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The FCC hosts three workshops on broadband deployment and adoption

08 Sep, 2009

The FCC is continuing its series of workshops on the state of broadband deployment and adoption throughout the nation. During the first week of September, two workshops focused on state and local government broadband initiatives and recommendations for broadband benchmarks.

Participants included officials from various state and local governments, representatives of several non-profit policy organizations, including Speed Matters' partners One Economy and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), as well as academics and industry representatives.

The first workshop, which was held on Sept. 1, brought together telecommunications officials for state and local governments to discus their roles in a national broadband plan. Primarily, these municipalities would be involved in a few key areas:

  • Identify holes in current broadband policy;
  • Oversee the development of infrastructure;
  • Garner support from stakeholders;
  • Push for increased adoption;
  • Fund broadband initiatives; and
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of enacted policies.

Representatives from twelve different states including Virginia, Oregon and Maryland made the case that schools, libraries, and hospitals can benefit greatly from high speed Internet.

Ray Baum, the Oregon Public Utilities Commissioner, said that schools, hospitals and government agencies need broadband at bandwidth of 10 megabits or more and urged the FCC to aggregate the best data on broadband availability for the states so that they can move ahead.

Next, the FCC held a workshop on Sept. 2 in which policy leaders recommended goals and benchmarks to be included in the national broadband plan. Participants recommended benchmarks to measure broadband availability, quality, and cost.

Scott Berendt of One Economy suggested that Congress should create a Broadband Progress Board to provide oversight and ensure implementation of a national broadband plan. This board would be comprised of members from the FCC, the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, and Urban Development, as well as other private and public organizations.

Many of the goals (affordable and universal broadband, online governance, and increased technology literacy, among others) discussed in the workshops mirror the Speed Matters principles. And, with the cross-section of people and organizations working towards a national broadband plan, there is room for optimism.

If you want more information on any of the workshops, the transcripts, videos, and all hand-outs are now available on the FCC website.

How State and Local Governments are Addressing Broadband Deployment and Adoption (Benton Foundation)

Benefits: K-12 Education (Speed Matters)

Benefits: Libraries (Speed Matters)

Benefits: Health Care (Speed Matters)

Broadband Benchmarks (Benton Foundation)

Principles for High Speed Internet Policy (Speed Matters)

FCC Broadband Workshops (FCC)

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