FCC broadband plan considers spectrum for free 3G
The Federal Communications Commission is considering using spectrum for free or low-cost 3G service, according to a statement from yesterday’s Knight Commission Digital Inclusion Summit in Washington, D.C.
The agency said its upcoming National Broadband Plan will consider the use of spectrum for a free or very-low-cost wireless broadband service. The agency is also recommending that its low-cost telephone service programs, Lifeline and Link-Up, be expanded to include broadband.
“Broadband is one of our generation’s most important challenges, primarily because it presents one of our most monumental opportunities,” said FCC commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn in a speech at the Digital Inclusion Summit. “Universal broadband and the skills to use it can lower barriers of means and distance to help achieve a more equal opportunity for all Americans.”
The FCC also plans to launch a program called the National Digital Literacy Corps, which would be similar to programs like AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps. The Digital Literacy Corps will target vulnerable communities with below-average adoption rates like low-income housing developments, rural towns, tribal lands, and areas populated primarily by racial and ethnic minorities.
The agency’s recommendations come as part of its goal to expand home broadband use to 90 percent of Americans by 2020. Currently, 93 million Americans do not have broadband at home. Adoption rates are especially low among rural residents, the elderly, the disabled and minorities.
The FCC’s formal National Broadband Plan will be released during an open meeting on March 16.