Equal access to broadband – the infrastructure needed for 21st century success – should be the lived reality for every person in the United States. Digital opportunity should be available to everyone. Who you are or where you live should not determine your digital destiny. This is why the FCC is working to create rules and policies to combat and prevent digital discrimination, and to promote equal access to broadband across the country, regardless of zip code, income level, ethnicity, race, religion, or national origin.
Too many people in our country live in places where there are no options for broadband, especially in rural areas, where difficult terrain and long distances between households discourage private broadband investment. The FCC is approving billions of new investment dollars to bring more connectivity to consumers in these areas through the Universal Service Fund’s high-cost program. To ensure these dollars are properly invested and produce new broadband services, the FCC established the Rural Broadband Accountability Plan to track deployment and compliance with program requirements.
Internet access is not just nice-to-have, it is a must-have for work, healthcare, school, and beyond. Nearly 17 million school children lack internet access at home, creating a nationwide Homework Gap that left unsolved could be become an opportunity gap. And many Americans stay offline because they can’t afford the cost of broadband service. The FCC is working to on programs to provide help to these communities.
The need for accurate data pinpointing where broadband service is available, and where it is not available, has never been greater. Service providers and governments use broadband maps to make decisions about where service is needed and how to fund the expansion of broadband services. The FCC is in the process of updating its current broadband maps with more detailed and precise information on the availability of fixed and mobile broadband services. The Broadband Data Collection (BDC) program will give the FCC, industry, state, local and Tribal government entities, and consumers the tools they need to improve the accuracy of existing maps.
The United States is moving swiftly to lead the world in the next generation of wireless connectivity—or 5G. These new networks and technologies will enable faster speeds and low-latency wireless broadband services, cultivating the Internet of Things, and innovations not yet imagined.
The FCC is working to combat unlawful robocalls and malicious caller ID spoofing. This is a top consumer protection priority for the agency. By proposing and implementing impactful policy initiatives and pursuing strong enforcement actions, the FCC is taking a bold stand to protect and empower consumers.
Connected care services can lead to better health outcomes and significant cost savings for patients and health care providers alike. However, many low-income consumers, particularly those living in rural areas, lack access to affordable broadband and might not be able to realize these benefits. This is why the FCC is working hard to connect communities and support technologies that help connect Americans to critical health services.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the U.S. government has established several top-level websites for the latest official information on Coronavirus (COVID-19). The FCC is working to ensure that Americans stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic and is also taking steps to protect the health and safety of its staff.