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GAO Report Sees Tough Implementation of National Broadband Plan

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

WASHINGTON, October 13, 2010 - The United States plans to take actions to promote broadband similar to other nations, but achieving those goals will be challenging, says a new government report.

The Government Accountability Office looked at the plan offered by the Federal Communications Commission and how it reflects the experiences of leading countries on the issue. It found that the United States has a tough road ahead.

Broadband infrastructure has been widely deployed in developed countries, the report notes, but broadband adoption rates are more variable because of cost and other factors.

In 27 of the 30 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, including the United States, broadband has been deployed to 90 percent or more of households, regardless of differences in demographic and geographic factors, while broadband adoption rates are affected by factors such as population, cost, and computer ownership, says the report. In the United States, which ranks 15th for both deployment and adoption, broadband has been deployed to 95 percent of households, with 26.4 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. That's above the OECD average of 23.3.

The new report concludes that the United States must wrestle with actions required by governments at all levels and the private sector. “Furthermore, implementing the plan’s recommendations will require coordinating the work of multiple stakeholders and obtaining sufficient funding, among other actions. How effectively federal agencies will be able to address these challenges and implement the plan’s recommendations, as well as what the private sector will do to further deployment, use and adoption, remains to be seen.”

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