“The Broadband plan announced today by the Federal Communications Commission has many laudable recommendations to expand broadband access to all Americans. The proposals would expand opportunities for economic growth, better enable people to access health care, improve timely responses to emergencies, speed the implementation of health IT and advance other national priorities.
We commend the FCC on a very painstaking and thoughtful undertaking. We understand that some stakeholders will object, some quite vociferously, to some recommendations. But all stakeholders should focus on the areas where consensus is possible and recognize the unique opportunity to finally make progress on what has long been a key priority for America’s technology infrastructure. The FCC’s plan marks an important opportunity for the United States to put in the place the kinds of policies needed to facilitate greater broadband deployment and adoption and application innovation, but only if stakeholders come together to support key parts of the plan.”
Among the components of the plan where we believe a strong consensus for action should be able to emerge are
- The disclosure requirements for broadband service will help consumers make better choices.
- Creating incentives and mechanisms to repurpose spectrum, including freeing up DTV, and a spectrum dashboard for secondary markets, will free up needed spectrum for mobile broadband access.
- Recommendations to promote best practices for rights of way policies, to establish ultra high speed broadband for defense bases, the Connect America Fund , and the Mobility Fund are all wise policies to advance deployment.
- Making Lifeline and Linkup eligible to support broadband and creating a Digital Literacy Corps will help more Americans enjoy the benefits of broadband.
“Importantly, the FCC responded with great care to Congress’s interest in how a national broadband plan would respond to national priorities, such as health care, education, economic opportunity, and access for people with disabilities. Important steps forward include
- Transforming the FCC rural health care program
- Expanding reimbursements for e-care
- Removing barriers to device approval and health care provider credentialing
- Supporting wireless connectivity for students
- Creating electronic education records
- Creating digital learning content
- Providing smart grid incentives
- Spurring online job training
- Expanding e-government secure authentication and online service delivery
- Deploying a nationwide, interoperable mobile public safety broadband network
- Creating a broadband data repository.
ITIF has long called for most of these steps. If these and related steps are implemented, they would help create a state-of-the-art infrastructure that will keep Americans better connected to each other and to the products and services they want and need.”