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FCC to Funnel Funds into Broadband Health IT

The Federal Communications Commission today introduced a new healthcare connectivity program that would expand investment in broadband for medically underserved communities across the country.

Through the new program, patients in rural areas will have access to diagnostic tools usually available only in the largest and most sophisticated medical centers. The program would not only improve medical care, but also help cut healthcare costs, promote private investment in networks and health-related applications, and create more health IT job.

Up to $400 million would be invested annually to enable doctors, nurses, hospitals and clinics to deliver, through communications technology, world-class health care to patients, regardless of location. The program is one of four in the Universal Service Fund administered by the FCC. Without increasing the projected size of the overall fund, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted today would bring affordable broadband connectivity to more than 2,000 rural hospitals and clinics.

The proposals include partnerships with public and nonprofit healthcare providers to help build cost-effective broadband networks  designed to meet today’s healthcare needs, making broadband connectivity more affordable, and delivering connectivity where it is needed most.

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