National Broadband Plan

USF High-Cost Program: Best and Realistic Timelines

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

According to the Federal Communications Commission's most recent report, nearly 14 million Americans lack any access to fixed broadband. In an effort to remedy this, in 2011, the FCC established the Connect America Fund (CAF) within the USF high-cost program to provide federal universal service support to private carriers serving high-cost parts of the nation. While progress has been made to implement various parts, thanks to the great work of staff, there hasn't been a sense of urgency at the FCC due to a lack of energy and commitment to complete the hard tasks that remain. Sadly, unless something significant changes, unserved Americans will have to wait even longer to get access to broadband.

Commerce Department to Co-Chair Broadband Opportunity Council

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
3

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced that the Commerce Department (along with the Department of Agriculture) will co-chair the Broadband Opportunity Council, a new federal government initiative aimed at increasing broadband investment and reducing barriers to broadband deployment and adoption.

National Broadband Map has Helped Chart Broadband Evolution

Location:
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), 1401 Constitution Ave, Washington, DC, 20230, United States
Recommendation:
3

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration released updated broadband map data, current as of June 30, 2014. The most significant finding from the latest data is that the United States has met the President’s goal of ensuring 98 percent of the country has access to wireless broadband at a speed of at least 6 megabits per second (Mbps) down/1.5 Mbps up.

Did the National Broadband Plan spur innovation?

Location:
Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, 37th and O Streets, NW, Washington, DC, 20057, United States
Recommendation:
2

How has the US done on broadband deployment and adoption since the release of the National Broadband Plan in 2010?

On Five Year Anniversary, National Broadband Plan Author Discusses Progress, Challenges

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
1

Blair Levin discusses the progress and challenges of the National Broadband Plan five years after he and his team completed it at the Federal Communications Commission.

Statement by FCC Chairman Wheeler on National Broadband Plan Anniversary

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

Five years ago, the Federal Communications Commission released America's first National Broadband Plan. The Plan was a seminal moment in reorienting the agency to focus on the opportunities and challenges of high-speed Internet, and it was the spark that ignited many significant advancements in communications policy.

The US National Broadband Plan’s lasting contribution to global broadband development

Location:
Brookings, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
1

Five years ago, the Federal Communications Commission released the first-ever US National Broadband Plan, a 376-page document. That plan was mandated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, known commonly as the stimulus. In addition to $787 billion in new spending to help jumpstart an economy in deep recession, Congress required that the federal government, under the FCC’s leadership, develop broadband policies that would contribute to this critical effort in a meaningful way.

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The National Broadband Plan at Five: The Work Done and the Work Ahead

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1560 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL, 60201, United States

Over the last five years, the Benton Foundation has been tracking the progress made on implementing the six core goals and over 200 recommendations in the National Broadband Plan. Our tracking is fueled by our daily Headlines service which is the most comprehensive, free chronicle of developments in telecommunications policy. Benton's National Broadband Plan Tracker captures the links between today's Headlines and events, bills moving through Congress, dockets at the FCC, and the week's key events. Overall, about twenty percent of the National Broadband Plan has been completed over the last five years while action has begun on another fifty-five percent of the recommendations. Fifty-five of the recommendations -- about one-quarter -- have not seen any work as of yet. At Benton, our focus has always been on what we believe to be the heart of the National Broadband Plan: the recommendations targeted at streamlining and modernizing the federal Universal Service Fund. For the Federal Communications Commission, there is no bigger, no better tool than the USF. When the National Broadband Plan was released, there was no task bigger before the FCC than taking programs that were traditionally focused on telephone service (or narrow-band Internet service) and refocusing them on deploying affordable broadband throughout communities.

AT&T Takes Issue with Auction Framework

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
1

There is a growing consensus among stakeholders, both in wireless and broadcast, that the Federal Communication Commission's variable post-auction plan, which anticipates some TV stations and wireless operators on the same channel in nearby markets, will reduce the "quality." At least that is the view of AT&T, which has told the FCC it needs to rethink portions of its incentive auction framework if it wants it to be a success.

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Celebrating a Fifth O’Planniversary

Location:
Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
2

Government actions fit into five buckets: 1) responding to a crisis (9/11, Katrina); 2) delivering on recent campaign promises (Reagan, Bush tax cuts); 3) routine operations, generally responding to petitioning bureaucratic or judicial actions; 4) long debated issues that reach a critical juncture and are, momentarily, resolved (Selma and the Voting Rights Act, the Affordable Care Act, last month’s Federal Communications Commission reclassification decision); and 5) small group charged with evaluating strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to a mission, and successfully building a path and political capital for achieving the mission. The fourth is rare, and therefore historic. The fifth is seen only slightly more than unicorns. Yet, this week we will see examples of both playing out. Of course, most media attention will focus on the Congressional hearings on the FCC’s recent reclassification decision. But there will also be several events commemorating the fifth anniversary of the National Broadband Plan. The first, on Tuesday, will focus on the impact of the plan on anchor institutions. The second, sponsored by Georgetown, will consider the wide range of issues covered by the Plan, looking back but, more importantly, looking forward to the agenda ahead.

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Day 1 of the National Broadband Plan (1827 Days Later)

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1560 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL, 60201, United States
Recommendation:
2

On the eve of the release of the National Broadband Plan five years ago, Charles Benton wrote, “We must roll up our sleeves to make sure we all enjoy the promise of truly universal, affordable broadband…. we must implement this plan -- quickly -- while evaluating our investments in broadband to inform our next national broadband plan.” As we review the progress on the plan, we take another look at Benton’s clarion call from 2010. Benton wrote, “Some may balk at the expansiveness of the plan and the FCC's calls for additional spending. Others may say that there is no need to enact this plan, that the marketplace alone will deliver the high-speed networks and services we need to improve people's lives. But the plan is exactly what Congress called for and the law requires. Our over-reliance on the marketplace to date has left us with gaping divides between people with the access and skills they need to make effective use of today's most powerful communications tools and those who don't. We embark on implementing this plan so that each of us -- no matter our income, education, ethnicity or age -- have the opportunity to fully participate in our society.”

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Is It Time For Lifeline To Include Broadband?

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Over the past five years, the Federal Communications Commission has taken action to reform each of its universal service distribution programs to refocus them on broadband. With the fifth anniversary of the release of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan approaching, we focus today on what could be the next major item on the FCC’s implementation agenda: reform and modernization of its Lifeline program. Since 1985, the Lifeline program has provided a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services. In 2005, Lifeline discounts were made available to qualifying low-income consumers on pre-paid wireless service plans in addition to traditional landline service. In 2015, however, the opportunity gap is about broadband service, not telephone service.

Sound Principles for Lifeline Reform

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
1

Since the FCC appears ready to press forward notwithstanding the need for fundamental review, it seems appropriate to outline certain principles for any Lifeline reform effort in order to garner my consideration.

Chairman Wheeler Responses to Members of Congress Regarding Implementation of Phase II of the Connect America Fund

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
1

On December 23, 2014, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler responded to letters from Sen John Hoeven (R-ND), Rep Jared Huffman (D-CA), and Rep Todd Rokita (R-IN) regarding the implementation of Phase II of the Connect America Fund.

Only 25Mbps and up will qualify as broadband under new FCC definition

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is proposing to raise the definition of broadband from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream to 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up.

How the FCC Plans to Stretch Budget to Support New Broadband Speed Target

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

When the Federal Communications Commission in December 2014 raised the broadband speed target for the Connect America Fund to 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream, some stakeholders questioned carriers’ ability to meet that target without an increase in the size of the fund, considering that the previous downstream speed target was a considerably lower 4 Mbps.

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The Sale of the Century? How the FCC Plans to Sell Off Part of the TV Band

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

In the Public Safety and Spectrum Act of 2012 (enacted as Title VI of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Public Law 112-96), Congress authorized the Federal Communications Commission to recover and auction a significant portion of the spectrum currently used by television broadcasters. This will be -- by far -- the most complex auction process ever undertaken anywhere, for any commodity, and poses unprecedented legal, political, engineering and technological questions. The auction is currently scheduled to take place in early 2016. The FCC has now promulgated rules for implementing the sale, and broadcasters are beginning to consider whether they should choose to participate. In addition, the National Association of Broadcasters has appealed several key aspects of the FCC’s new rules in a case which is receiving expedited consideration by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Interest in the forthcoming auction (actually, as explained below, there will be two related auctions) has surged in the wake of the FCC’s “AWS 3” auction, which began in November, 2014. That auction is for much less desirable mid-band spectrum than the low-band TV spectrum that will be at issue in the new auction. Even so, by the end of the year, the AWS 3 auction blew past the FCC’s $10.6 billion minimum “reserve” price, and bidding topped $44 billion after 139 bidding rounds. Given these developments, now is a good time to explore the history of spectrum auctions and the stunningly complicated process the FCC intends to employ. Bear in mind that this discussion is necessarily oversimplified.

Spotlight on NTIA: Mike Dame, Program Director, State and Local Implementation Grant Program

Location:
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), 1401 Constitution Ave, Washington, DC, 20230, United States
Recommendation:
1

In his current role, Mike Dame is leading a program that has provided grants to states to help them prepare for the launch of a nationwide broadband network for public safety, which is being developed by the First Responder Network Authority.

NTIA Grant Program Ensuring States are Planning for FirstNet

Location:
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), 1401 Constitution Ave, Washington, DC, 20230, United States

When Congress called for the creation of a nationwide broadband network for public safety in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, lawmakers knew it was important that states play a key role in ensuring that the network meets the needs of local first responders. To implement this goal, the law directed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to establish the State and Local Implementation Grant Program to support states as they prepare for the launch of the network.

Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I Support Authorized for Eleven Winning Bids

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

On December 19, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission issued a public notice authorizing Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I support for eleven winning bids.

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A Year in Review and a Look Ahead: Time for Lifeline Reform

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has been on the job for just over a year. And with 2014 coming to a close, we look back at the accomplishments of the FCC in his first year. Today we look at the FCC’s Lifeline program which provides discounts on monthly telephone service for eligible low-income subscribers. Universal service is the principle that all Americans should have access to communications services. Universal service policies have helped make telephone service ubiquitous and affordable, even in remote rural areas. But in a world that increasing relies on broadband Internet access, the Federal Communications Commission has found that it must reform, streamline, and modernize all of its universal service programs to transform them from safety nets into springboards, improving access to and adoption of critical advanced communications services.

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A Year in Review: Bringing Big Broadband to Better Education

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

On December 11, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission completed a comprehensive reform of the E-rate program, the nation’s largest program supporting education technology. Mandated by Congress in 1996 and implemented by the FCC in 1997, the E-rate provides discounted telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries, funded by the Universal Service Fund (USF). Over the past year and a half, the FCC has been reviewing the program to ensure that our nation’s students and communities have access to high-capacity broadband connections that support digital learning while making sure that the program remains fiscally responsible and fair to the consumers and businesses that pay into the USF. The real work of modernizing the E-rate reaches back to the earliest days of the Obama Administration.

FCC Continues E-rate Reboot to Meet Nation's Digital Learning Needs

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
5

The Federal Communications Commission approved further modernization of its E-rate program, the nation’s largest program supporting education technology. The FCC’s actions close the connectivity gap through continued efforts to lower the prices schools and libraries pay for connectivity, and by increasing the amount of support available for connections to the Internet, known as category one of the program. Based on a comprehensive record, the Order raises the spending cap on the E-rate program from the current $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion -- the first reset of the cap since it was initially set at $2.25 million in 1997, an amount that wasn’t adjusted for inflation until 2010.

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FCC Lifts E-rate Spending – Washington Reacts

Location:
Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
2

When the Federal Communications Commission takes a major action -- like modernizing the E-rate program -- there’s gonna be reaction ...

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Benton Foundation Applauds FCC's Big Broadband Boost for Education

Location:
Benton Foundation, 1560 Sherman Ave, Evanston, IL, 60201, United States
Recommendation:
2

Today, the Federal Communications Commission improved education for all our young people by providing the tools to connect every school and library to high-capacity broadband -- and Wi-Fi connectivity that delivers critical education tools right to students’ desks. This is a huge win for US education. By modernizing and funding the E-rate program for the 21st century, we will connect even the smallest, the poorest and the most rural classrooms and libraries to the world through the Internet. The actions the FCC takes today are exactly what’s needed to ensure our country’s competitiveness in the 21st century. Connecting all schools to high-speed broadband will help re-establish the US as a global leader in education -- setting an example for other countries that are struggling to improve their educational systems. Now all students will have the opportunity to develop the skills they need to succeed and prosper, and to realize the American Dream.

FCC Increases Rural Broadband Speeds Under Connect America Fund

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

Broadband for rural consumers that is supported by the Connect America Fund must deliver the same speeds that 99 percent of urban Americans enjoy, the Federal Communications Commission said in a recently adopted Order. The FCC will now require companies receiving Connect America funding for fixed broadband to serve consumers with speeds of at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads. The Order makes a number of adjustments to 2011 reforms to accommodate the higher speed requirement and better target Connect America funds to efficiently expand broadband into rural areas that would not otherwise be served.

FCC Seeks Input on Incentive Auction Procedures

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

The Federal Communications Commission adopted a Public Notice seeking comment on detailed proposals for conducting the broadcast television spectrum incentive auction.

FCC Announces Entities Provisionally Selected for Rural Broadband Experiments; Sets Deadlines for Submissions of Additional Information

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

The Federal Communications Commission announces the bidders that have been provisionally selected for funding for rural broadband experiments, subject to the post-selection review process, for the rural broadband experiments.

Spectrum of Possibilities

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

The Federal Communications Commission's AWS-3 (advanced wireless services) auction is going gangbusters, exceeding some analyst predictions and pushing toward $30 billion in bids for 65 MHz of wireless broadband spectrum. Verizon and AT&T are expected to get the lion's share of that, but the wireless appetite for spectrum is large, and given the prices being paid for spectrum that is not as conducive to wireless broadband as the 600 MHz of spectrum in the broadcast band, the success of the AWS-3 auction could have major ramifications for broadcasters when their spectrum goes on the block.

CAF Target Speed: CWA Wants 10 Mbps

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
1

Perhaps unsurprisingly the Communications Workers of America would like to see the Federal Communications Commission raise the target speed for the Connect America Fund to 10 Mbps from its current 4 Mbps – a move the FCC has been considering for several months.