Chairman Genachowski's Statement on the Second Rural Broadband Report
UPDATE TO 2009 RURAL BROADBAND REPORT
CHAIRMAN JULIUS GENACHOWSKIRe:
Bringing Broadband to Rural America: Update to Report on a Rural Broadband Strategy,
GN Docket No. 11-16
The Rural Broadband Report update we release today shows the important strides the country
has made over the past two years to bring broadband to rural America. But it also highlights the
substantial work that remains to be done to close major gaps in broadband deployment and adoption
in rural America. Too many Americans, particularly in rural areas, are still being left out of our
In America's small towns, just as in its large cities, broadband is vital to economic growth, to
job creation, to entrepreneurship and the success of small businesses, and to education and healthcare.
I saw this first hand when I traveled to rural Nebraska last month as part of the Commission's
ongoing effort to overhaul the Universal Service Fund and intercarrier compensation system. In the
small town of Diller, I met with two entrepreneurs who have used a vibrant online presence and
digital technology throughout their meat processing business to more than double sales and nearly
triple their payroll.
But just a few miles away, in the neighboring town of Liberty, I spoke with families who told
me about the difficulties they faced without broadband--with dial up as their only option for Internet
access. I heard from a hunter who wanted to start a hunting lodge but couldn't without Internet
access, a farmer who couldn't participate effectively in online auctions for cattle and farm equipment,
parents who were unable to video chat with their son serving in the military abroad, and another
family whose daughter had struggled to keep pace in school without the ability to do research online.
The challenges these families face make clear that broadband is no longer a luxury, it is an
increasingly vital necessity for full participation in our society and economy.
We have made real progress over the two years covered in this report. Both the public and
private sectors have invested billions to extend and upgrade broadband networks, including over $8
billion in federal grants and loans given out under RUS's Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) and
NTIA's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) to increase broadband deployment
and adoption. Implementing recommendations of the National Broadband Plan, the FCC has
unleashed new spectrum for mobile broadband; launched the Broadband Acceleration Initiative to
reduce the costs and time required to deploy broadband by reforming infrastructure policies; reduced
the cost of and accelerated access to utility pole attachments; promoted greater utilization of spectrum
over Tribal lands; and improved and modernized our E-rate program, which helps provide broadband
for schools and libraries.
By working with Tribal, federal, state, and local government entities and industry and
consumer groups, the Commission is also collecting better broadband data, and NTIA, in cooperation
with the Commission and entities in every state, has unveiled the National Broadband Map--a
groundbreaking tool that allows users to view broadband availability across every neighborhood in
the country. The Commission's 2009 rural broadband report highlighted our inability to answer a
simple question: What is the current state of broadband in rural America? Today we have meaningful
insight into rural broadband deployment.
UPDATE TO 2009 RURAL BROADBAND REPORTYet much more remains to be done. The Commission is in the process of modernizing and
streamlining the Universal Service Fund and related intercarrier compensation system, transforming
them from inefficient, 20th Century phone programs to modern, fiscally responsible forces for
expansion of 21st Century broadband. This effort is essential to bringing broadband to the millions of
Americans being left behind today, and the Commission has no higher priority in the coming months.
The Commission must also continue to remove barriers to rural broadband deployment to
unleash private investment, innovation, and job creation. And we must continue to improve and
streamline our collection of broadband data.
I thank the staff of the FCC, particularly the Wireline Competition Bureau, for their hard
Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.