Friday, June 03, 2022

Lacking fiber to the prem #FTTP infrastructure standard, report highlights folly of U.S. grant funding policy to boost broadband speed

GAO calls for cohesive federal strategy to curb fragmented broadband funding | Fierce Telecom:

The GAO further added minimum required broadband deployment speeds vary among programs and continue to change. In 2016 for instance, recipients of USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Community Connect program were required to deploy broadband speeds of at least 10/1 Mbps. That required speed increased to 25/3 Mbps by 2018.

Meanwhile, the FCC’s High Cost Connect America Fund Phase II program, which ran from 2015 through 2020, maintained the 10/1 threshold. And under FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase 1 auction, 25/3 Mbps was the benchmark for areas to be considered unserved and thus eligible for funding.

The report's findings indicate agencies are still figuring out what the standard for broadband service should be. The FCC’s long-anticipated, revamped broadband maps are set to be released sometime this fall, and they may help more precisely allocate broadband funds where they’re needed.

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