FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is creating a Broadband Adoption Task Force. The task force will be mandated with closing the gap on rural broadband access and pushing providers to expand their networks nationwide. Nearly 100 million people in the US have little or no access to broadband. According to the FCC this access gap is costing the US billions of dollars each year in lost economic activity and jobs.
The task force will be headed by Genachowski senior counselor Josh Gottheimer and will work with both the public and private sector to find strategies for increasing access. Genachowski plans to formally announce the task force at the cable show in Chicago today.
Rural broadband is already going forward in some states with the help of federal funding, Big River Telephone Company announced that it is moving forward on its $33 million expansion project with the help of federal stimulus funds. The company will get $24 million to expand broadband access throughout the state of Missouri. The project has been on hold since last August while officials and the company worked to secure federal funds needed to complete the work.
The company will be sharing some of the investment cost and expects to have the project completed by 2013, unused federal broadband funds are set to expire in 2013.