FCC: No Broadband Access for 26 Million Americans

In an age of iPhones, Android devices and BlackBerrys, it might be a hard pill to swallow for U.S. regulators and lawmakers.

In a report to Congress, the Federal Communications Commission has found that roughly 26 million Americans still dont have access to high-speed Internet service.  

Perhaps more surprising is the FCCs findings that approximately one of third of Americans, or more than 100 million people, do not subscribe to broadband, even when its available.”

This suggests that barriers to adoption such as cost, low digital literacy, and concerns about privacy remain too high,” said Americas communications regulator.

The report also finds that there is limited broadband capacity for schools and libraries, further indicating that broadband is not being reasonably and timely deployed and is not available to all Americans.”

Without action by the FCC in partnership with the states and the private sector, prospects for broadband service in many of the areas cited in the Report will remain unacceptably low,” the FCC noted in a news release.

The report wasnt entirely somber.  Citing $65 billion in private sector capital expenditures on broadband infrastructure last year, the FCC declared that significant progress has been made over the past few years in both the private and public sectors.”

Kathleen Grillo, Verizons senior vice president for federal regulatory relations, echoed that sentiment.

“The U.S. has certainly come a long way in just a decade’s time to become one of the most innovative broadband marketplaces in the world,” she said in a statement. “In that time, thanks to policies that encouraged broadband deployment, the private sector invested hundreds of billions of dollars to move from 8 million Americans with access to broadband in their homes to nearly 300 million people today, with about 200 million choosing to adopt the technology.”

Grillo also said wireless broadband is a critical component to connecting the rest of America” and noted that connecting the remaining U.S. households to high-speed infrastructure will necessitate reform of antiquated intercarrier compensation and universal service systems to ensure that Americans across the country can take advantage of broadband.”

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