June 29, 2020 — The National Broadband Plan has been successful, despite notable downsides, said panelists in a Federal Communications Bar Association webinar on Friday.
The plan, first released ten years ago, aimed to increase competition, provide lower-cost service to more Americans and decrease regulatory barriers to broadband rollout.
“Ten years in this space in terms of technology is remarkable,” said Rebekah Goodheart of Jenner & Block. “At the time only 15 percent of people had access... of 25 megabits... The fact that this plan was able to stand up through time shows how visionary it really was.”
“All the stuff that we’re taking for granted now are things that came out of recommendations from the plan,” she added.
Participants noted that, despite broadband access deficiencies amid the coronavirus, “overall broadband adoption rates [are] going up reasonably well right now,” said John Horrigan, Senior Fellow at the Technology Policy Institute.
But there are still significant barriers to unfettered telework capabilities, he said.
“We’re also waking up to the fact that smartphones, as useful as they are, have significant limitations for completing homework,” he said.
Ruth Milkman of Quadra Partners agreed.
“There’s a lot of stuff you can’t do on a smartphone,” she said. “It’s hard to read papers... and there are data caps, and it can be quite expensive if you try to use it in the same way that you would use a fixed wireline network.”
Blair Levin, non-resident Fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Project of the Brookings Institution, said that sections of the National Broadband Plan held up remarkably well, even ten years later.
“In the healthcare section which says, ‘We really need to utilize telehealth because someday there’ll be a pandemic’... it does look very prophetic,” he said.
Despite the proactivity of the policy, Levin said, it has certain shortcomings that the FCC should address.
“We’ve become much more aware in this society of different ways in which our institutions do not include everyone and lead to inequalities,” he said. “I would argue that absolutely needs to be a new plan... now it’s more important than ever because we recognize the importance of closing that digital divide.”
- Open Radio Access Network Tech is a Pandemic Necessity, Says Open RAN Policy Coalition
- Brookings Panelists Call For Breaking Up and Breaking Open Big Tech Powerhouses
- Trump Pulls O’Rielly Nomination, Algorithm Governance Framework, San Jose Hotspots, New Broadband Association Members
- Breakfast Media Minute: August 4, 2020
- Libraries Play an Important Role During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Say FCC Workshop Participants
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Artificial Intelligence1 month ago
U.S. State Department Employing Artificial Intelligence Against COVID-19 Misinformation
Broadband Roundup1 month ago
Artificial Intelligence Task Force, State Cybersecurity, ADTRAN Offers Rural Funding Guidance
Education1 month ago
A Mix of Resources and Technologies Are Needed to Close the Homework Gap
5G4 weeks ago
Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg Describes 5G-to-the-Home Vision, Claiming U.S. Leads in 5G Deployment
Infrastructure1 month ago
Michigan Broadband Cooperative Calls Report Saying Municipal Broadband Has an Unfair Advantage ‘Laughable’
Digital Inclusion1 month ago
‘Disconnection Day’ Looms as a Flouted ‘Keep Americans Connected’ Pledge Expires
Open Access3 weeks ago
In Danville, Virginia, an Early Adopter of Open Access Seeks to Prove the Business Model
House of Representatives1 month ago
Witnesses Blame Social Media Algorithms for Spread of Misinformation