The Statewide Broadband Task Force released its plan and recommendations for deploying high speed broadband across the state today, saying that to be competitive in today’s global environment every Alaska household should have access to 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) of broadband speed by 2020.
Commerce Commissioner Susan Bell said that she appreciates the work of the task force, as broadband plays an important role for many Alaskans in education, commerce, public safety, and healthcare.
Importantly, the plan clearly states that neither public nor private funding alone will fully achieve the plan’s goals. We will need creative solutions to deliver the proper broadband capabilities and speeds by 2020.
The 22-member task force first convened in March 2011 and was comprised of user groups, educators, anchor institutions, regulators, and communication providers.
Members heard from more than 30 presenters as to the positive impacts of and need for high-speed broadband including communities, companies and future providers, then developed a statewide broadband map of middle- and last-mile infrastructure; conducted economic modeling to understand the costs to develop a more robust network; assessed current and future satellite deployment; and, evaluated current technology and programs including those in other countries.
In 2008 Congress passed the Broadband Data Improvement Act, a grant program was established and funded in 2009 by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to facilitate broadband planning in every state. Alaska received $6.3 million for its broadband planning efforts including funds to establish a task force to oversee the planning effort, map Alaska’s current broadband middle- and last-mile infrastructure, and to establish speeds and adoption rates.
The plan can be viewed at online, and will be available for public comment beginning today.