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FCC Requests Comments on Definition of “Broadband”  - Comments Due Aug 31; Replies Due Sept 8

The FCC is engaged in researching and preparing a National Broadband Plan which is due to Congress in February 2010. The FCC has released a Notice of Inquiry soliciting comments for the plan and is currently actively holding a lengthy series of workshops exploring the different aspects of what might go into the plan.

As a part of this process, the FCC has recently released a further notice in which it specifically inquired about the definition of “broadband”:

In this first Public Notice, we seek tailored comment on a fundamental question—how the Plan should interpret the term “broadband” as used in the Recovery Act, recognizing that our interpretation of the term as used in that statute may inform our interpretation of the term in other contexts. In particular, the Recovery Act requires the Commission to develop a “national broadband plan” that seeks to ensure “access to broadband capability” for the entire United States. An understanding of what constitutes “broadband” thus is essential to evaluating the extent to which “broadband capability” is available, and informs the evaluation of particular policy approaches intended to ensure access to broadband capability. The National Broadband Plan NOI observed that “broadband can be defined in myriad ways,” and sought comment on possible approaches. We now seek more targeted comment on three aspects of this issue: (1) the general form, characteristics, and performance indicators that should be included in a definition of broadband; (2) the thresholds that should be assigned to these performance indicators today; and (3) how the definition should be reevaluated over time.

Further information about the inquiry and how to file comments can be found in the FCC Public Notice. [WORD]

By Robert Cannon, Cybertelecom

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