In what could be the start of a new communal relationship between the government and the U.S. telecom industry, the nation's largest telcos and cable MSOs have agreed to help the Commerce Department identify broadband availability gaps. So far, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast all said they would help Commerce "complete the important and difficult task of mapping broadband availability." Additionally, industry trade groups that represent wireless operators, rural ILECs and the Tier 1 service providers have asked their members to provide relevant information. The carriers collectively agreed to help out when the NTIA said it would not require service providers to give up competitive information about their respective subscriber bases.
With this information in hand, Lawrence Strickling, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the division of the Commerce Department that has been tasked with the broadband map project said that "the information that the broadband carriers are now committed to providing is crucial to the creation of the national broadband map."
Going forward, NITA will use the data to create an interactive national broadband map that will enable consumers to find broadband services where they live. What's more, industry regulators will leverage the data to foster new broadband network investment and develop policy to extend broadband services throughout the U.S.
- Associated Press has this article
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