Log in
E-mail
Password
Remember
Forgot password ?
Become a member for free
Sign up
Sign up
Settings
Settings
Dynamic quotes 
OFFON

4-Traders Homepage  >  News

News

Latest NewsCompaniesMarketsEconomy & ForexCommoditiesInterest RatesHot NewsMost Read NewsRecomm.Business LeadersCalendar 

FCC - Federal Communications Commission : Duplication Alert: Broadband Pilot Projects

share with twitter share with LinkedIn share with facebook
share via e-mail
0
03/07/2014 | 07:44pm CEST

January's IP Trials Order contained a provision to use USF dollars to fund rural broadband "experiments" designed to deliver robust, high-speed, scalable broadband service.  The language put out for comment on this new program potentially gives the FCC latitude to do any number of things in this space, including gigabit communities.

Exactly five days later, Congress spoke to this very same issue.  Included in the Agricultural Act of 2014 ("The Farm Bill") is a provision that allocates up to $50 million-$10 million per year for FY 2014-2018- to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create a Rural Gigabit Network Pilot Program.  To be eligible for these funds, a provider must be able to build out "ultra-high-speed Internet service" within three years in rural areas that lack such service.   

I have raised a number of concerns about the FCC's new rural broadband experiments.  First, I worry how the new experiments will fit together with the high-cost universal service reforms that the FCC already adopted in 2011 and, despite my best efforts, I have not received an adequate explanation to date.  Second, as configured, these experiments could divert needed funds away from expanding broadband access for all Americans in favor of funding very high-capacity projects for a select few anchor institutions.  Third, I am very concerned about the ability of these experiments to succeed with one-time funding.  And now, I believe that these experiments could duplicate the Congressionally-mandated gigabit pilot program.  Instead of going down this path, the FCC should rethink the need for these experiments.

If the FCC does decide to press forward with its own rural broadband experiments, I will be looking to ensure that we abide by the following principles when deciding upon any final rules or approving any experiments:

1) No Duplication.  First, the FCC's experiments must accomplish something very different from the USDA's pilot program.  As I have said before, done well, rural broadband experiments might be useful to help us determine whether additional providers would be interested in serving consumers in rural America-particularly in the event that a current incumbent provider chooses not to participate in the universal service program in the future.  Unfortunately, January's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seems to suggest that the FCC is more interested in funding a few higher-capacity broadband projects for a few institutions, which could be very similar to what the USDA will be doing.  Second, the FCC must not fund experiments in areas that are served or will be served by USDA's pilot program or existing providers.  Such duplication makes no sense and goes against our obligation to spend every consumer dollar as efficiently and effectively as possible.

2) Rationalize Spending.  In its Notice, the FCC contemplated spending between $50 - $100 million (or more) on its new experiments.  Given the passage of the Farm Bill, which authorizes $50 million for the USDA's pilot program, the FCC needs to take this significant funding into account and scale down our own budget accordingly.

3) Ensure Qualified Participants.  The Farm Bill requires that those participating in the USDA pilot program demonstrate that they are capable of providing service.  The FCC should do no less.  We must not dedicate limited funding to wishes and whims, but only to verifiable, concrete plans from companies that can actually build and operate a sustainable broadband network after the one-time FCC support ends-because it will end.  The FCC should not approve any scenario where a new network funded through the experiments will cease to operate unless continued dollars keep flowing from the Universal Service Fund after the program ends. 

4) Don't Zap Focus.  The FCC experiments have the potential to divert limited staff resources from a main priority: following through on transforming our high-cost universal service fund into a program that is sustainable in the 21st Century.  While I may not agree with all of the 2011 reforms, the high-cost programs account for $4.5 billion annually and require considerable attention.  Staff workshops, webinars, presentations, guidance and oversight will be needed to achieve success on any new experiments.  But these take significant time and staff hours. 

Our job at the Commission is to carry out the will and direction enacted by Congress.  Given the passage of the Farm Bill, we should consider ending our own rural broadband experiments and instead focus on supporting and learning from the USDA's Rural Gigabit Network Pilot Program.

distributed by
share with twitter share with LinkedIn share with facebook
share via e-mail
0
Latest news
Date Title
11:07a KENYA AIRWAYS : Ebola - FG, Lagos Query Kenya Airways Over Corpse Repatriation
11:07a CHINA MACHINERY ENGINEERING : Kaduna, Chinese Firm Sign Pact for New Kaduna Refinery
11:06a TESCO : Rule 2.9 announcement - securities in issue
11:06a SANDS CHINA : Poll Results of the 2017 Annual General Meeting
11:06a SHAWBROOK : Form 8.5 (EPT/RI) - Shawbrook Group Plc
11:06a SPECSAVERS OPTICAL : Helping Sound Seekers provide urgent hearing care
11:06a METEORIC RESOURCES NL : Additional Information a
11:06a FIH MOBILE : Change of company name and address of principal share registrar and transfer agent in the cayman islands
11:06a DEBENHAMS : Womenswear AW17
11:06a METEORIC RESOURCES NL : to Acquire High Grade Cobalt and Sudbury Style Polymetallic Projects a
Latest news
Advertisement
Hot News 
8.70%RESTAURANT : reports less-than-expected dip in sales
7.16%SPIRAX SARCO ENGINEERING : Sarco to buy thermal tech firm Chromalox for $415 million
-3.71%PETROFAC : FTSE outperforms weaker start for European shares as sterling drops
-0.28%SAFRAN : investor TCI says reduced offer for Zodiac still too high
-0.76%VOLKSWAGEN : California says VW clean car spending plan has shortcomings
Most Read News
05/25DJBOC AVIATION : Unit Agrees to Buy Six New Aircraft From Airbus
05/25 VIACOM : Paramount Pictures Heats Up “BAYWATCH” Film Release with Partner Campaigns
05/25 SANTOS : appoints Vanessa Guthrie as a Director
05/25 POLICE : Iowa City man called protected party more than 900 times from jail
05/25 COSON : Accolades as COSON opens ultra-modern complex
Most recommended articles
05/22 NOBLE : shares tumble after S&P ratings downgrade
04:54a SAFRAN : investor TCI says reduced offer for Zodiac still too high
04:50a JAPAN POST INSURANCE : big insurers expand their appetites for U.S. Treasuries
04:36aDJTESCO : Investec Bank plc Form 8.5 (EPT/RI) - Tesco Plc
04:32aDJLONDON MARKETS : FTSE 100 At All-time High, With The Pound Knocked Below $1.29