FCC rolls out broadband agenda

Posted on Mon, Mar 22, 2010 – 05:51 am at mobilehealthwatch.com | mHealthNews.com

On Tuesday, March 16, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission delivered the national broadband plan to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The plan is said to promote six goals (much of this post is verbatim from the report):

1) At least 100 million U.S. homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and actual upload speeds of at least 50 megabits per second.

2) The United States should lead the world in mobile innovation, with the fastest and most extensive wireless networks of any nation.

3) Every American should have affordable access to robust broadband service, and the means and skills to subscribe if they so choose.

4) Every American community should have affordable access to at least 1 gigabit per second broadband service to anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals and government buildings.

5) To ensure the safety of the American people, every first responder should have access to a nationwide, wireless, interoperable broadband public safety network.

6) To ensure that America leads in the clean energy economy, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.

The potential innovations related to healthcare are a major theme of the plan. It specifically mentions the promotion of advanced analytics, e-care, video consultation, remote monitoring, electronic exchange of information—data, images and video—over fixed or mobile networks.

The plan has recommendations that it claims will:

1) Help ensure health care providers have access to affordable broadband by transforming the FCC’s Rural Health Care Program.

2) Create incentives for adoption by expanding reimbursement for e-care.

3) Remove barriers to e-care by modernizing regulations like device approval, credentialing, privileging and licensing.

4) Drive innovative applications and advanced analytics by ensuring patients have control over their health data and ensuring interoperability of data.

The chapter specifically addressing healthcare is here, though the topic is touched upon throughout the plan.