FCC Seeking More Requests For Comment on Economic Opportunity, Health Care

Looking for what broadband speeds should be available for health management
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In the wake of a workshop on economic opportunities in broadband and other media for disadvantaged businesses and a field hearing on broadband and public health and safety, the FCC has issued two more broadband-related requests for comment on, not surprisingly, economic opportunity and health care delivery.

Among the questions the FCC wants answered is what kind of speeds should be available to individuals in their homes "to effectively manage their health and communicate with healthcare practitioners?" as well as what speed should be available elsewhere in the community.

The FCC's current definition of high-speed access is 768 kbps downstream and 200 kbps upstream, while health and emergency response professionals at an FCC workshop this week suggested 5-10 megabits each way was a good goal, but that more may be needed.

The commission also wants to know speed, latency, reliability and other requirements would be necessary for specific applications like remote monitoring, real-time video for consultation and diagnosis, and the sharing of electronic health records. Given that last category, "security" should probably be in that "others" category.

Comments are due Dec. 4 as the FCC pushed toward its Feb. 17, 2010 deadline for the national broadband plan.

On the economic opportunities front, where comments are also due Dec. 4, the FCC wants info on the impact of broadband on businesses small and large, including workforce development, job creation, and just what the broadband speeds and needs are, including identifying businesses that are unserved, and underserved, and where they are.

The commission has issued numerous official requests for information, as well as soliciting input via online via workshops and field hearings and online.

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