It’s budget season. Federal departments and agencies are making their funding requests to Congress for fiscal year 2021 (starting October 1, 2020 and ending September 30, 2021). And part of the ask is reporting how well an agency did achieving its FY 2019 goals. One of the primary goals of the Federal Communications Commission is to close the digital divide in rural America. On February 10, the FCC released its annual performance report, so we snuck a peek to see how the commission thinks it is doing to ensure that all areas of the country have access to broadband internet access service.
First, we should note that the FCC approach to the problem is to develop a regulatory environment to encourage the private sector to build, maintain, and upgrade next-generation networks so that the benefits of advanced communications services are available to all Americans. Where the business case for infrastructure investment doesn’t exist, the FCC aims to employ effective and efficient means to facilitate deployment and access to affordable broadband in all areas of the country.
With all that in mind, how is the FCC doing?