The FCC released a report concluding that advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion overall, although the Commission identified certain groups of consumers that are particularly vulnerable to not receiving service in a timely fashion. This is the Commission's second inquiry, as required by Congress, into whether "advanced telecommunications capability" is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion. Advanced telecommunications capability is the availability of high-speed, switched, broadband telecommunications that enables users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video using any technology.
The Commission identified the following groups as being particularly vulnerable of not having access to advanced services if deployment is left to market forces alone:
- rural Americans, particularly those outside of population centers;
- inner city consumers;
- low-income consumers;
- minority consumers;
- tribal areas; and,
- consumers in U.S. territories.
The data in the report is based largely on the first systematic, nationwide "Broadband Survey" of subscription to high-speed and advanced services, begun by the Commission earlier this year. The Commission's nationwide "Broadband Survey" required any facilities-based company that provided 250 or more broadband service lines (or wireless channels) in a given state to report basic information about their service offerings and customers.
Comparison with data on high-speed subscribership included in the Commission's first advanced services report issued last year suggests that there has been appreciable growth in the deployment of high-speed services to residential consumers. These figures reveal that, although high-speed services are available in many parts of the country, rural and low-income areas are particularly vulnerable to not receiving timely access to such services.