Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The FCC said Feb. 18 that it would propose using federal buildings as anchor institutions for broadband service, saying federal assets have "not [been] used effectively to spur local adoption and deployment of broadband."
That was one in a series of proposals the FCC signaled will be part of a national broadband deployment and adoption plan due to Congress March 17.
At its public meeting Thursday, the commission's broadband team outlined a series of those proposals to further so-called national purposes, which include healthcare, education, energy, environmental issues, government services and access, public safety, homeland security, job training, and small business development. That list suggests just how big and all-encompassing the FCC's task is.
"[Government] policies have often inhibited or failed to provide incentives for investment in and innovative use of broadband," said the FCC. In addition to using government buildings to drive broadband adoption, the FCC suggested the government could better coordinate its broadband grants, release more government information online, "enable citizen-centric online services," and encourage more use of social media.
If the government is going to put more of its services online, broadband deployment will be a key goal so citizens have equal access to those services. For example, some state governments are discounting online renewals of car registrations, which could translate into a tax, or at least an additional burden, on those without ready access to online registration. Those tend to be rural and poorer communities.
Among the other plan proposals will be: 1) to launch a public-private partnership to boost technology training for small and disadvantaged businesses, which would include female- and minority-owned businesses; 2) to use the Rural Health Care Program to subsidize broadband deployment and ongoing costs while expanding the pool of eligible providers; and 3) to boost digital educational content and "promote digital literacy for students and teachers."
The cable industry has proposed a 50% price break on broadband service to homes with middle-schoolers qualifying for government-subsidized school lunches, but only if the government steps up to fund digital literacy.