FCC’s new/revised strategic plan promotes universal broadband and digital equity, communications priorities of the Biden administration. The plan specifically examines equity by examining how FCC policies in the past may have created “historic, systemic and structural barriers that perpetuate disadvantaged or underserved individuals and communities.”
When the first FCC licenses were handed out for free, minorities weren’t at the table, which Rainbow/PUSH founder Jesse Jackson pointed out excluded them from the power of the media to help set the national agenda. , not to mention its power to reward original owners. in the secondary market for television and radio stations.
The 2022-2026 plan, released Tuesday, March 29, prioritizes a “100%” broadband policy, which it says means bringing “affordable, reliable and high-speed broadband to 100% of the country”.
It’s a clear signal that when the FCC releases its congressionally mandated report on whether advanced communications is rolling out to all Americans in a timely manner, the answer will be no until there is a universal broadband. Democrats have traditionally treated “all Americans” language to mean that deployment is not timely while anyone is missing out on service, a lack that triggers the FCC’s ability to regulate to close that gap.
The president has made it clear that his vision for universal broadband specifically includes price and quality in the definition and that it is now part of the FCC’s strategic plan.
And while the old strategic plan created under then-president Ajit Pai prioritized removing barriers to entry for businesses, this has been superseded in the new plan by promoting “diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility”.
Not only will the FCC seek to identify past rules, policies, and programs that may have hindered diversity, inclusion, equity, and accessibility, but the commission will take positive steps to address this grievance. “The FCC will pursue targeted actions and investments to remove historical, systemic and structural barriers that perpetuate disadvantaged or underserved individuals and communities,” the plan states. “In doing so, the FCC will strive to ensure equitable and inclusive access and facilitate the ability of underserved individuals and communities to leverage and benefit from the wide range of opportunities made possible by digital technologies, media , communication services and next-generation networks.
Other priorities include empowering consumers, improving public safety, and promoting America’s global competitiveness. ■