The Council, which is made up of 25 federal agencies and co-chaired by the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce, was established by a March 23 Presidential Memorandum. The Council’s purpose is to explore ways to remove unnecessary regulatory and policy barriers, incentivize investment, and align funding polices and decisions to support broadband access and adoption.
In a request for comment (RFC), the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce are asking the public for input in helping to identify regulations and other barriers that are hampering deployment of broadband. The RFC is also seeking recommendations on ways to promote public and private investment in broadband and get a better understanding of the challenges facing areas that lack access to broadband. President Obama specifically noted discrepancies in access between rural and urban areas in the Memorandum, directing agencies to “pay particular attention to increasing broadband access for under-served communities, including in rural areas, and to exploring opportunities to reduce costs for potential low-income users”.
Specifically, the RFC is seeking comment on such questions as:
- How can the federal government best promote coordination and use of federally-funded broadband assets?
- What regulatory barriers exist within the agencies of the Executive Branch to the deployment of broadband infrastructure?
- Are there specific regulations within the agencies of the Executive Branch that impede or restrict competition for broadband service?
- How can communities and regions incentivize service providers to offer broadband services, either wired or wireless, in rural and remote areas?
- What can the federal government do to make it easier for state, local, and tribal governments or organizations to access funding for broadband?
Written comments can be submitted by email toBOCrfc2015@ntia.doc.gov or by mail to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 4626, Attn: Broadband Opportunity Council, Washington, DC 20230.