FCC Approves Plan to Expand Broadband for Health Facilities
Last week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a plan to help rural health care providers gain access to broadband connections. This plan will allocate up to $400 million annually specifically for improving telemedicine and other health care technology issues in rural areas. As part of this funding opportunity the FCC plans to increase the subsidies it gives for health provider service costs from 25% to 50%, and the agency also will cover 85% of the construction costs for new or upgraded broadband networks in areas with weak infrastructure for health IT.
Additionally the FCC plans to allow clinics, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, renal dialysis centers, off-site administrative offices and data centers to apply for funding opportunities, greatly expanding regional and statewide broadband networks.