1. In this Notice of Inquiry (Inquiry), we solicit data and information that will help the Commission complete its annual task under section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, as amended, of determining whether broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion. Specifically, section 706 requires the Commission annually to "initiate a notice of inquiry concerning the availability of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans (including, in particular, elementary and secondary schools and classrooms)." In conducting this Inquiry, the Commission must "determine whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion." Section 706 also requires the Commission to provide "demographic information for unserved areas" and complete an international comparison of broadband service capability. The Commission also must conduct a consumer survey to evaluate "the national characteristics of the use of broadband" and make the results of the survey public at least once per year. If the Commission finds that broadband is not being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion, then the Commission "shall take immediate action to accelerate deployment of such capability by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market."
2. The purpose of this Inquiry then is to initiate the process that will allow the Commission to fulfill these statutory responsibilities. We encourage companies, policy institutes, governmental entities, analysts, consumer groups, individual broadband consumers, individuals who live or work in unserved areas, and others to provide whatever objective, empirical data and evidence might be useful to help us complete the tasks identified above. To facilitate the process, we ask a number of questions related to interpreting section 706 and measuring the availability and deployment of broadband. We also encourage commenters to bring new issues to our attention, and to submit data and evidence to the extent reasonably related to the scope of section 706.
3. Ensuring universal broadband availability is the great infrastructure challenge of our time. The ultimate purpose of this Inquiry is to inform ourselves about the state of broadband deployment and its progress so that we can consider what additional actions, if any, should or should not be taken by the Commission to bring broadband to all Americans to ensure that "every American has a meaningful opportunity to benefit from the broadband communications era."
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8/6/10 FCC Seeks Public Input for Next Broadband Deployment Report
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Reply Comment Date: October 5, 2010