The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold a workshop on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, that will provide information on how to best structure rural broadband experiments. In the Technology Transitions Order, the FCC called for experiments that will allow the FCC and the public to evaluate the ongoing TDM-to-IP transition, including experiments regarding technology transitions in rural areas served by incumbent rate-of-return carriers and price cap carriers. Rural carriers that are interested in conducting a “rural broadband experiment” with Connect America Fund support must submit a non-binding “expression of interest” by March 7, 2014, though the FCC will consider expressions of interest on a rolling basis after that date. In addition to providing information on structuring experiments, the FCC’s Rural Broadband Workshop will cover the following topics:
- the broadband needs of rural populations and the unique challenges of both broadband deployment and broadband adoption in rural areas.
- the economic, educational, and healthcare benefits that can be realized through broadband deployment and adoption.
- different business models that have been used to deploy broadband in rural areas.
- factors that drive investment decisions and technology choices of different types of providers in rural communities.
- the role that states have played, and can continue to play, in meeting rural broadband challenges.
A final workshop agenda, along with panelists will be forthcoming. The workshop will be open to the public, and will be streamed live at www.fcc.gov/live.