Originally published: May 4, 2009
Last updated: May 4, 2009 - 8:28pm
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requires the Federal Communications Commission to develop a National Broadband Plan and deliver it to Congress by February 17, 2010. The FCC is collecting public comment on the plan through July 7, then it will have seven months to put it together. Successful National Broadband Policies across the globe have three distinct features: 1) Definitive goals to provide "x" bandwidth to "x" percent of population by "x" date; 2) some form of government financing; and 3) telecom policy that supports the goals of the plan. In addition, many of the plans also have specific goals related to broadband adoption, not just availability, and develop government policy and programs to support those goals. Another key element of most National Policies is the fact that a market analysis detailing the competitive environment, the market position of the incumbents, availability and affordability of broadband has been undertaken ahead of policy making. Although the United States is tackling some of these issues, the components are out of synch. The broadband mapping component is absolutely critical to the development of any plan or policy - yet it will not be available until February 2011. Furthermore, there is no current agreement on exactly what type of data should even be collected.
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