Legislators have posed a mission to the FCC and the National Telecommunications & Information Association: Bring more broadband to hospitals, libraries and schools. This call for broadband service for anchor institutions came last week when House Communications Subcommittee chairman Rick Boucher (D-Va.) told newly appointed chairman Julius Genachowski that any broadband plan needs to get "extraordinarily high bandwidth" to libraries that can serve as local free Internet hubs.
This sentiment was shared by fellow Democratic subcommittee members, Reps. Doris Matsui and Ann Eshoo, both of California, and former subcommittee chairman Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). This group of legislators made their feeling collectively heard in a letter sent to the NTIA, which will be doling out part of the first portion of the broadband stimulus funding this fall, to make sure "anchor institutions, including libraries and health facilities" get extra attention.
In the letter the three lawmakers pointed out that many anchor institutions did not put in an application for two reasons: They did not fit the Broadband Technologies Opportunity Plan (BTOP) profile, or they found the process "confusing, complicated and discouraging." The letter added that schools, libraries and hospitals should get a minimum connection of 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps to support high bandwidth applications such as teleradiology, for example. Such a sentiment has been cited by some cities such as San Francisco as grounds for clarification or amendment of the underserved provision. The city has argued that broadband is largely unavailable in many areas throughout he city, but it does not meet the "underserved" category, because the city already has two major service providers (Comcast and AT&T) providing service.
- Multichannel News has this article
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