• On May 20, 2011, the FCC adopted the Seventh Broadband Progress Report which reiterates the agency’s 2010 finding that “broadband is not being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion to all Americans.” This so-called “Section 706 Report” was issued in response to Congress’s directive in that statute requiring the FCC to study, on an annual basis, whether broadband “is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” The 2011 report finds “that approximately 26 million Americans, mostly in rural communities located in every region of the country, are denied access to the jobs and economic opportunity made possible by broadband.” Other findings include the fact that “approximately one-third of Americans do not subscribe to broadband, even when it’s available.” The report highlights, however, $65 billion in private investment and the FCC’s actions to accelerate national broadband deployment and adoption through E-Rate and Universal Service reform. In the Report, the Commission also denies petitions for reconsideration of findings in previous reports.

Commissioner McDowell dissents from the Report, noting that broadband adoption has increased “the percentage of U.S. households served by terrestrial broadband grew from 92 percent in December 2008 to 96 percent in June 2010.” Representative Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Chair of the House Communications Subcommittee, criticizes the report, noting the difficulty of serving rural areas as a reason why broadband is not being timely deployed. According to Rep. Walden, "[t]he former only requires the FCC to consider reform of the Universal Service Fund; the latter is a claimed excuse to impose network neutrality and to further regulate the Internet.”

The 706 Report is available here.

Chairman Genachowski’s statement is available here.

Commissioner McDowell’s dissent is available here.

Rep. Greg Walden’s remarks are available here.

  • The submission deadline for the FCC Open Internet Challenge is June 1, 2011. The FCC seeks ideas for monitoring Internet providers’ compliance with the Open Internet rules. The winner will get a trip to Washington, DC and will be honored at an FCC Chairman’s reception. More information can be found here.