FCC Chairman: Broadband Not Being Deployed Fast Enough

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In a draft statement on the 2016 Broadband Progress Report, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is circulating a draft of his own thoughts on whether broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a “reasonable and timely fashion.” It is clear that he believes there’s room for improvement. The draft will be a talking point for the FCC’s January 28 open, public meeting and could be a starter for some fireworks.

“While the nation continues to make progress in broadband deployment, advanced telecommunications capability is not being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion to all Americans,” Wheeler concludes. He said approximately 34 million Americans still have access to fixed broadband at the FCC’s benchmark speed of 25 Mbps for downloads, 3 Mbps for uploads.

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The persistent urban-rural digital divide has left 39 percent of the rural population without access to fixed broadband and by comparison, only 4 percent living in urban areas lack access and 10 percent lack access nationwide. Wheeler said 41 percent of Tribal Lands residents lack access. He said 41 percent of schools have not met the FCC’s short-term goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff and these schools educate 47 percent of the nation’s students. Only 9 percent of schools have fiber connections capable of meeting the FCC’s long-term goal of 1 Gbps per 1,000 students.

Wheeler added that Internationally, the U.S. continues to lag behind a number of other developed nations, ranking 16th out of 34 countries.

January 12, 2016 |
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