Suspension bridge transforming into rainbow colored cables

 
"Since my first day as Chairman of the FCC, my number one priority has been closing the digital divide and bringing the benefits of the Internet age to all Americans." – FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

Bridging the Digital Divide

High-speed Internet access, or broadband, is critical to economic opportunity, job creation, education, and civic engagement. But there are too many parts of this country where broadband is unavailable. In urban areas, 97% of Americans have access to high-speed fixed service. In rural areas, that number falls to 65%. And on Tribal lands, barely 60% have access. All told, nearly 30 million Americans cannot reap the benefits of the digital age.

Reports & Data

News

December 6, 2019 - News Release
Pai Names Leaders of Precision Agriculture Task Force Working Groups

December 4, 2019 - News Release
Pai Announces Plan to Launch $9 Billion 5G Fund for Rural America

December 2, 2019 - Letters
Chairman Pai Writes Tribal Leaders with Dates of 2.5 GHz Rural Window

November 1, 2019 - Public Notice
FCC Launches Rural Tribal Window Webpage and Mapping Tool

November 19, 2019 - News Release
Pai Announces Members & First Meeting Of Precision Ag Task Force

October 31, 2019 - Order on Reconsideration
FCC Takes Steps to Enforce Quality Standards for Rural Broadband

October 10, 2019 - News Release
FCC Authorizes Over $61.8 Million in Funding for Rural Broadband

Key Initiatives

Under Chairman Pai's leadership, the FCC has moved aggressively to expand broadband across America. Initiatives include:

  • Launching the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which would direct up to $20.4 billion to expand broadband in unserved rural areas. This represents the biggest single step ever by the FCC toward closing the rural digital divide.
  • Establishing the Digital Opportunity Data Collection, a new process for collecting fixed broadband data to improve mapping and better identify gaps in broadband coverage across the nation.
  • Authorizing over $4.9 billion in support through the A-CAM program over the next decade for maintaining, improving, and expanding affordable rural broadband for 455,334 homes and businesses served by 171 rate-of-return carriers in 39 states and American Samoa, including 44,243 locations on Tribal lands.
  • Approving $950 million in funding to improve, expand, and harden communications networks in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Spearheading the Connect America Fund Phase II reverse auction, which allocated $1.488 billion to expand broadband to more than 700,000 rural locations in 45 states. Through this fund, the FCC also partnered with New York to provide up to $170 million to support rural broadband in combination with $220 million from the state.
  • Launching the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee to provide advice and recommendations to the Commission on how to accelerate the deployment of high-speed Internet access, including ways to reduce and remove regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment.
  • Initiating rulemakings focused on speeding the deployment of both wireline and wireless networks.
  • Streamlining rules to accelerate the transition to modern broadband networks. These include:
    • Updating rules that govern access to utility poles and conduits, which can be a costly and time-consuming barrier to broadband deployment.
    • Revising rules that needlessly delay or even stop companies from replacing copper with fiber and that delay discontinuance of technologies from the 1970s in favor of services using Internet Protocol (IP) technologies.

 

Road Trip Highlights (Moments)