Broadband – National Broadband Plan

Information for Sierra Telephone Customers
The National Broadband Plan, unveiled March 16, 2010, is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plan required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for improving broadband Internet access throughout the United States. Its goal is to provide 100 million American households with access to 100 megabits per second (meg) connections – as much as 25 times faster than what is now generally available – by 2020. In order to ?ensure every American – rural or urban, rich or poor – has access to a high-speed Internet connection.? Rural Americans, only half of whom today have broadband Internet, are one of the highest-priority groups addressed by the FCC. However, the plan is flawed.
Quick Reference Guide
National Broadband Plan, What is it?
  • The National Broadband Plan is the FCC’s response to a congressional mandate to assure every American household has access to robust and affordable broadband services
  • The Plan is a blue print for future broadband policy; it is not yet a series of rules
  • The Plan, as written, will hinder rather than advance broadband service in rural America
  • It is not too late to positively affect the Plan’s rule making procedures!
Harmful to Rural Subscribers
  • The Plan discriminates against rural consumers
  • Sets broadband speed standards for rural communities that are 25 times slower than those in city and urban areas
  • Neglects fiber optic infrastructure vital to the advancement of both wireline and wireless broadband services
  • The Plan’s shortcomings may:
    • Sharply increase consumer rates
    • Place rural communities at an economic disadvantage (e.g., limit job growth)
    • Reduce educational opportunities (e.g., distance learning)
    • Threaten consumer welfare (e.g., rural health care)
    • Limit rural consumer’s use of many current and future internet applications and services
What is being done about it?
  • National and state rural telecommunications associations have joined forces to:
    • Draw attention to harmful provisions of the Plan
    • Work with the FCC to identify constructive, less harmful alternatives to achieving national broadband goals
    • Brief congress and other policy makers and solicit their support
    • Educate consumers and other stakeholders and assist them with their advocacy efforts
What can you do to help?
  • Get personally involved!
  • Reach out to state and local government leaders and discuss what the Plan will mean to rural Americans
  • Encourage amendment of the Plan to support continued rural investment
  • Demand access to broadband services comparable to those in city and urban areas
  • e-bill
  • e-forward
  • voice-mail