On April 7, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission opened an inquiry into how the Commission can work with other government entities and the private sector to improve policies for access to other physical spaces where wired and wireless broadband can be deployed, including roadways and other rights of way, and locations for wireless facilities. This sets the stage for further acceleration of broadband deployment in the future.
On May 20, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission took further steps toward ensuring universal access to affordable, high-quality broadband by proposing updates to the highly successful "E-rate" universal service program. The proposals further the FCC's National Broadband Plan goal of connecting schools and libraries to world-leading broadband by modernizing and improving the Universal Service Fund.
Congress should consider amending the Communications Act to provide discretion to the FCC to allow anchor institutions on Tribal lands to share broadband network capacity that is funded by the E-rate or the Rural Health Care program with other community institutions designated by Tribal governments.
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.