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WASHINGTON --Today, Free Press and the New America Foundation released an early analysis of the National Broadband Plan that argues that while the Plan takes several critical first steps toward solving the nation's broadband deficiencies, the FCC must act decisively and quickly in several key areas in order to reach its goals.

The Free Press/New America issue brief, The National Broadband Plan, Unanswered Questions and Next Steps, says, "In many instances, the Plan poses difficult questions without offering definitive answers."

Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, said, “In critical areas, this plan does not go far enough fast enough. In order to achieve the goals in the National Broadband Plan, the Commission will need to take immediate steps. Now is when the rubber meets the road for the National Broadband Plan."

"It's great that we have a National Broadband Plan, but we have a long way to go before we have a great plan -- this joint analysis clearly identifies the key problem areas and provides constructive feedback for how to make much needed improvements," said Sascha Meinrath, director of New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative. "The future of U.S. telecommunications will be determined by the outcomes of the FCC proceedings coming out of the National Broadband Plan -- thus, the stakes have never been higher for public interest groups to make their voices heard at the FCC."

The issue brief recommends immediate FCC action on:


    1. Competition: The Commission must investigate all policy options that would infuse meaningful competition in the broadband marketplace in areas where there are abuses of market power.

    2. Universal Service Reform: Free Press and New America welcome the effort to transition the Universal Service Fund away from subsidizing telephone service to supporting broadband infrastructure. But the system needs substantial reforms in order to rid it of inefficiencies.

    3. Adoption rates: The subsidies proposed in the Plan are a good first step. And Free Press and New America support using Lifeline and Link-Up for broadband. But these scarce resources must not be used to pad exorbitant ISP profit margins.

    4. Spectrum: There are some wins in the National Broadband Plan. Free Press and New America applaud the recognition of the need for spectrum allocation for broadband. They also applaud the political courage in the Plan to challenge the broadcasters for their underused spectrum. But now is the time to better use unlicensed spectrum as well as white spaces.

    5. Transparency: The National Broadband Plan has creative ideas for promoting transparency. The nutrition label would provide consumers with simple, clear data. Free Press and New America encourage the disclosure of monitoring, blocking and delaying of content.

    6. Data: The Plan's recommendations that the FCC collect census block availability and pricing data are long overdue steps that the Commission should move to immediately implement. Solid data is vital to the Plan’s successful implementation.

    7. Jurisdiction: The authors urge the FCC to clarify its jurisdiction over broadband networks without delay. Congress plainly intended that the FCC have the authority to promote competition and protect consumers in this area. Decisive action will mean faster implementation of the needed elements of the National Broadband Plan.


For a full copy of the issue brief, click here www.freepress.net/files/National-Broadband-Plan_Unanswered-Questions-and-Next-Steps.pdf

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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