National Broadband Plan

Yesterday, the FCC released is Broadband Action Agenda describing the purpose and timing of more than 60 rulemakings and other proceedings the agency plans to conduct in order to implement its recently issued National Broadband Plan. On USF, reform of USF distribution is scheduled for 2Q 2010, but contribution reform is not scheduled to begin until the end of the year. Access charges, VoIP and other intercarrier compensation issues are given a 4Q 2010 start date.
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On March 16, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced the release of the National Broadband Plan (the “Plan”). The Plan outlines sweeping proposals intended to accelerate broadband access and adoption throughout the United States that will be implemented over the coming years. Over the coming months, the FCC will launch a series of rulemakings to seek public comment and adopt rules to implement these proposals. Broadband and telecommunications providers should expect these proceedings will be a key focus of the FCC for the next several years.

Among the Plan’s chief recommendations are proposals that would give the FCC and other policymakers an enhanced role in establishing and enforcing pro-consumer policies, including mandating heightened disclosure requirements for broadband service providers, publishing market-by-market analyses of broadband pricing and competition, and enhancing online privacy protections. The Plan also calls for the FCC to: increase the amount of spectrum available for allocation through the use of incentive auctions; expand the amount of spectrum available for unlicensed use; and increase the transparency of spectrum allocation in general. Further, the Plan includes recommendations to speed the development and adoption of technologies that touch on a wide range of policy objectives from health care to public safety to energy efficiency.

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As we do regularly in this blog, we preview significant items to be presented at the FCC’s upcoming monthly meeting.  This month it is easy, because the FCC’s agenda includes only one item: an update on the development of the National Broadband Plan. 

At the December 16th meeting, the FCC staff will present an update on the