What Are Broadband's Socioeconomic Impacts? Commerce Wants Your Input

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The federal government is creating a national research plan for broadband.

The federal government is drawing up a research plan for broadband and wants the public's help.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, along with the National Science Foundation, is gathering public input on which broadband-related research proposals the federal government should prioritize as part of an effort to increase wireless connectivity across the country. 

The agencies are collecting recommendations for research into the technology of broadband itself, broadband access and adoption, its socioeconomic impact, and opportunities for the federal government to lead research on the topic.

Comments will be funneled into a National Broadband Research Agenda, which would outline specific broadband-related programs and measurable goals, according to a Federal Register notice published Friday.

Specific questions include:

  • What research will help agencies reach people who underuse broadband?
  • What research still needs to be done on broadband's economic and social impacts?
  • How can the effectiveness of federal broadband programs be measured?
  • What data is most critical in understanding broadband adoption and use?
  • How can federal policy be updated to encourage broadband research?

The request for comment comes after the Broadband Opportunity Council, established by President Barack Obama last year, tasked NTIA and NSF with creating a national research plan on the subject. Those groups are collecting comment until Oct. 11, which can be submitted to NBRArfc2016@ntia.doc.gov.