In 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defined "Basic Broadband" as data transmission speeds of at least 4 megabits per second (Mbps), or 4,000,000 bits per second, downstream (from the Internet to the user's computer) and 1 Mbit/s upstream (from the user's computer to the Internet). The trend is to raise the threshold of the broadband definition as the marketplace rolls out faster services. ("Sixth Broadband Deployment Report". FCC: http://www.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2010/db0720/FCC-10-129A1.pdf)
Broadband penetration is considered a key economic indicator.
Related Link: http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/
Related link: http://www.fcc.gov/
The major barrier preventing affordable high-capacity broadband solutions to rural areas of United States remains the lack of available Middle Mile systems capable of providing this connectivity. These rural areas remain void of private industry investment because they cannot support the economies of scale necessary (the ROI) to justify the construction of these critically needed assets.
The NTIA, under its BTOP program, recognizes that open access Middle Mile systems are critical to expanding broadband enablement into these areas and the associated economic barriers limiting expansion by the private sector. In Round 2 of the BTOP funding program the NTIA shifted the majority of its focus on solving this challenge by focusing on Middle Mile solutions.
Related link: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/
Open Access prevents monopoly control of infrastructure and the high fees and poor service associated with monopolies. Open Access to telecommunications infrastructure is a proposed solution to the Middle Mile problem in terms of Internet connectivity.
The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 with two goals:
- To provide transparency of Recovery-related funds
- To prevent and detect fraud, waste, and mismanagement
The Mission Statement of the RATB is "to promote accountability by coordinating and conducting oversight of Recovery funds to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse and to foster transparency on Recovery spending by providing the public with accurate, user-friendly information."
Related link: http://www.recovery.gov/About/board/Pages/TheBoard.aspx