Implementing the National Broadband Plan | Issues

Rural Health Care Support Mechanism

On July 15, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission introduced a new health care connectivity program that would expand investment in broadband for medically underserved communities across the country. The program would give patients in rural areas access to state-of-the-art diagnostic tools typically available only in the largest and most sophisticated medical centers.

Comments on the proposed rules are due on or before September 8, 2010, and reply comments are due on or before September 23, 2010.

Comment due date: 09/23/2010

E-Rate Reform

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.

Comment due date: 07/09/2010

Spur regional innovation and development as well as greater collaboration across universities

Recommendation #159
FCC Chapter: 13.10
The National Science Foundation should use its technology transfer grants to spur regional innovation and development as well as greater collaboration across universities.

Connect all public community colleges

Recommendation #135
FCC Chapter: 11.25
Congress should consider providing additional public funds to connect all public community colleges with high-speed broadband and maintain that connectivity.

Award some E-rate funds competitively

Recommendation #134
FCC Chapter: 11.24

Status: In progress

The Federal Communications Commission should award some E-rate funds competitively to programs that best incorporate broadband connectivity into the educational experience.

Fund wireless connectivity to portable learning devices.

Recommendation #133
FCC Chapter: 11.23

Status: In progress

The Federal Communications Commission should initiate a rulemaking to fund wireless connectivity to portable learning devices. Students and educators should be allowed to take these devices off campus so they can continue learning outside school hours.

Help Tribal libraries overcome barriers to E-rate eligibility

Recommendation #132
FCC Chapter: 11.22
Congress should consider amending the Communications Act to help Tribal libraries overcome barriers to E-rate eligibility arising from state laws.

Make broadband-related expenses more cost-efficient within the E-rate program

Recommendation #131
FCC Chapter: 11.21

Status: In progress

The Federal Communications Commission should work to make overall broadband-related expenses more cost-efficient within the E-rate program.

More data about applicants' use of E-rate funds

Recommendation #130
FCC Chapter: 11.20

Status: In progress

The Federal Communications Commission should collect and publish more specific, quantifiable and standardized data about applicants' use of E-rate funds.

Streamline the E-rate application process

Recommendation #129
FCC Chapter: 11.19

Status: Completed

The Federal Communications Commission should initiate a rulemaking to streamline the E-rate application process.