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Broadband Crisis? GAO Doubtful

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While Obama administration officials have painted a picture of crisis in implementing broadband technology, according to a new Government Accountability Office report, the United States is on track with other developed nations.

And the biggest stumbling block to wider deployment, The Hill reports, is cost, not availability of access.

According to the report, 95 percent of U.S. households use broadband, placing the nation in the middle of developed countries. However, the United States places ahead of competitors China and Australia, which have comparable population sizes.

The GAO report also cites a Federal Communications Commission study from 2009 in which a third of respondents identified cost as the reason why they hadn’t yet subscribed to broadband access.

Even though the report’s findings are relatively optimistic, The Hill reports some lawmakers are likely to use the broader findings for political purposes, such as beefing up FCC’s Universal Service Fund for wider implementation of broadband.

The GAO report also gives the stamp of approval on FCC’s recent decision to free up unused portions of the broadcast spectrum, known as “white space” to enhance broadband infrastructure.

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