FCC broadens broadband study

FCC Electronic Comment Filing System

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The Federal Communications Commission wants to know the extent to which citizens across the country have access to the latest high-speed telecommunications technology.

The FCC plans to examine several issues not included in previous studies. One is the link between population density and technology deployment: Will installation of broadband telecommunications actually draw people and businesses to a geographic area?

Another new question is whether citizens and businesses are becoming increasingly dependant on commercial and government services that require broadband connectivity, such as videoconferencing.

The FCC has conducted three prior studies into the adoption of advanced telecommunications, as mandated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Many states hope to extend broadband connections to rural areas so they can provide telemedicine services where doctors and hospitals are spread thin. Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies are interested in using Internet-based networks for voice communications.

The new FCC study will look into those issues, as well as examining trends in other countries and how the speed of deployment in the United States affects the country's role in the global economy.

Comments can be filed through May 10 using the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System or by paper. An electronic comment only needs to be submitted once, but paper filings must include an original and four copies.

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