Committee on Broadband Last Mile Technology, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board National Research Council. "Broadband: Brining Home the Bits." Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2001 Fall. Link Accessed: 2003-07-08.

Keywords: broadband, FCC


This study and report was initiated in 1999 by the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board and completed in the fall of 2001. The committees work examines the significant social and economic benefits associated with expanding broadband services to the home. The report also offers recommendations, to be used as guidelines in broadband policy and deployment.

What constitutes broadband services? According to the Committee on Broadband Last Mile Technology, two complementary approaches characterize what constitutes broadband services: 1) the appropriate network performance capabilities to support the desired applications; 2) ubiquity of services reaching that performance level.

The committee believes that in the long term, broadband will be diverse, reflecting geographical and market variations. This variability will be troublesome to industry, regulators and policy makers and implies that provider strategy and government intervention will have to change as markets and services evolve. The committee warns against basing new broadband policy on short term trends.

The committee considers the present broadband framework -- which revolves around the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to be obsolete with respect to the new era of broadband services. The committee provides recommendations, or principles, to guide broadband policy over the next few years. These recommendations are fully outlined in the report, but generally the committee recommends;

• Prioritize widespread deployment and defer new regulation in the early stages.
• Structure regulation to emphasize facilities-based competition and encourage new entrants.
• Take active steps to promote deployment and facilities-based competition including at the local level.
• Support research and experimentation

The committee also examines residential broadband connectivity; referred to as “first mile” or “last mile” connectivity, and makes recommendations on fostering deployment of broadband services to homes within the US. Like the previous Internet, broadband Internet is being linked to social and economic benefits. The committee recognizes that first or last mile solutions are a bottleneck to the potential benefits and offers key finding and recommendations based on the following key questions:

• What is broadband?
• Why do people need it?
• How much demand is there for broadband?
• How important and urgent is the deployment of broadband?
• What is the likely shape of broadband deployment in the coming years?
• Is the pace of deployment reasonable and adequate, or are there failures that necessitate intervention?
• How will broadband deployment be paid for?
• How might the present policy regime for broadband be made more effective?