GAO: Coordination Of Broadband Effort Is Job One - Broadcasting & Cable

GAO: Coordination Of Broadband Effort Is Job One

Released a report Wednesday on the state of broadband deployment and what the government had done to encourage it
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The FCC got some more input on broaband rollout Wednesday, this time from the Government Accountability office.

The message was coordination and benchmarks.

It released a report Wednesday on the state of broadband deployment and what the government had done to encourage it.

The report essentially confirmed what was already widely known, which is that broadband has been deployed extensively (to around 92% of the country), but that gaps remain, primarily in rural areas, and primarily because it is not profitable.

The bottom-line recommendation of the study was that the economic stimulus package's broadband initiatives will up the odds of achieving universal broadband deployment, but that coordination among the 11 federal that deal with telecommunications infrastructure is vital.

GAO recommended that the FCC work with NTIA and the USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to come up with performance goals for deploymnet and to define the different government roles and responsiblities.

The report was released by House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), House Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio), who sent a letter to Copps along with the report saying they hoped it would inform the FCC's creation of a national broadband rollout plan.

The commission can add that to the over 500 comments it got from various stakeholders this week on that national plan.

At the same time the commission is coming up with the plan of how best to promote broadband--due February 2010--NTIA and RUS are already supposed to be handing out grants and loans for that purpose--the first dollars are being handed out this fall--which makes coordination among the three even more important.

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