National Broadband Plan (United States)

National Broadband Plan (United States)

Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan, unveiled March 16, 2010,[1] is a FCC (Federal Communications Commission) plan which deals with improving broadband Internet access throughout the United States. One goal was providing 100 million American households with access to 100 Mbit/s (megabits per second) connections by 2020. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) required that the FCC draft the National Broadband Plan. After the FCC complied with this requirement, the author of that portion of the Act, U.S. Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), issued a statement that the FCC had provided a "roadmap" that would "ensure that every American has access to the tools they need to succeed."[2] ARRA did not give the FCC specific jurisdiction to carry out a national broadband plan or to amend the universal service provisions of the Communications Act, but it required that the FCC draft a plan to "include a detailed strategy for achieving affordability and maximizing use of broadband to advance consumer welfare, civic participation, public safety and homeland security, community development, health care delivery, energy independence and efficiency, education, employee training, private sector investment, entrepreneurial activity, job creation and economic growth, and other national purposes."[3]

As of October 2010,, the official website for the plan, highlighted its poorly publicized energy and environment features.[4] Other goals listed were "21st century care", "economic opportunity", "health care", "civic engagement" and "public safety". Broadband maps, tests and reporting of "broadband dead zones" were also featured. The plan called for broadcasters to give up spectrum for wireless broadband access.[1]

Large areas of the United States would be wired for Internet access, and the federal program providing some rural areas with landline telephone service would be upgraded. The Obama administration called high-speed Internet to be no longer a luxury.[5] FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, named the plan as "his top priority".[5] President Obama called for "updating the way we get our electricity by starting to build a new smart grid that will save us money, protect our power sources from blackout or attack, and deliver clean, alternative forms of energy to every corner of our nation. It means expanding broadband lines across America, so that a small business in a rural town can connect and compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world."[6]




The goals of the plan as described in

  1. At least 100 million U.S. homes should 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 by the year 2020.
  2. The United States should lead the world in mobile innovation, with the fastest and most extensive wireless networks of any nation.
  3. Every American should have affordable access to robust broadband service, and the means and skills to subscribe if they so choose.
  4. Every American community should have affordable access to at least 1 gigabit per second broadband service to anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals, and government buildings.
  5. To ensure the safety of the American people, every first responder should have access to a nationwide, wireless, interoperable broadband public safety network.
  6. To ensure that America leads in the clean energy economy, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.

Spectrum reallocation

The plan also aimed to reallocate spectrum to increase capacity of mobile broadband. Increasing the capacity of mobile broadband is seen as a priority because increased demand for wireless broadband is expected to increase the prices and decrease network speed. Cisco Systems reported that "global mobile data traffic grew 2.6-fold in 2010, nearly tripling for the third year in a row."[7] Adoption of Smart Phones, iPads/tablets, and netbooks coupled with the proliferation of mobile-friendly applications were the main source of increased data traffic. AT&T Mobility reported that usage of its data network increased 8000% between 2007 to 2010, a time period concurrent with the release of the iPhone.[8] A surge of new devices and services, such as iPads and streaming video, are expected to be an even greater burden than smart phones are. At the least, reallocating spectrum would allow mobile phone companies to expand capacity and quality of service in attempt to match the next wave of increased demand.

Some believe increasing mobile broadband would help in bridging the digital divide. Since many minority and lower-income people depend on mobile internet as a primary connection, making access cheaper and more easily available to everyone would benefit those groups too.[9] In this way, supporting mobile broadband is aligned with the first 5 goals outlined in the plan and is in agreement with the main tenet of providing "Universal Access" to Americans.

The plan recommends that 300 MHz of spectrum to be made newly available for commercial use over 5 years and 500 MHZ after 10 years. The plan targets space between 225 MHz and 3.7 GHz; 120 MHz of Broadcast TV and 90 MHz of mobile satellite service giving up 90 MHz.[1] To fulfill this plan, the FCC must identify spaces in spectrum that can be used more effectively and then reclaim spectrum from incumbent licensees. The plan recommends that the FCC be given more authority to create new incentives to liberate spectrum.[10] The FCC's basic approach would be to offer incentives to accelerate the process and avoid lengthy litigation proceedings.

Energy management

The plan's most significant qualitative infrastructure impact was expected to be its smart grid features, said to be capable of reducing greenhouse gas consumption by 12 percent, the same as if 55 million cars were no longer being driven. Research has consistently shown that individuals could reduce their energy use by 5 to 15 percent (saving $60 to $180 a year) if provided with information about their daily usage, something fewer than 1 percent of Americans had access to. Proponents of a national smart grid say it would likely result in decreased electricity use, allow energy companies to more efficiently distribute electricity, encourage homeowners to co-generate electricity by renewable means, but most importantly enable consumer energy conservation by informing them of waste, and (almost as important), enable large-scale co-operation between electricity producers and consumers to better match supply and demand, eliminating extremely expensive and dirty peak power generation, typically coal. In this context the plan's Goal 6 was a very revolutionary change to spread the reach of the smart grid technologies into literally every AC outlet.[citation needed]

Goal 6 of the plan states that Americans would or should or will have the right to redirect live usage data securely to any third party energy demand management service provider they chose, for assistance in managing demand of all kinds (including potentially fossil fuel use, water and other utilities). In practice, this would require up to a megabit of reliable backhaul to every home at high enough security to also be suitable for VoIP, home security, medical monitors and a great many other high-reliability applications. The difficulty of this would more or less require over-provisioning homes with up to a gigabit so that the cost of this secure energy demand management connection could be subsidized by these other applications (as XCel did in its Smart Grid City project, laying aside 5 megabits of secure bandwidth for these premium uses). In addition, the deployment could be subsidized by ordinary data uses (voice, TV, internet, the so-called triple play) and mobile ("quadruple play"). With the revenue from energy sales, energy demand management, and these higher security and reliability applications, power distributors would be in a position to compete with incumbent providers that have already deployed networks. American companies announced plans to exploit this secure metering connection.[citation needed]

Goal 6 implies access to supply-side opportunities such as turning on devices (such as sump or cistern pumps or battery chargers) that can use intermittent or off-peak power when it is available (more cheaply than at peak). In October 2009, General Electric and Whirlpool announced the Smart Green Grid Initiative. "Smart appliances" could schedule energy use at times when less energy was being used or when renewable energy such as wind was more available. This plan would require the type of broadband access the plan would provide.[11]

More importantly to achieving Goal 6, smart appliances would need to communicate to the energy metering and management system and accept commands to change state. This is not practical with multiple unreliable cables or wireless connections and is generally believed to require AC powerline networking in the home. As an interim step to this, Apple released a patent filing for a powerline networking outlet suitable for combining data and AC power on one outlet with two plugs. Intel, Texas Instruments and others also showed more traditional one-plug one-cable powerline networking options and home energy management systems. To deal with concerns of older X10 and other heavily used low-bandwidth powerline protocols, in October 2010 the IEEE 1901 protocol was ratified for coexistence of all such applications, including the proposed advanced metering infrastructure envisioned by the Broadband Plan - the G.9960 protocols were also ratified and made compatible with the IEEE framework. As of October 2010, then, the metering and home-powerline-based communications standards existed to implement Goal 6 exactly as stated, using secure TCP/IP over P1901/G.9960 to communicate with a meter gateway, which would then communicate using any of several reliable secure megabit backhauls (using anything from Motorola Canopy to WiMax to 5G networking to fibre optics).[citation needed]


The US has fallen behind Japan, the EU and South Korea in power grid technology, and has made it a national priority to improve its energy demand and supply management. The Pentagon has noted in several reports that reliance on dirty oil and other diplomatically dangerous sources is a growing US national security concern. Consuming more energy per unit productivity than any other developed nation is no longer an option for the US according to the Obama administration which has made it a high priority to implement 'smart grid' technologies that are impossible to deploy without secure reliable and universal wired networking. The prior Bush administration had made powerline networking a priority to ensure that broadband access would be at least co-extant with the power grid's reach.

More generally, only about 65 percent of Americans had broadband access.[when?] The United States ranks 16th in the world, with South Korea at 95 percent and Singapore at 88 percent. Genachowski said over 20 countries had plans for broadband access, and that the lack of access in rural and low-income areas in the United States resulted in "leaving millions behind".[12]

By 2020, the goal was for 100 million households to have access to 100 Mbit/s service.[13] 200 million people had broadband in 2009[14] (nationwide, the average connection speed was 3.9 Mbit/s[15]), up from 8 million in 2000. But 14 million have no access whatsoever to broadband.[16][17]

An FCC survey, "Broadband Adoption and Use in America," gave the average price of broadband access as $41, and said 36 percent those non-users surveyed said the service was too expensive. 12 percent lacked skills, 10 percent worried about "safety and privacy", and 19 percent were just not interested.[18][19] One way to increase access would be to provide a block of spectrum to service providers who agreed to offer free or low-cost service to certain subscribers. One way to pay for this would be to transfer $15.5 billion to a Connect America Fund for areas not adequately served.[18] This money would come from the Universal Service Fund created for telephone service for individuals and Internet access for schools and libraries. In addition, a Mobility Fund would provide funds for states to offer their own broadband programs. Also, Digital Literacy Corps would help people learn about the Internet in areas with low usage rates. And broadband would be added to the FCC's Lifeline and Link-Up program to provide phone service to the poor.[16]


The FCC has been quoted as saying the plan could cost anywhere from $20 billion to $350 billion, and these costs only take into account the cost of implementing the system and getting it up and running, not the costs of maintaining it in the future.[20] Some other costs to take into account are the cost of the National Emergency Response Network, which officials have said will cost at least $12 billion to $16 billion to build.[21] Another cost that must be taken into account is the cost of subsidizing materials like computers for households that cannot afford them. Those citizens would then need to receive training on how to use the computers and Internet effectively. All of these costs are going to add up to many billions of dollars.

There have been several suggestions for ways in which the United States will pay for this plan. The first part involves taking the $4.6 billion per year that is allocated for the Universal Service Fund, and moving it to a fund under a new name that would continue providing subsidized phone service, but also work on getting broadband internet to those who currently do not have it.[20] This will help offset the costs, but the regulators will have to make sure that there are still enough of those funds going toward providing the same amount of supported phone service, including rural landline and wireless services, as before. This money will help offset some of the costs of the implementation, but if it is in fact going to be closer to $350 billion, then that will not be enough money to cover the costs of the project. This will leave the rest of the cost burden on the government, who may in turn place it on the citizens as a tax.[22]

Aside from the cost, there is also the argument that the creation of a National Broadband Plan will actually stunt the growth of the industry and new technologies. This view is based on economics, and the theory of supply and demand. According to this theory, this policy is going to take the competition out of the broadband Internet market which, according to economists, will eliminate the desire for companies to offer lower prices, better products, better customer service, and the desire to come up with new and innovative ideas.[23] While this theory is more of a general economic theory, it could definitely be applied to this situation.

As the FCC has moved into the implementation stage of its plan, the jurisdictional question has arisen as to whether Congress provided the FCC with authority to implement the plan, or whether ARRA solely granted the agency authority to draft the plan.[24] Commenters and state officials have raised the question of how agency proposals can be implemented so as to ensure rural areas do not experience deterioration or price spikes for existing telephone and cellular services.[25][26] Commenters have expressed concern that if current support provided to rural areas in accordance with the Communications Act is moved to a much smaller subset of areas for broadband deployment, the currently supported rural areas will be deprived of much needed service coverage and affordable pricing.[27] The FCC has proposed supporting only one provider per area, which commenters have stated would waste the universal service funds that have been invested in infrastructure other providers have already deployed in rural areas, and would result in a single monopoly service provider in many rural areas. This could mean some rural areas would end up with no telephone service or no cellular service, depending on which technology is supplied by the auction winner.

Regulatory framework

The FCC considered broadband to be an "information service" and, therefore, "lightly regulated". Although the commission believed this status gave the ability to impose the necessary restrictions in order to implement the plan, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said this was not the case, in an April 2010 ruling. In 2007, Kevin J. Martin, FCC chairman at the time, ordered Comcast to allow the use of BitTorrent, which Comcast considered to be competition to its cable business. Comcast argued that with deregulation under George W. Bush, the FCC had no authority to make such decisions. The United States Supreme Court sided with Comcast in 2005,[28] and in a related ruling on April 6, 2010, the Appeals Court denied FCC's 2008 cease and desist order.[29] As a result, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski wanted to redefine broadband as a "common carrier", requiring equal access to all traffic as on roads.

On May 6, 2010, Genachowski said rules for broadband companies would be less strict than intended, in order to keep the FCC from appearing "heavy-handed". Republicans in the United States Congress and at the FCC, and cable and telephone companies were expected to oppose the regulations necessary to make the broadband plan work. Network neutrality, for example, would require broadband providers to allow competitors to use their lines for telephone service, streaming video and other online services. However, Genachowski said networks would not be required to share with the competition.

Three of the five commissioners would have to approve the regulations. Genachowski, a Democrat, believed the other two Democratic FCC commissioners would support him. Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, a Democratic member of the House committee overseeing the FCC, supported the proposal, saying the FCC needed to make sure consumers and businesses were protected.

The two Republican FCC commissioners, Robert McDowell and Meredith Baker, feared "burdensome rules excavated from the early-Ma Bell-monopoly era onto 21st century networks" which would prevent companies from making the necessary investments to improve their networks.

House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio called the plan "a government takeover of the Internet."

Comcast appeared more likely than Verizon and other companies to work with the FCC on new regulations, but only because the company needed its merger with NBC approved.

Genachowski said regulations would "support policies that advance our global competitiveness and preserve the Internet as a powerful platform for innovation."[28]


Survey by NTIA (2008)

In the Federal Communications Commission's Fifth Report before Congress,[30] released in June 2008, the FCC reported:

Based on our analysis in this Report, we conclude that the deployment of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans is reasonable and timely. The data reflect the industry’s extensive investment in broadband deployment, including at higher speeds, as evidenced by increased subscribership for those higher-speed services.

The report stated that 47% of adult Americans had access in the home, rural home broadband adoption was at 31%, and over 57.8 million U.S. households subscribed to broadband at home. The NTIA contended that universal, affordable access was being provided in the home, workplace, classroom, and library. When measuring subscription rates of low-income areas, the survey reported that "92 percent of the lowest-income zip codes have at least one high-speed subscriber, compared with 99.4 percent of the highest-income zip codes."[31] However, criticism came from within the FCC itself. Then FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein disagreed with this conclusion citing the "downward trend" of the country's broadband ranking, and Commission Michael Copps criticized the FCC's data collection methods.[32]

OECD Survey

In 2008, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released statistics on broadband deployment. These statistics raised concerns that the U.S. may be lagging in broadband rollout, adoption, and pricing when compared to other developed nations. The United States ranked 15th out of 30 countries measured in broadband penetration; Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Sweden, Korea and Finland were well-above the OECD average.[33] The average download speed in the U.S. was 4.9 Mbit/s, where the average was 9.2 Mbit/s.[34]

On the basis of these statistics, critics argued that the FCC's previous assessment was inaccurate and incomplete. In a paper addressing this issue, Rob Frieden argued that "the FCC and NTIA have overstated broadband penetration and affordability by using an overly generous and unrealistic definition of what qualifies as broadband service, by using zip codes as the primary geographic unit of measure, by failing to require measurements of actual as opposed to theoretical bitrates, and by misinterpreting available statistics."[35]

Shortly after, Obama used the OECD findings in speeches. As part of his platform in the 2008 presidential election, he wanted to make universal broadband available as part of an effort to revitalize the economy.[citation needed]

History of efforts to increase spectrum for wireless broadband

In the United States, more broadcast spectrum was needed for wireless broadband Internet access, and in March 2009, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry introduced a bill requiring a study of efficient use of the spectrum.

Later in the year, the lobbying group CTIA - The Wireless Association said 800 MHz needed to be added. David Donovan of The Association for Maximum Service Television said the 2 GHz band, allocated for mobile satellite service, was not even being used after ten years, and switching to this band would be better than asking broadcasters to give up even more. Because of the digital transition, television had lost 100 of its 400 MHz.[36] The National Association of Broadcasters and the AMST commented to the FCC that the government should make maximum use of this newly available spectrum and other spectrum already allocated for wireless before asking for more, while companies that would benefit asked the government to look everywhere possible. A Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) study claimed that $62 billion worth of spectrum could become $1 trillion for wireless, and one proposal would require all TV stations, including LPTV, to give up all spectrum, with subsdized multichannel services replacing over-the-air TV, even after viewers spent a great deal of money on the DTV transition.[37][38] Broadcasters responded, "In the broadcasting context, the 'total value' is not a strict financial measure, but rather is one that encompasses the broader public policy objectives such as universal service, local journalism and public safety."[37] Broadcasters pointed out that the government, viewers and the related industries spent $1.5 billion making sure that a minority of the audience would be ready for the DTV transition. Any change could mean the loss of free TV to people in rural areas, broadcasters said, particularly "local journalism, universal service, availability of educational programming, and timely and reliable provision of emergency information."[37] FCC broadband advisor Blair Levin wanted a plan by February 2010. Among the possibilities were restricting over-the-air stations to a single standard definition channel, and requiring each network affiliate to be one of a group of subchannels of a single channel, with HDTV only available from a MVPD. Although other spectrum was being considered, Levin said of the broadcast spectrum, "It's very attractive for wireless." As for the CEA "total recall" proposal, Levin said, "The discussions to date between the broadcasters and the commission would free up spectrum but allow all channels to broadcast over the air."[38]

Bob Powers, vice president of government relations for the National Religious Broadcasters, pointed out that the Levin proposal did not provide for religious broadcasters.[39]

Regarding the CEA study's findings, Donovan said to Broadcasting & Cable magazine:

Wireless companies are asking the government to participate in the biggest consumer bait-and-switch in American history. For the last few years, the government told consumers that digital television would bring them free over-the-air HDTV and more channels. Now, after purchasing billions of dollars in new digital equipment and antennas, wireless advocates are asking the government to renege on its promise. High-definition programming and more digital channels would become the sole and exclusive province of pay services. The American public simply will not stand for this.[38]

PBS and its stations also opposed the plan, saying they had spent a lot of money on the digital upgrade which they need to earn back, and viewers had contributed expecting the digital broadcasting to continue. They claimed PBS was "efficient and productive, and abundantly serves the public interest."[40] Noncommercial broadcasters said they needed broadcast spectrum for superior educational and children's programming. PBS said 85 percent of its stations used HDTV and 82 percent had two or more standard channels. Ohio State University said it had "no excess" spectrum.[41]

An FCC workshop on November 23, 2009 produced several ideas. Virginia Tech professor Charles Bostian said sharing should be done, but not in the white spaces; WiFi spectrum should be used instead. Vint Cerf of Google said cable companies could share some spectrum, which the companies would like to do except they have "must-carry" rules that will not allow this. BBN Technologies chief engineer Chip Elliott called for government-funded broadband to be shared by researchers. Collaboration was the key to advancing the technology, and the word "collaboratories" referred to broadband as "not only the goal of the research, but the vehicle as well."[42]

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) opposed ending broadcast TV because the industry spent $15 billion, in addition to giving up spectrum already.[43] On December 14, 2009 at a hearing before the Communications Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, NAB president Gordon H. Smith said the government and individuals had spent too much money on the DTV transition and for HDTV for further changes to make their efforts worthless, and that broadband and broadcasting could co-exist. He pointed out that in the 1970s, broadcasting used 60 percent of the spectrum that it does now to deliver a much higher quality product, and that existing regulations required more efficient use of the spectrum than would be the case for new devices. On the subject of what could be done instead, Smith recommended using white space in rural areas with fixed devices rather than mobile devices, and new types of broadband service such as those developed by Sezmi. CTIA president Steve Largent said that the industry needed spectrum, "wherever it comes from." He said government spectrum probably was not efficiently used and would "likely" be "repurposed", while other broadcast and satellite spectrum "may" be used better for wireless. Largent also said without more spectrum, companies might merge to better use what they had. Consultant Dave Hatfield, former FCC engineering and technology chief, said making maximum use of existing spectrum through compression and modulation would help, but it would not be enough. Oregon Republican House member Greg Walden criticized the FCC for hiring Distinguished Scholar in Residence Stuart Benjamin, whose essay recommending replacing broadcast spectrum entirely Walden called an "abomination".[44][45]

The February 17, 2010 deadline was extended by a month. Phil Bellaria, the director of the FCC broadband team, said any plan calling for broadcasters to give up spectrum would be voluntary, and the focus would be on more efficient use of existing spectrum rather than taking that away. Some stations might choose to be paid to give up their position, for example, and some might pair up with other stations using DTV subchannels (or two channels might both be primary channels within the same 6 MHz). Without voluntary action, though, changes could be mandated in 2011 or 2012.[46] On March 16, at the FCC's monthly meeting, Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan was revealed. By 2015, broadcasters would have to leave channels 46 through 51, allowing another 36 MHz to be used for wireless Internet access by "repacking", or relocating channels now on those frequencies. A total of 120 MHz needed to be reclaimed from broadcasters, the rest voluntarily. The FCC Chairman's Senior Counselor Colin Crowell explained that the spectrum crunch wasn't an imminent crisis, but rather "it’s a crisis in five or six years."[21] Failure to act could make Internet access more expensive and leave the United States less able to compete with other countries, the FCC report said. House Communications Subcommittee chairman Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat, said it would take four years from the time a bill passed to determine where the new spectrum would come from.[1]

The FCC had 50 MHz of spectrum available for wireless broadband, but this was expected to increase to between 500 MHz and 800 MHz over 10 years.[18] 300 MHz would be made available by 2015.[16] The National Association of Broadcasters opposed the plan, issuing this statement:

We are concerned by reports today that suggest many aspects of the plan may in fact not be as voluntary as originally promised. Moreover, as the nation's only communications service that is free, local and ubiquitous, we would oppose any attempt to impose onerous new spectrum fees on broadcasters.[18]

As the Plan reached its first anniversary, Congressional interest in the Plan's potential revenue from auctions increased, especially in light of Federal budget deficits. The wireless industry's main trade association, CTIA, and the Consumer Electronics Association, jointly released a report indicating that auctions from relinquished frequencies from broadcasters might garner $33 Billion in revenue from auctions.[47]

Regulatory issues

"The regulation of broadband is an increasingly important issue for two main reasons. Firstly, broadband provides the means to transport various signals (voice, data,video, etc) that have traditionally been subject to differing regulation. Secondly, the infrastructure costs and first mover advantage in the provision of broadband services have great implications for competition."[48]

In 2000, ITU Member States and Sector Members selected the regulatory implications of broadband as a high priority for future research under the "New Initiatives Programme".


According to the plan, one hundred million American do not have broadband at home and in the U.S. continues to lag in Internet access speed. The FCC brought out a plan and recommendations to address these problems, along with approaches to maximize the economic and social gains from broadband adoption.

This plan is specializing the role of broadband in education, health care, energy and the environment, government performance, civic engagement, public safety, and economic opportunity. Also includes a recognition that broadband obtainment cannot occur without the active participation of the states.


A number of recommendations have clear implications for policy action by state and local governments. On the basic issue of expanded access to broadband, the FCC recommendations include:

  • Congress should make clear that tribal, state, regional and local governments can build broadband networks. (Recommendation 8.19)

As private investors do not always have the strongest incentives to deploy broadband in rural and underserved communities at an affordable price, states and local leaders should be allowed to step in to provide affordable broadband services that will meet their residents’ needs.

  • Federal and state policies should facilitate demand aggregation and use of state, regional and local networks when that is the most cost-efficient solution for anchor institutions to meet their connectivity needs. (Recommendation 8.20)

Pooling demand among institutions can provide more access to a wider constituency at lower prices.

  • State legislators are essential partners in developing the framework that will help anchor institutions to obtain broadband connectivity, training, applications, and services. (Recommendation 8.22)

States should complement broadband deployment with digital education programs and fund community technology centers to ensure that residents of all ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, and ages understand how to be producers as well as consumers of this new media economy.

  • When feasible, Congress should consider allowing state and local governments to get lower service prices by participating in federal contracts for advanced communications services. (Recommendation 14.2)
  • The FCC plan provides additional recommendations for the inclusion of tribal leaders in broadband programs, construction of new networks in areas that are currently un-served, and the establishment of the Connect America Fund to address the broadband availability gap in un-served areas.

The FCC recommendations also focused on helping states make broadband more affordable and increasing the training needed to encourage adoption, including:

  • An expansion of the Lifeline Assistance and Link-Up America programs, where states already have these discount programs in place, as in Vermont, the FCC recommends letting states determine their own eligibility requirements.
  • The creation of a National Digital Literacy Program to increase the skills needed to participate in the digital economy.
  • The collection of more comprehensive and reliable information on broadband pricing, performance, and competition in specific market segments to better inform policymakers on affordability problems in specific communities.[49]


"Public policy makers throughout the world are faced with the need to update, replace, and/or revise existing regulations that govern the relationships between and among traditional video distribution platforms, such as over-the-air and cable/satellite providers, as the internet emerges as a viable video distribution platform."[50]

See also

  • Broadband universal service
  • Broadband mapping in the United States


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