On July 20 the FCC said 14 million to 24 million American citizens still lack access to broadband. Prospects for deploying high-speed Internet are not good as the FCC seeks to advance the National Broadband in Congress.
Roughly 14 million to 24 million American citizens still
lack access to broadband and prospects for deploying high-speed Internet
quickly are bleak, according to a July 20 report from the Federal Communications
The broadband dearth is particularly dire in poor or
rural areas, impeding the creation of new jobs and stimulation of economic
growth, the FCC said.
The conclusion, coming days after the FCC called
to put $400 million aside for rural health care broadband, was a response to Congress' inquiry about whether
broadband deployment in the United States is adequate.
Americans will remain bereft of broadband without reform
of the universal service program and changes to U.S. broadband policy that
lower the cost of broadband deployment. This will prompt more broadband
providers to set up shop in rural, poor and other underserved areas.
These recommendations are outlined in the FCC's National
, which is designed to get broadband pipes laid down and pumping high-speed
Internet data to houses and businesses in rural areas.
Specifically, the report proposes to address such
recommendations from the National Broadband Plan as:
- Reforming the FCC's universal service programs to support
broadband through public and private partnerships.
- Introducing spectrum for mobile broadband.
- Reducing barriers to infrastructure investment, including
delays in access to poles and rights-of-way.
- Collecting better broadband data to assist policymakers
"As numerous studies show, America is behind where
it needs to be on broadband to maintain its global competitiveness and drive
economic growth," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement.
"Today's report is a reminder that we must move swiftly to implement the
recommendations of the National Broadband Plan."
The report also updates the speed standard used to
determine whether households are served by broadband from 200 kilobits-per-second
downstream to 4 megabits per second downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.
This change is a reflection in the evolution of Web
content from being largely text-based a decade ago to today's Web applications,
which are fat in rich media content, including audio, video and graphics.
The FCC National Broadband Plan has
the backing of most Internet companies that seek to deliver Web services and
content to consumers as quickly as possible.
Today's users are also conducting several Google searches
per day and connecting with friends on the Facebook social network, activities
that both require sufficient broadband speeds to be enjoyed.
The idea is that the more content these Websites can
shuttle to users, the more advertisements the users will see, and thus the more
money Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft may make.
The FCC said
four out of five people in the U.S. don't know how fast their home Internet access is.