Broadband Plan is Only Item on FCC December Agenda

As we do regularly in this blog, we preview significant items to be presented at the FCC’s upcoming monthly meeting. This month it is easy, because the FCC’s agenda includes only one item: an update on the development of the National Broadband Plan.

At the December 16th meeting, the FCC staff will present an update on the status of the National Broadband Plan, and particularly, on the policy framework” for the Plan. With the National Broadband Plan due to be adopted by February 17, 2010, this update likely will include the first disclosure of the major components of the plan. Word is that the Plan will recommend ways to re-focus the federal Universal Service Fund to support broadband connections, and may include suggestions for phasing out some existing USF support in order to replace it with broadband support.

In addition, the update may discuss proposals to examine TV broadcast spectrum as a possible source of mobile broadband service. The possibility of authorizing broadcasters to use or lease spectrum for this purpose, or, even more radically, to reallocate broadcast spectrum to other licensees, has been floated by wireless interests in the past few months. While certain FCC personnel have indicated a willingness to investigate this possibility, the views of the Commissioners -- the ones whose votes count -- are unclear. We will be watching the FCC meeting with anticipation.