|Federal Communications Commission
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Washington, D.C. 20554
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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
The Commission today approved a report on the current availability of advanced
telecommunications capability to all Americans. The Commission prepared this report pursuant
to section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which directed the FCC to examine
whether advanced telecommunications capability, or broadband, is being made available to all
Americans on a reasonable and timely basis, and to report its findings by the third anniversary of
the Telecommunications Act of 1996.|
The Commission concluded that the consumer broadband market is in the early stages of development, and that, while it is too early to reach definitive conclusions, aggregate data suggests that broadband is being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion. The Commission based its conclusion, in part, on the actual deployment of advanced telecommunications capability in this nascent market. The Commission found that at least 375,000 residential consumers are purchasing broadband services, and that substantially more have access to broadband capability. The Commission compared broadband to other communications-related technologies, such as black-and-white and color television, and cellular services. The Commission found that, in terms of actual users, deployment broadband is exceeding the rollout of these other technologies at a similar point in their deployment. The Commission noted, however, that deployment of these other technologies accelerated after the first few years. The Commission stated that it anticipates that broadband deployment will similarly accelerate in the coming years. The Commission further noted that there is a significant initial consumer demand for broadband capability and stated its expectation that demand will grow substantially in the near future.
The Commission was further encouraged by the large investments in broadband technology that numerous companies in virtually all segments of the telecommunications industry are making. The Commission stated its expectation that these investments will lead, in the near future, to greater competition in the broadband market and to greater deployment of this capability in a manner that is more efficient and more inclusive.
The Commission also examined the deployment of broadband capability to specific segments of the population, including people in rural and low-income areas, and schools and classrooms, in order to ensure that broadband is being deployed to all Americans. The Commission found that some companies are starting to build and deploy broadband facilities to serve numerous rural and low-income areas. The Commission concluded that, although much of the evidence is anecdotal, specific examples indicate that these areas do not appear to present an intractable barrier to deployment. Regarding schools and classrooms, the Commission stated its expectation that, as the implementation of the universal service support mechanisms for schools and classrooms continues, deployment of advanced telecommunications capability will become even more widespread. The Commission stated, however, that, if the potential for broadband deployment in these areas is not realized, it would take immediate steps to accelerate deployment of broadband capability.
The Commission further stated its intention to continue to closely monitor the deployment of broadband capability to all Americans and to issue an annual report on this topic. The Commission further indicated that, where necessary, it would not hesitate to reduce barriers to competition and infrastructure investment to ensure that market conditions are conducive to investment, innovation, and meeting the needs of all consumers.
Action by the Commission January 28, 1999, by Report (FCC 99-5). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtogott-Roth, Powell, and Tristani, with the Chairman issuing a separate statement, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell, and Tristani issuing separate statements.
News Media contact: Emily Hoffnar at (202) 418-0253.