National Public Policy
FCC and Other Federal Updates
Archived Weekly Public Policy Updates and News Articles
FCC and Other Federal Updates
- The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is seeking public comments for the Community-Oriented Connectivity Broadband Grant Program (Community Connect Grant Program).
The main purpose of this grant program is the construction of broadband facilities in areas where no broadband exists today with a secondary benefit of providing for a community center that provides free broadband service to all critical community facilities in the proposed funded service area for a two year period.
The new rule addresses several areas to streamline and improve the program for applicants and the Agency, with the goal of bringing broadband to unserved communities. The new rules provide flexibility to address the dynamic broadband needs of rural Americans and enhance the Agency's ability to target funds to areas where they are needed the
The new rules also seek to make the application process easier for applicants and evaluators. For example, a single concise project summary and map can be used to inform USDA Rural Development State Directors of pending applications within their states as well as the general public.
Read an overview of the proposed rules or the full Federal Register with background of the grant program and details of the proposed changes.
The deadline to submit comments is January 15, 2013.
On September 5, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the launch of Measuring Mobile America, the first nationwide mobile broadband performance measurement program.
As mobile broadband has become part of our everyday communications infrastructure, it remains difficult for
consumers to get detailed information about their mobile broadband performance. The program will
expand the FCC’s broadband measurement program to test mobile performance data.
The FCC has received commitments to cooperate in this program from major wireless carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, and CTIA—the Wireless Association®.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Wireline Competition Bureau staff has prepared a Staff Report to assist the FCC in considering reforms to the Rural Health Care support mechanism and in developing sound evaluation plans for any new programs. The Report both describes and extracts lessons from the Commission’s Rural Health Care Pilot Program (Pilot Program), which provides universal service support to extend broadband networks for health care providers.
The Report provides concrete data regarding the efficacy of broadband networks in delivering health care to rural America and provides extensive information that will assist the Commission in addressing the recommendations of the U.S. Government Accountability Office in its November 2010 report on the Rural Health Care program.
On June 14, 2012, the White House announced actions to lower broadband deployment costs across the Nation--a key step to linking communities, launching new businesses and generating jobs.
In addition, Federal agencies along with partners from industry, the non-profit sector, and local communities announced an array of initiatives under the umbrella of a new entity—the US Ignite Partnership—to accelerate the development of applications that can take advantage of ultra-high-speed, programmable broadband to bring innovative new products and services to the American people.
Read President Obama's Executive Order on Accelerating Broadband Infrastructure Deployment and the Fact Sheet: Bolstering High-Speed Broadband to Boost the Economy.
On March 27, 2012, the U.S. Department of Commerce, through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), announced its finding that 95 megahertz (MHz) of prime spectrum could be repurposed for wireless broadband use.
Read the NTIA press release, "Department of Commerce Takes Next Step in Unleashing Wireless Broadband Revolution: NTIA Issues Report Setting Path to Make Prime Spectrum Available."
The FCC released a public notice on Feb. 2, 2012, regarding the Wireless Telecommunications and Wireline Competition Bureaus' announcement of a reverse auction to award $300 million in one-time Mobility Fund Phase I support. This auction is scheduled to begin on September 27, 2012, and is designated as Auction 901.
Auction 901 will award one-time support to carriers that commit to provide 3G or better mobile voice and broadband services in areas where such services are unavailable, based on the bids that will maximize the road miles covered by new mobile services without exceeding the budget of $300 million.
Read more about the Mobility Fund Auction.
The FCC has adopted comprehensive reforms of its Universal Service Fund (USF) and Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) systems to accelerate broadband build-out to the 18 million Americans living in rural areas who currently have no access to robust broadband infrastructure. This reform will expand the benefits of high-speed Internet to millions of consumers in every part of the country by transforming the existing USF into a new Connect America Fund (CAF) focused on broadband.
Read the Executive Summary and FCC Chairman Genachowski's remarks.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a mobile broadband test to provide the public with a quick, accurate method to gauge the performance of the Wi-Fi they use on a daily basis. The test measures download and upload speeds, as well as latency. The app can be downloaded to smart phones by searching for FCC Mobile Broadband Test in application markets.
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Weekly Public Policy Updates and News Articles
As public policy can help shape and advance, or hinder, both the deployment and use of broadband, LinkWISCONSIN routinely tracks national and state public policy efforts.
Weekly updates, provided through Nov. 2011, vary in content but routinely included:
- Broadband stimulus announcements
- Congressional updates
- Federal agency news and proceedings
- National news articles on broadband and related topics
- State news articles on broadband and related topics
For archived updates, simply select the weekly update you wish to view and click on 'Open.'
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