June 1, 2011

UW to host hearing on extending broadband to underserved communities

News and Information

A public hearing scheduled for Friday, June 3, at the UW School of Law will consider state telecommunications policies, particularly broadband service.

Many Washington residents take broadband service for granted; indeed, its necessary for their daily lives. But other residents live in areas with little or no broadband service, cant afford it or dont know how to use it, so they miss out on information that would benefit themselves or their families.

With this in mind, the Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic at the School of Law will hold the hearing to solicit comments and recommendations regarding state telecommunications policies, broadband service in particular.

The session will be held on June 3 from 4 to 6 p.m. in Room 119 of William H. Gates Hall.

A new report from the clinic recommends that Washington create a fund, modeled on a federal one, that would help extend broadband service to rural and underserved areas of the state. Revenue for the fund, the report says, could be collected via a small fee on network devices that access broadband infrastructure.

The report is the result of a request to the clinic from Rep. John McCoy (D-Snohomish), chairman of the state Legislatures committee on technology, energy and communications. He asked clinic students to review existing laws and regulatory policies, then report on trends and recommend reforms.

For additional information, contact William Covington, an assistant professor of law, at 206-616-4481 or covinw@uw.edu.