The Federal Communications Commission is now formally soliciting public comment on how rural broadband initiatives should fit into a national broadband policy.

Language in the stimulus bill directs the Commission to formulate a national broadband policy, but that bill is far from being signed into law. However, the FCC was directed in the 2008 Farm Bill to formulate a rural broadband strategy.

The Commission is proceeding with the stated expectation that Congress will eventually charge it with the task of formulating a national broadband policy in the forthcoming stimulus bill (aka The Recovery Act).

Given that, the FCC is looking for recommendations on how to streamline the administration of broadband programs, and how to implement them. It is asking for comments on the following subjects:

  1. How to promote interagency coordination of Federal agencies in regard to policies, procedures and targeted resources, and to streamline, or otherwise improve and streamline, the policies, programs and services.
  2. How to coordinate existing Federal rural broadband or rural initiatives.
  3. How to coordinate both short- and long-term needs assessments and solutions for a rapid build-out of rural broadband solutions and application of the recommendations for federal, state, regional and local government policymakers.
  4. How to identify how specific Federal agency programs and resources can best respond to rural broadband requirements and overcome obstacles that currently impede rural broadband deployment.

For information on how and where to file comments, or to schedule an ex parte meeting, click here.

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