, with the result being that low-income consumers have more options to meet their communications needs.  With greater participation in the low-income programs, it is a good time to revisit the programs with our state partners to ensure that the programs are effectively reaching eligible consumers, and that our oversight continues to be appropriately structured to minimize waste, fraud, and abuse.

Another change is that broadband has become an essential mode of communication for many Americans in the last decade – it is an essential tool for jobs, education, information, and entertainment. The National Broadband Plan recommended that we expand the Lifeline and Link Up programs to make broadband more affordable for low-income households.  We are asking our state partners for their input so that we can benefit from their experience and viewpoints.

In the FCC world, the mechanism for seeking state input is to seek guidance through an entity called the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, otherwise known as the Joint Board, which we did through the order hyperlinked above.  We look forward to the Joint Board’s input in helping our universal service programs keep pace with technology.

Connecting Rural Americans to Broadband

May 7th, 2010 by Carol Mattey - Deputy Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau

As I travel throughout the country to talk about the National Broadband Plan, I am proud to highlight the Plan’s recommendations to connect consumers in rural America to broadband.  The Plan’s proposals for connecting unserved parts of rural America are at once concrete and specific as well as bold and visionary. I talked about them at length in recent speeches, but I’m going to hit some of the key points in this blog.

The Plan made clear that broadband communications is critical to jobs, health, education, news, information and more in the 21st Century.  In the last century, the federal Universal Service Fund was key to connecting sparsely populated rural communities to the communications technology of that century: telephone service.  Now, we must reconfigure the fund to support broadband.  Doing nothing, and leaving many communities without access to broadband, is not an option.

The Plan sets forth a vision to accomplish that goal.  In particular, the Plan outlines ways to transform the primary fund for supporting voice service in rural America – the High Cost Fund – into a “Connect America Fund” that explicitly and efficiently supports broadband networks capable of providing high-quality voice services.  The Plan proposes to target support more effectively to bring broadband to consumers in unserved areas and sustain service in areas that need ongoing universal service subsidies.

Implementing the Plan calls for tough choices and careful balancing of costs and benefits.  It is critical to the preservation and continued success of universal service that we find the right balance between funding the program adequately and not unduly burdening consumers

Consumers now pay the highest USF fees ever on their landline, cell phone and cable voice bills to support the fund, and the growth in fees must stop. To minimize the burden on consumers, the Commission is looking at ways to limit growth in the fund.  One way to contain growth is to make sure that consumers who fund the program get the most “bang for the buck” with support under the new Connect America Fund provided in a way that encourages efficiency. 

The growth of broadband and competition has fundamentally changed the business model for many communications companies.  The majority of states have moved from rate-of-return regulation, which compensates carriers for their actual costs regardless of whether there is a cheaper way to serve the customer, to incentive regulation, which encourages efficiency and enables providers to reap the rewards of an efficient network.  Isn’t it time at the federal level to think about how we need to adapt how we regulate those smaller companies? 

The Plan also analyzed consumer usage of broadband speeds to set an initial target of 4 Mbps of actual download speed and 1 Mbps of actual upload speed.  The 4 Mbps is comparable to the median speed received by residential consumers today, and what many consumers are likely to use in the near term, given past growth rates. To ensure that consumers in rural areas receive broadband speeds comparable to urban areas, the Plan also recommends reevaluating this 4 Mbps funding target every four years and adjusting it as appropriate to reflect changing consumer use and demand.  Doing so will ensure that there is no digital divide in this country.

There’s plenty of work ahead to flesh out the details.  The Plan presents an opportunity not only for rural consumers, but also for companies operating in a rural America to chart a new course for the future.  To complete the task, we need more information from the industry and look forward to a collaborative process with providers.  Our goal is to bring broadband to all rural Americans without breaking the bank.  Help us figure out the best way to get there.

Read the prepared text of Carrol's speeches:

The Future of Internet Policy in America

May 7th, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.

 Read video transcript here.

A Third-Way Legal Framework For Addressing The Comcast Dilemma

May 6th, 2010 by Austin Schlick - General Counsel

When the D.C. Circuit issued its opinion in the Comcast/BitTorrent case, it was clear the decision could affect a significant number of important recommendations in the National Broadband Plan, the Commission’s Open Internet proceeding, and other policy initiatives related to broadband.  In light of the uncertainty created by the decision, the Chairman asked me to investigate all of the options available to the Commission.  Other FCC staff and I have developed a proposal that we believe resolves the doubt created by the D.C. Circuit’s opinion while providing a firm legal basis for the Commission’s limited, but vital role with respect to broadband.  Whether, all things considered, the legal response to Comcast sketched out in our proposal is the best one for the Commission to adopt would be for the five FCC Commissioners to answer after public comment and private study.  In my judgment, it’s a question worth asking.

Read more about the proposal here.

Read Chairman Genachowski’s statement discussing his reasons for seeking comment on the proposal here.

The Third Way: A Narrowly Tailored Broadband Framework

May 6th, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.

Broadband is increasingly essential to our daily lives. It is fast becoming the primary way we as Americans connect with one another, do business, educate ourselves and our children, receive health care information and services, and express our opinions. As a unanimous FCC said a few weeks ago in our Joint Statement on Broadband, “Working to make sure that America has world-leading high-speed broadband networks—both wired and wireless—lies at the very core of the FCC’s mission in the 21st Century.”

 Many have asked about the future of Internet policy and the FCC’s role in that future in light of the recent decision in the Comcast case.  Today I have issued a statement that describes a path forward, which will begin with seeking public comment on a narrow and tailored legal foundation for the FCC’s approach to broadband communications services.  Our goal is to restore the broadly supported status quo consensus that existed prior to the Comcast decision regarding the FCC’s role with respect to broadband Internet service.

This statement describes a framework to support policies that advance our global competitiveness and preserve the Internet as a powerful platform for innovation, free speech, and job creation.  I remain open to all ideas on the best approach to achieve our country’s vital goals with respect to high-speed broadband for all Americans, and the Commission proceeding to follow will seek comment on multiple legal theories and invite new ideas.



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Datamatrix and QR FCC Phones