Public, Cable Industry Has Until April 13 to Comment on FCC's Role in Broadband Rollout

FCC staffers to be available to take meetings during NCTA convention in Washington

The FCC has given the public and industry until April 13 to weigh in on the FCC's advisory role in $7.2 billion in broadband rollout grants being administered by the National Telecommunications & Information Administration and the Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Service (RUS), according to a public notice issued Tuesday.

The FCC is charged by Congress with advising on five key issues that will determine what areas get the grants, who gets the grant money and who gets to apply for it. They are: the definition of "un-served area"; the definition of "underserved area"; the definition of "broadband"; the non-discrimination obligations in the NTIA grants; the network interconnection obligations in the NTIA grants.

The FCC said it wants commenters to confine themselves to those five issues, and include an executive summary if they can't do it in 10 pages or less.

The FCC also said staffers would be available to take meetings between March 30 and April 3. That dovetails nicely with the NCTA's annual convention in Washington.

The cable industry generally wants the government to concentrate on un-served, rather than underserved areas, and not to define nondiscrimination in a way that will discourage companies from applying for the grants.

April 13 is the same as NTIA's comment date for weighing in on its administration of the grants.