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In December 2017, the FCC and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) signing a Memorandum of Understanding focused on how increasing broadband access and adoption in rural areas can improve the lives of rural cancer patients. As an inaugural project under the memorandum of understanding, the agencies convened a public-private collaboration, L.A.U.N.C.H., to help bridge the broadband health connectivity gap in Appalachia, taking another concrete step toward closing the digital divide.

As part of this MOU, the FCC and NCI are collaborating in areas of mutual interest and to share their complementary technical and policy expertise in the following initial project areas:

  • Data, Research and Analytics. The agencies will collaborate on data collection, research, and other analytic projects and activities that could inform stakeholders (including the health care and communications industries, other related industries, and the public) about the correlation between access to broadband and the prevention, detection, symptom management, and reduction of the burden of cancer in the United States.
  • Pilots and Demonstrations. In order to enhance understanding of the relationship between access to fixed and wireless broadband, access to medical care, and cancer prevalence and care, the agencies will explore opportunities to work with stakeholders to develop one or more pilot projects, in rural and underserved areas, potentially including the areas identified in the critical needs counties lists developed by the Connect2HealthFCC Task Force.