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Progress Made on Broadband Deployment, Availability but Gaps Remain

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Released: August 21, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

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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).

August 21, 2012
Mark Wigfield, 202-418-0253



Implementation of new FCC reforms vital to connecting millions of Americans to broadband services

Washington, D.C. – The nation has made significant progress expanding high-speed Internet access in
recent years, but further implementation of major reforms newly adopted by the Federal Communications
Commission is required before broadband will be available to the approximately 19 million Americans
who still lack access, according to the FCC’s Eighth Broadband Progress Report, available at
In an era when broadband is essential to innovation, jobs, and global competitiveness, the Report
concludes that the FCC – and the nation – must continue to address obstacles impeding universal
broadband deployment and availability.
Congress in Section 706 the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires the FCC to report annually on
whether broadband “is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” The Report
chronicles major strides taken by providers and policymakers to accelerate deployment, including:
Billions invested by the communications industry in broadband deployment, including next-
generation wired and wireless services
Expansion of networks technically capable of 100 megabit-plus speeds to over 80 percent of the
population through cable’s DOCSIS 3.0 rollout
World-leading LTE deployment by mobile operators
Sweeping reforms by the FCC to its universal service programs, including the new Connect
America Fund for broadband deployment, Mobility Fund, and the Lifeline program for low-
income Americans
Action under the FCC’s Broadband Acceleration Initiative to reduce the cost and time required
for deployment
Numerous steps to expand availability of wireless spectrum for broadband
Notwithstanding this progress, the Report finds that approximately 19 million Americans—6 percent of
the population—still lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds. In rural areas, nearly
one-fourth of the population —14.5 million people—lack access to this service. In tribal areas, nearly
one-third of the population lacks access. Even in areas where broadband is available, approximately 100
million Americans still do not subscribe. The report concludes that until the Commission’s Connect
America reforms are fully implemented, these gaps are unlikely to close. Because millions still lack
access to or have not adopted broadband, the Report concludes broadband is not yet being deployed in a
reasonable and timely fashion.

Having good data is critical to attacking these problems, and this Broadband Progress Report arms the
FCC with the best information it has had yet on broadband in the U.S. This is our first progress report
ever to include extensive data on mobile broadband and the availability of next-generation, high-speed
services. It incorporates the most robust analysis of international data that the Commission has ever done.
The report includes online, interactive maps which show exactly where broadband is and isn’t available,
and deployment statistics—by technology type—for every county in the nation. The map showing
availability of fixed broadband is available at
Technology and the needs of businesses and consumers continue to evolve, the FCC notes in a Notice of
Inquiry also released today that seeks public input for the next annual report. Because higher-speed
broadband is increasingly available and market offerings continue to change, the Notice of Inquiry
explores how to keep the broadband report up-to-date, including further examining the role of mobile
services and next-generation, high-speed services in the FCC’s next annual evaluation of broadband
Wireline Competition Bureau Staff Contact: Matt Warner at (202) 418-2419
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