FCC Broadband Report Finds Significant Progress In Broadband Deployment, But Important Gaps Remain
Originally published: August 21, 2012
Last updated: May 5, 2013 - 9:37pm
The nation has made significant progress expanding high-speed Internet access in recent years, but further implementation of major reforms newly adopted by the Federal Communications Commission is required before broadband will be available to the approximately 19 million Americans who still lack access, according to the FCC’s Eighth Broadband Progress Report.
The Report chronicles major strides taken by providers and policymakers to accelerate deployment, including:
- Billions invested by the communications industry in broadband deployment, including next-generation wired and wireless services
- Expansion of networks technically capable of 100 megabit-plus speeds to over 80 percent of the population through cable’s DOCSIS 3.0 rollout
- World-leading LTE deployment by mobile operators
- Sweeping reforms by the FCC to its universal service programs, including the new Connect America Fund for broadband deployment, Mobility Fund, and the Lifeline program for low-income Americans
- Action under the FCC’s Broadband Acceleration Initiative to reduce the cost and time required for deployment
- Numerous steps to expand availability of wireless spectrum for broadband
Notwithstanding this progress, the Report finds that approximately 19 million Americans—6 percent of the population—still lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds. In rural areas, nearly one-fourth of the population —14.5 million people—lack access to this service. In tribal areas, nearly one-third of the population lacks access. Even in areas where broadband is available, approximately 100 million Americans still do not subscribe. The report concludes that until the Commission’s Connect America reforms are fully implemented, these gaps are unlikely to close. Because millions still lack access to or have not adopted broadband, the Report concludes broadband is not yet being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion.
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