FCC proposal suggests rural broadband expansion is in the works

Healthcare IT News: The Federal Communication Commission released a proposed update to the Rural Health Care Program last week, in an effort to satisfy the rapidly expanding need for broadband telehealth programs.

As part of the draft, the FCC would waive the $400 million annual cap for a one-time basis. The agency is also seeking comment on whether that waiver should be permanent. The FCC would also instruct the Universal Service Administrative Company to carry over any unused program funds for the fiscal year.

The cap was exceeded in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. As noted in the proposal, the FCC’s healthcare program has seen significant growth in demand in recent years -- especially in its Telecom Program, which has doubled in size from 2011 to 2016.

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