FCC Outlines Broadband Barriers

The National Broadband Plan task force cites a number of challenges hamstringing widespread broadband adoption, including limits on the Universal Service Fund and a growing demand for spectrum. The task force faces a Feb. 17 deadline for submitting a broadband plan to Congress.

Significant gaps in several areas of the broadband ecosystem must be closed before the United states can fully take advantage of universal high-speed Internet services, according to the Federal Communications Commission task force charged with developing a national broadband plan.
The task force cited challenges involving the USF (Universal Service Fund), widely varying broadband adoption rates across diverse demographic groups, lack of consumer knowledge about the actual speed of their Internet services, a growing demand for spectrum, middle-mile issues over the transit and transport of Internet traffic, and lack of television set-top box competition.

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The list of challenges was developed from data gathered from nearly 40 FCC workshops, more than 10,000 comments submitted in response to the National Broadband Plan inquiry and 15 other public notices related to the plan. The process is continuing and will include a new survey providing extensive data on households that haven't adopted broadband.
The FCC is required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to submit a national broadband plan to Congress by Feb. 17.