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National Broadband Plan: A Look at Chapter 7 and Research

in Broadband's Impact/FCC/National Broadband Plan/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2010 – Chapter Seven of the national broadband plan is one of the shortest of the entire document, with a primary focus on research and development.  The key recommendation that this chapter makes is that Congress needs to fund long-term projects rather than short-term fast moving ones.

In order to promote increased research the plan recommends that Congress allow for tax credits in addition to direct grants; this would allow research organizations to star projects which may not have direct or easily identifiable goals but can yield important results.

In order to guide the research that should be occurring, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, with consultation from the National Science Foundation, should develop a long term roadmap.  That might also allow for easier research on the use of wireless spectrum, which the report said, the Federal Communications Commission should allow for greater experimental use.

The roadmap developed by the national academies and the NSF should look at five key areas.

Network price and performance, which would include not just increasing the speed of broadband, but also looking at the physical materials such as fiber and other optical conducting materials to increase performance through infrastructure gains.

The next area of research recommended by the plan is that into looking at national purposes; while this plan does look into how broadband can be effectively used for health or energy or public safety it is simply an overview not a detailed plan.

As a complement to national purposes the economic and social benefits of broadband should also be explored, these uses often are not directly linked to broadband but rather derived from applications that are aided by the availability of broadband.

In addition to improving the infrastructure, shoring the physical infrastructure also should be another area of focus.

Finally the last overall area of research should be and network management and measurement which would look at the “health” of the network.

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for BroadbandBreakfast.com since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act

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