FCC Releases First Draft of National Broadband Plan After Weighing Record

National Broadband Plan, Premium Content, Universal Service, Wireless December 17th, 2009

, Deputy Editor, BroadbandBreakfast.com

WASHINGTON, December 17, 2009 – The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday laid out a rough draft of its national broadband plan after weighing through 66,000 pages of written comments, 27 public notices, 100 items posted on its “blogband” web site, and 700 blog comment posted to the record.

But the agency says it is still difficult to answer key questions that must be addressed within two months time, or by February 17, 2010.

In November, the Commission identified gaps in broadband infrastructure deployment and adoption, and identified shortfalls in adoption and spectrum. This month the FCC laid out the policy framework to help us address the key broadband gaps.

Omnibus Broadband Initiative Executive Director Blair Levin kicked off the meeting by acknowledging the objectives of (1) understanding the principles on how to develop policy and (2) reviewing the policy framework by going through the principles that the policies should be based on.

Levin followed up by stating that the national purposes of the plan will be laid out in the January meeting.

Levin said he wanted to focus on the plan and the situation in America. Other countries have created their own plans but their infrastructures and needs differ in many ways.

He outlined what he called “Principles for Policy Choices”:

  • Private sector investment
  • Competition drives innovation and better choices for consumers
  • Better utilization of existing assets is required (Universal Service Fund, Spectrum, Rights of Way)
  • Policy changes must consider unintended consequences
  • New laws necessary in certain cases, but should be limited

Erik Garr, general manager of broadband initiative, told the audience that there will be no recommendations made, and that the meeting will simply be a discussion on the merits to determine if the ideas are good or not.

Garr introduced the broadband ecosystem as a function of networks , devices, application and content as well as adoption and utility. He then let his fellow bureau chiefs and panelists explain the guideline principle details and frameworks surrounding all of the issues.

In the following sections included as Premium Content, BroadbandBreakfast.com details the Universal Service Fund framework, infrastructure issues, spectrum policy, broadband adoption and utilization, and public safety issues for consideration in the national broadband plan. Premium Content below = 1,386 words.

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