National Broadband Plan: a Boon to Telecommuting

May 22


Dennis Schooley

Dennis Schooley

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Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Making high-speed Internet available in every nook and cranny of American soil will pave the way for in...

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Making high-speed Internet available in every nook and cranny of American soil will pave the way for increased access to high-quality video conferencing, cutting out the need for workers living in rural areas to travel long distances to attend meetings.

Increased telecommuting is seen as one of the most important benefits to the business sector of the proposed national broadband plan. Another upside is that improved broadband connectivity will help boost overall technological efficiency and reduce energy costs.

Outlined in a 376-page document which the Federal Communications Commission unveiled last week,National Broadband Plan: a Boon to Telecommuting Articles the national broadband plan offers specific recommendations for policy makers for the deployment of a free or low-cost nationwide broadband network across the country over the next 10 years.

The national broadband plan is being touted as the major factor that will finally bridge the wide digital divide between those who have access to broadband and those who don't. Its most far-reaching goal is to deploy affordable 100 Mbps to 100 million homes by 2020, pouring $15.5 billion into broadband deployment across the U.S. and using a large portion of the Universal Service Fund which now mostly subsidizes traditional telephone service.

The country's first comprehensive broadband plan also calls on Congress to pour $12 to $16 billion in building a national wireless broadband network for emergency response agencies, and freeing up 500MHz of wireless broadband spectrum in the next 10 years.

The national broadband plan was fleshed out after a series of dialogs the FCC had conducted with the public and private sectors. The agency found out that 94 million people don't have broadband either because they couldn't afford it or they don't see its importance.

Google, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner issued statements in support of the national broadband plan, saying the move would stimulate economic growth, create job opportunities, and improve the country's healthcare and educational services, among others.

The FCC had encountered resistance while conducting dialogs with various sectors and drafting the plan. The next few months will see more detailed discussions on how the proposed policies should be carried out.

The FCC is also expected to address opposition from the tech and telecom sectors, including accusations it had overstepped its boundaries by setting industrial policies. Others observed that the national broadband plan is quite unrealistic.

In an interview with PC World, Daniel Hays, director of management consultancy firm PRTM, questions how the FCC's requirement 4 Mbps service to qualify for the USF fund could still be competitive with the 100 Mbps speeds that the FCC requires for the rest of the country.

Hays also raised concerns over the ability of the FCC to free up 500 MHz of wireless spectrum within the next 10 years. "Expectations that incumbent spectrum licensees will make available more than 450Mhz of spectrum nationwide, 300MHz of it within five years, seem completely unrealistic, even if some gain-sharing arrangement can be worked out," Hays said.