FCC Announces Schedule for National Broadband Plan Proceedings

Thursday, April 8, 2010, the FCC released its Broadband Action Agenda describing the purpose and timing of more than 60 rulemakings and other actions the agency plans to conduct in order to implement its recently issued National Broadband Plan. The FCC News Release can be found here and the more detailed, 10 page Agenda is here. In addition, the Commission issued a one page chart of its proposed action items showing the actions that it hopes to initiate, with each such action listed by the quarter of the year in which it is expected to occur.

Among topics primarily covered by this blog, a few items stand out. In connection with the Universal Service Fund, reform of USF distribution is scheduled for 2Q 2010 (it is on the April 21 Meeting agenda, actually), but contribution reform is not scheduled to begin until the end of the year. Access charges, VoIP and other intercarrier compensation issues are given a 4Q 2010 start date. CLEC interconnection rights with rural ILECs are slated to be clarified” in 3Q 2010. Pole attachment reforms -- which presumably will include the formal complaint process improvements we described in a previous post -- are slated for 2Q 2010.

Continue reading for more detail on the agenda.

REMINDER: These and other broadband plan documents can be accessed using our Resource Center on the right hand column of this page.

The FCC organized its Agenda into four sections following its four key goals. Those are

  • to promote mobile broadband infrastructure and innovation,
  • to accelerate universal broadband adoption and accessibility,
  • to foster competition and increase consumer benefits, and
  • to promote public safety networks.

The mobile broadband aspects focus on radio spectrum issues, including making an additional 500 MHz available for mobile broadband within 10 years.

The accessibility and adoption goals target reform of universal service and intercarrier compensation, as well as two new funds - Connect America and Mobility Fund - to increase support for broadband deployment and adoption. The agenda targets a 2Q 2010 NPRM on common sense reforms” to the high cost fund and an Order enforcing Sprint and Verizon Wireless merger commitments to eliminate support they receive from the high cost fund. An NPRM to stabilize support mechanisms for universal service programs” is slated for 4Q 2010.

The goal of competitiveness and consumer benefits is to be met through policies focusing on special access and wholesale wireline services, as well as encouraging new consumer devices. This will include a 2Q 2010 Special Access Workshop, followed by a Special Access NPRM in 3Q 2010. The agenda also recommends a 3Q 2010 order clarifying interconnection rights with rural ILECs, particularly for voice service bundled with broadband and/or pay TV.

Finally, the public safety goal is to be pursued through assisting in transition to a next-generation 911 system and aiding in reaching nationwide interoperability for public safety wireless broadband networks.