Public, Industry Can Weigh In On FCC's Broadband Role Through April 13


The FCC has given the public and industry until April 13 to weigh in on the agency's advisory role in the $7.2 billion in broadband rollout grants being administered by the National Telecommunications & Information Administration and the Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Service.

That's according to a public notice issued Tuesda.

The FCC is charged by Congress with advising on five key issues that will determine what areas get the grants who gets the grant money and who gets to apply for it. They are: the definition of "unserved area"; the definition of "underserved area"; the definition of "broadband"; the non-discrimination obligations in the NTIA grants; and the network interconnection obligations under the NTIA grants.

The FCC said it wants commenters to confine themselves to those five issues, and include an executive summary if they can't do it in 10 pages or less.

The FCC also said staffers would be avalailable to take meetings between March 30 and April 3. That dovetails nicely with the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's Cable Show '09 in Washington.

The cable industry generally wants the government to concentrate on unserved, rather than underserved areas, and not to define nondiscrimination in a way that will discourage companies from applying for the grants.

April 13 is the same time as NTIA's comment date for weighing in on its administration of the grants.