Today, the President’s interagency Broadband Opportunity Council (BOC) announced it is seeking public comment on how federal agencies can promote broadband deployment, adoption and competition.
In a request for comment (RFC), the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce - which are co-chairing the BOC - are asking the public for input in helping to identify regulations and other barriers that are hampering deployment of broadband. The RFC also is seeking recommendations on ways to promote public and private investment in broadband and get a better understanding of the challenges facing areas that lack access to broadband. The Council, which is made up of 25 federal agencies, was established by a March 23 Presidential Memorandum to develop a framework of recommendations to explore ways to remove unnecessary regulatory and policy barriers, incentivize investment, and align funding polices and decisions to support broadband access and adoption.
“In an increasingly interconnected world, reliable access to broadband is essential to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness,” said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Lawrence E. Strickling, who has been designated as Commerce’s representative on the Council. “While Commerce’s broadband programs have made great progress in expanding broadband access and adoption, the Council will look for new and improved ways all federal agencies can target resources and regulations to ensure all Americans can take advantage of this vital technology.”
“Everyone has a stake in ensuring that all Americans, whether they live in the city or a rural community, have high-speed Internet access. We look forward to hearing from all stakeholders on what further steps the federal government can take to expand broadband access, adoption and competition,” said Under Secretary for Rural Development Lisa Mensah, the Agriculture Department’s designee on the Council.
Specifically, the RFC seeks comment on such questions as:
- How can the federal government best promote coordination and use of federally-funded broadband assets?
- What regulatory barriers exist within the agencies of the Executive Branch to the deployment of broadband infrastructure?
- Are there specific regulations within the agencies of the Executive Branch that impede or restrict competition for broadband service?
- How can communities and regions incentivize service providers to offer broadband services, either wired or wireless, in rural and remote areas?
- What can the federal government do to make it easier for state, local, and tribal governments or organizations to access funding for broadband?
The deadline for submitting comments is June 10, 2015. Written comments can be submitted by email to BOCrfc2015@ntia.doc.gov or by mail to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 4626, Attn: Broadband Opportunity Council, Washington, DC 20230.