Blog posts tagged with 'National Broadband Plan'
Tuesday, February 15
While the $7 billion tapped by Congress in 2008 for broadband stimulus has been quietly put to work, there continue to be hiccups for some of the projects. From the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:
State officials are returning $23 million to the federal government, saying there were too many strings attached to stimulus money that was supposed to be for expanding high-speed Internet service in schools, libraries and government agencies.
The money was to have boosted broadband connections in 380 Wisconsin communities, including 385 libraries and 82 schools. It also could have been used to improve police, fire department and hospital communications in rural areas.
But state taxpayers would have been on the hook for the entire $23 million if the state could not meet the grant’s precise requirements, Mike Huebsch, secretary of the state Department of Administration, said in a memo to school and library associations.
Hopefully these sort of wrinkles can be smoothed out, because broadband expansion is far too important to be held up by process.
The National Journal’s David Hatch reports that included in President Obama’s proposed budget is $5 billion for wireless broadband expansion to underserved and unserved areas. Also included: A $18 million increase for the FCC.
Friday, February 11
At an event in Michigan yesterday, President Obama announced a plan to greatly expand the reach of wireless broadband. The Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang has the details:
Obama unveiled an ambitious blueprint to use $18 billion in federal funds to get 98 percent of the nation connected to the Internet on smartphones and tablet computers in five years.
To get there, the federal government will try to bring more radiowaves into the hands of wireless carriers to bolster the nation’s networks and prevent a jam of Internet traffic. He said he hoped to auction airwaves currently in the hands of television stations and government agencies to raise about $27.8 billion.
And with the money raised, the government would fund new rural 4G wireless networks and a mobile communications system for fire, policy and emergency responders. The remaining funds raised — about $10 billion — would go toward lowering the federal deficit over the next decade.
Monday, January 31
From a sharp Associated Press article by John Curran on the desperate need to bring the power of broadband to rural America:
In the Depression, it was power to the people—for farm equipment and living-room lamps, cow-milking machines and kitchen appliances. Now, it’s online access—to YouTube and digital downloads, to videoconferencing and Facebook, to eBay and Twitter.
“Rural areas all across the country are wrestling with this, somewhat desperately,” said Paul Costello, executive director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development. “Young people who grow up with the media will not live where they can’t be connected to digital culture. So most rural communities have been behind the eight ball.”
The entire piece is worth checking out.
Thursday, January 27
In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama called for dramatically increasing wireless broadband access in America. And as Sara Jerome in The Hill reports, Rep. Edward Markey followed up the President’s call by promoting the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.
Released last March, the FCC’s ambitious plan had been somewhat neglected during the net neutrality argument. Now, hopefully, the effort to bring broadband to 100% of America can get back on track.
Wednesday, January 19
Via the National Journal’s Juliana Gruenwald, Universal Service Fund reform — a big component in achieving the goals of the National Broadband Plan — will be on the FCC’s agenda in February.
Tuesday, December 21
Governing requires compromise and the Chairman deserves credit for seeking a way forward that appears like it will preserve both private sector investment and Open Internet principles.
Finally bringing the net neutrality chapter to a close would be a welcome relief from a debate that for too long has distracted the Commission from focusing on the National Broadband Plan and achieving the critical goal of 100 percent access and adoption. We welcome the opportunity to work with the FCC and other stakeholders in future efforts to promote broadband, which has become a critical life tool.
Friday, December 03
Looks like FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, who has long been one of the loudest advocates for strict regulations on broadband providers, will be a hard vote for Chairman Julius Genachowski to wrangle for his latest net neutrality proposal. As Fierce Wireless reports:
“These rules must be put on the most solid possible legal foundation and be quickly and effectively enforceable,” Copps said during a speech at Columbia University’s School of Journalism. “If this requires reclassifying advanced telecommunications as Title II telecommunications—and I continue to believe this is the best way to go—we should just do it and get it over with.”
With fellow Commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Baker already coming out against net neutrality, and Mignon Clyburn likely — if more quietly — in Copps’ camp, it’s possible that on December 21 the only yea vote for net neutrality may be Genachowski himself.
Translation: the net neutrality gridlock could be perpetuated — and the National Broadband Plan would continue to lack the attention it deserves.
Wednesday, December 01
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski deserves a lot of credit for proceeding so thoughtfully and choosing a commonsense compromise in the face of hyper-partisan brinksmanship. By finally turning the page on this issue, the FCC can now focus its attention on the National Broadband Plan and achieving universal access and adoption, as well as fostering broadband innovation and investment.
— David Sutphen
We continue to see new regulations largely as a solution in search of a problem. However, today’s proposal seems to be the most effective option for reducing regulatory uncertainty in the broadband marketplace, enabling more widespread investment and deployment that will ultimately benefit consumers and our economy.
— Bruce Mehlman
Thursday, November 04
Our response to the FCC’s call for reply comments in its Open Internet Public Notice on “Two Under-Developed Issues in the Open Internet Proceeding” has now been posted at the FCC website.
Statements from our Co-Chairs Bruce Mehlman and David Sutphen:
With Election Day behind us, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stands at a pivotal crossroads. If it provides certainty to network operators and predictability to investors, it can meaningfully advance availability and adoption of high-speed Internet across the nation. If it rejects the counsel of bipartisan majorities in Congress and unilaterally pursues a more aggressive regulatory agenda, it can expect years of diminished investment, delayed re-employment in the telecom sector, battles in court and partisan squabbling that disserves our nation.
To realize 100 percent broadband availability at speeds that enable the next-generation of innovative applications, the FCC estimates the need for $350 billion in additional investment. Given the huge federal budget deficit and national debt, those investments are not going to come from the government. We need private investors to see the business case for continually upgrading existing networks and deploying competing infrastructure platforms.
— Bruce Mehlman
At a time when the nation is looking for common ground and common sense solutions for creating new jobs and fostering an economic recovery, the last thing we need is new regulations that threaten one of the few bright spots for growth: the broadband economy. Now is the time to turn the page on net neutrality and focus attention on the issues like universal service fund reform, digital literacy programs, and innovation policy, all of which will help to ensure that every American is benefiting from the broadband economy.
— David Sutphen
Tuesday, October 12
Statements from our Co-Chairs David Sutphen and Bruce Mehlman regarding the FCC’s “Open Internet” inquiry on mobile wireless services and “specialized” services:
Unlike burdensome and unnecessary Title II regulations, allowing specialized services can benefit consumers, investors and innovators. Enhancing quality of service (QoS) or enabling the connection of devices like wireless smart meters and health monitors will complement the open Internet, enhancing its speed and quality by channeling traffic with special needs.
— David Sutphen
We must take care that the near theological debate over ‘net neutrality’ not detract from a collective focus on expanding the Internet’s reach and utility. The Commission should abandon its ambitions to regulate wireless services, as new rules on mobile platforms are unnecessary at this time and could undermine investment, innovation and adoption in the most thriving and successful corner of the broadband ecosystem.
If achieving universal broadband access and adoption is the primary objective, the FCC should carefully consider the impact new regulations would have on the future expansion of network infrastructure. Allowing business model flexibility – both by allowing ‘managed’ services and keeping the wireless space unfettered – is key to encouraging the investment needed to connect every American with the benefits of high-speed Internet.
— Bruce Mehlman
IIA’s full reply comment is available at the FCC’s website (PDF).
Friday, October 08
Yesterday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski delivered a speech during an awards dinner hosted by IIA member One Economy, which advocates for improving access to technology for low-income communities. The Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang reports:
Genachowski mentioned four items worth noting:
- Reforming the Universal Service Fund to make it efficient and targeted to where it’s most needed.
- Putting in place incentive auctions and recovering underused spectrum, a vital step for global competitiveness, and extending broadband in underserved communities.
- Empowering consumers of wired and wireless broadband, and promoting competition.
- Promoting broadband adoption, including by working with One Economy on the ideas and initiatives it has pursued with such vigor and success.
The next FCC Open Meeting, which will chart their coming initiatives, is scheduled for November 30.
Thursday, October 07
From Broadband Breakfast, reporting on the final day of the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference in George Mason University Law School in Virginia:
The lack of a social network that finds the internet useful may be key in why the final non-adopters do not use the internet. If these individuals do not have any adopters in their social network then they are not exposed to the benefits of broadband.
Janice Hauge from the University of North Texas discussed her paper on demand side policies that reinforced Horrigan’s findings by showing that when individuals find technology relevant they are more likely to adopt it. “A program should motivate non-users to adopt, make broadband affordable, employ content in the training that relates to everyday life or the use of public services, and focus on the accessibility and usability of broadband and online services.”
In other words, when it comes to the worthy goals laid out in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, simply providing access isn’t enough.
Friday, September 24
The FCC has announced the agenda for its October open meeting, and missing from the list of topics are net neutrality regulations.
While the Commission’s slow movement on the issue may annoy those pushing the hardest for new regulations, moving cautiously on such a potentially damaging issue is absolutely the right thing to do. Imposing net neutrality — or reclassifying broadband providers under Title II — would be an over-reach by the FCC, and could potentially trap America’s broadband industry in a legal quagmire for years to come. Meanwhile, the FCC’s own National Broadband Plan would continue to languish without the private investment necessary to make it happen.
That’s why we and other organizations have been urging Congress to step in and finally end the net neutrality distraction once and for all. And thankfully, House leaders led by Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman are attempting to do just that. But while their efforts to draft a net neutrality bill are encouraging, it’s absolutely critical that any legislation that eventually moves forward is targeted, sensible, and promotes private investment.
After five years, we are hopefully inching closer to the end of the net neutrality debate. All it will take to pass the final hurdle will be Congressional legislation that both protects users and encourages private investment in America’s digital infrastructure. While the current work being done in the House may not get us there, the fact that there is movement from Congress can only be counted as positive. As long as we proceed smartly and cautiously, we can put the regulation arguments behind us and focus on what is really important: connecting everyone in America to the power of broadband.
Tuesday, September 21
This week leaders across the Keystone State are coming together at the 2010 Pennsylvania Broadband Summit to discuss high-speed Internet’s role in getting the state’s economy back on track and the importance of closing the digiital divide. Our Co-Chair David Sutphen has penned an op-ed for The Patriot-News highlighting the discussion.:
Thanks to stimulus grants attained by the commonwealth focused on unserved areas and other grants focused on demand aggregation and the promotion of public computing centers, Pennsylvania will be able to expand broadband access to unserved areas and build demand.
In fact, the president has allocated $7.2 billion of stimulus funds to help bring broadband to rural areas nationwide. While this is a healthy down payment, it’s important that we continue also to focus on private investment to attain the $350 billion the Federal Communications Commission has estimated is needed to get everyone online.
The Internet has enjoyed a decade of unparalleled success, inarguably because of significant private industry investment in a business-friendly environment with minimal regulation.
But there has been concern that actions in Washington could impose an environment of stifling heavy-handed regulation that deters, not facilitates, investment in broadband technology.
Read David’s full op-ed at the Patriot-News.
Friday, September 17
Gauthum Nagesh from The Hill reports that as part of its ongoing effort to bring broadband to everyone in America, the FCC is asking small business owners for input on their Internet needs:
Chairman Julius Genachowski said the FCC is moving forward with its plans to encourage competition in the business broadband market during a speech on Wednesday to a gathering of the top sellers on eBay.
“As eBay sellers, you know better than anyone about the importance of broadband to the success of our economy, to jobs, and to the future of small businesses,” Genachowski said. “Few things have greater potential to unleash the ingenuity of America’s small-business owners than driving world-leading broadband deployment and adoption.”
Tuesday, September 14
The $7 billion in stimulus funds set aside for broadband expansion continues to be distributed, with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announcing yesterday that 35 new broadband projects will be receiving funding. At The Hill, Gautham Nagesh breaks down the projects:
Ten projects worth about $360 million will go toward providing middle-mile networks; Connecticut, Colorado, Arizona and Illinois received the bulk of the funding. Another $60 million will be used on to create or expand public computing centers at colleges, schools and libraries including Auburn University in Auburn, Ala. The other $60 million in grants will go to broadband programs focused on health services and underserved communities.
All told, the price tag for this latest round is $482 million.
Tuesday, August 31
Sara Jerome of The Hill reports that at an event today in Los Angeles, the FCC will be unveiling translations of the National Broadband Plan in six languages: Mandarin, Samoan, Tagalog, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese.
Tuesday, August 24
Based on my observations there are a lot of similarities between the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Communications Commission when it comes to matters affecting rural America. The most prominent of these similarities is the overwhelming use of heavy-handed regulation by both the FDA and FCC when a light touch is really what would best serve the industries they regulate. Quite simply, heavy-handed regulation scares potential investors, especially those looking to invest or enter into public-private partnerships in rural Communities.
In the case of FCC regulation of broadband, the Commission is failing to take into account the need for regulatory certainty that investors in rural broadband infrastructure require. With all due respect to the FCC: heavy-handed regulation makes investors and business owners nervous. Conversely, conservative regulation creates the certainty required for investors to commit capital to multiyear broadband infrastructure projects serving communities in rural America. It should come as no surprise that building out broadband infrastructure in rural communities is more time and capital-intensive. This is why a period of regulatory stability would go a long way toward providers deploying broadband connections in rural areas.
Let me be clear: the fact of the matter is that investment and public-private partnerships involving broadband providers are critical to providing ranchers and farmers with the same business opportunities that businesses in urban communities enjoy. This type of investment will not occur if the FCC continues to advocate for measures that would leave ranchers to continue to live as second-class digital citizens.
We all want to be connected in Rural America: to run our businesses, to improve quality of life and reap the benefits of resources such as education and health care online. And the FCC has a critical role when it comes to bringing broadband to cattlemen… and that’s to implement the National Broadband Plan.
— Jess Peterson is Executive Vice President for the United States Cattlemen’s Association and a 5th generation rancher.
Thursday, August 19
Yesterday, RUS and NTIA announced $1.8 billion in broadband stimulus grants. Among those awarded were satellite broadband providers and emergency responders.
All told, 94 projects received grants.