The FCC’s recent release of its long awaited Broadband Plan has hit the streets with a resounding affirmation of what America needs with connectivity, competitiveness, affordability, speed, and social readiness. If the plan is adopted as proposed, America will truly benefit from the economics of a public-private partnership in creating a superior broadband pipeline for global success, see (National Broadband Plan: Connecting America).
The Plan Outline:
• Accessible and Affordable to 100 million homes with speeds of 100 megabits upload and 50 download
• Be (Number One) in Mobility access and speeds compared to any other nation
• Create Universal Access for all Americans including the means, skills, and affordability; if they choose
• Upgrade Community Schools, Hospitals and Government buildings for access to 1 Gbps broadband service
• Create a Public Safety Wireless Network and access for all first responders
• Promote a Clean Energy Economy, and ensure Americans are able to track energy consumptions through broadband
The Road Map:
• Foster robust competition within the broadband sector to drive demand for increased network performance while lowering deployment cost of infrastructure; monitor and benchmark competitive behavior, provide consumers with performance of broadband services, reform access to right-of-ways, review wholesale access policies, and increase spectrum availability
• Reallocate the existing Universal Service Fund to provide all Americans with access to broadband just as the plan was used to fund telephone service to all Americans in the 20th Century
• Reclaim Broadcast Spectrum in auctions of, (300 MHZ by 2015-500 MHZ by 2020), for the Wireless Industry and other ancillary uses thereby fulfilling a need to expand a burgeoning Mobile demand in connecting consumers, businesses, and the public sector
• Promote E-rate and Rural Health Care Programs, support non-profit and government institutions with affordable and alternative means of connectivity to broadband infrastructures which allows lower investment costs by reforming incentive structures, licensing and data interoperability for all public organizations
• The FCC moved to gather existing spectrum from the Broadcast Industry to help free up space for the Wireless Industry, in much need of new spectrum on its continued growth forecasts. The benefactors will be companies like Cisco, providing network support, and Verizon and AT&T Wireless operators. Broadcasters will benefit from sharing in spectrum auction fees of their unused bandwidth.
• The Universal Service Fund will be used to promote and incent companies to build-out their networks to underserved portions of the markets for wire-line and wireless access. This fund is severely outdated from its original intent of providing access to telephone service for the nation.
The FCC seems to have done its homework. Congratulations to the FCC commissioners, staff, and partners, for their hard work and dedication in creating a viable and workable solution for a National Broadband Plan roll-out for the next decade. While it is not heavy on regulation; the plan sets out a road-map to foster collaboration, innovation, investment opportunities, and transparency within its recommendations. Legislators should look to affirm the plan quickly and move forward with an innovative and economically sound superior broadband gateway for our public and private sectors.
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