The FCC’s National Broadband Plan states that no matter where you live or how much money you make, every American, every school, every library, every business, every health care institution and every public safety facility needs to have access to affordable broadband services. Broadband has become the foundation of the American economy and the platform required for innovation and opportunity. It is a tool every child needs if they are to learn and compete in the global economy. Access to affordable broadband infrastructure is required to ensure that businesses, large and small, are created here, move here, and stay in our community. Technology is constantly advancing, and our community infrastructure supporting technology uses and tools needs to advance at a pace that is slightly ahead so that we are always in a position to leverage advanced technologies. We are a community of technology innovators, and our local infrastructure needs to enable innovation at the home and business locations.
Congress has concluded that broadband has resulted in advancing “consumer welfare, civic participation, public safety and homeland security, community development, health care delivery, energy independence and efficiency, education, worker training, private sector investment, entrepreneurial activity, job creation and economic growth, and other national purposes. Continued progress in deployment and adoption of broadband technology is vital to ensuring that our Nation remains competitive and continues to create business and job growth.
Less than a year ago, the Federal Communication Commission issued its Sixth Broadband Deployment Report under section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which requires the Commission to determine annually whether broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.
Read the full report at: (http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2010/db0720/FCC-10-129A... )
In Section 706(b), Congress stated that “[i]f the Commission’s determination is negative, it shall take immediate action to accelerate deployment of such capability by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market.”
In July 2010, the FCC concluded that broadband is NOT being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.
In their analysis, the FCC determined that while a majority of the American population has access to advanced telecommunication capabilities that enable the production and consumption of high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video, and even with the tremendous achievements industry has made deploying better and faster forms of broadband to most Americans, roughly 80 million American adults do not subscribe to broadband at home. Approximately 14 to 24 million Americans do not have broadband access capable of the production and consumption of high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video. This latter group appears to be disproportionately lower-income Americans and Americans who live in rural areas.
Blacksburg falls into that latter category.
One commissioner noted, “as with all great infrastructure challenges this country has faced, we must move forward in a collaborative effort, where the government and industry, along with consumers, work together for an America with ubiquitous, affordable, high-speed, value-laden broadband.”