great infrastructure challenge
early21st century.Like electricity a
ago, broadband is a foundationfor economic growth,
creation, global competitiveness
is enabling entire new industries andunlocking vast new possibilities for existing ones.
is changinghow we educate children, deliver health care, manage energy,ensure public safety, engage government, and access, organizeand disseminate knowledge.Fueled primarily by private sector investment and innovation,
ecosystem has evolved rapidly.The
home hasgrown from eight million
million lastyear. Increasingly capable fixed
mobile networks allowAmericans
access a growing
valuable applicationsthrough innovative devices.But broadband in America is
be.Approximately 100 million Americans do not have broadband
home. Broadband-enabled health information technology(IT) can improve care and lower costs by hundreds
billionsof dollars in the coming decades, yet the United States is behindmany advanced countries in
adoption of such technology.Broadband can provide teachers with tools that allow studentsto learn
same course material in half the time,
there is adearth
easily accessible digital educational content requiredfor such opportunities. A broadband-enabled Smart Grid couldincrease energy independence and efficiency, but much of the datarequired to capture these benefits are inaccessible
consumers,businesses and entrepreneurs. And nearly a decade after
ourfirst responders still lack a nationwide public safety mobile broadband communications network, even though such a network couldimprove emergency response and homeland security.
early 2009, Congress directed the Federal CommunicationsCommission (FCC) to develop a National Broadband Plan toensure every American has "access
broadband capability."Congress also required
this plan include a detailed strategyfor achieving affordability and maximizing use
advance "consumer welfare, civic participation, public safety andhomeland security; community development, health care deliv
energy independence and efficiency, education, employeetraining, private sector investment, entrepreneurial activity; jobcreation and economic growth, and other national purposes."Broadband networks only create value
consumers andbusinesses when they are used
conjunction with broadbandcapable devices to deliver useful applications and content.
fulfill Congress's mandate, the plan seeks
ensure that the entirebroadband ecosystem-networks, devices, content and applica
makes recommendations to the FCC, theExecutive Branch, Congress and state and local governments.
Government can influence the broadband ecosystem in four ways:
competition and, as aresult maximize
welfare, innovation andinvestment.2. Ensure efficient allocation
influences, such as spectrum, poles,and rights-of-way,
encourage network upgrades and competitive entry.
universal service mechanisms to
high-cost areas; andensure
low-income Americans can afford broadband;and
boost adoption andutilization.4. Reform laws, policies,
in sectors government influences significantly, such as public education, health careand government operations.
policies. Policymakers, includingthe FCC, have a broad
protect and encour-age competition in
make up the broadbandecosystem: network services, devices, applications and content.The plan contains multiple recommendations
will fostercompetition across
ecosystem. They include the following:
which will likely have direct impact
competitive behavior (e.g., through benchmarking
pricing across geographic markets). This'will also enable
FCC and other agencies
apply appropriate remedieswhen competition is lacking
specific geographies ormarket segments.
to ensure consumers have the pricing and performance information
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