Broadband to Enhance|Rural Healthcare

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Federal Communications Commission requests comment on expanding the use of broadband to improve the quality and delivery of health care.

     The FCC plans to address the major recommendations in the National Broadband Plan regarding the agency’s rural health care program.
     Three major changes are proposed: To create a health infrastructure program that would support up to 85 percent of the construction costs of new or upgraded regional or statewide dedicated broadband networks for health care purposes; to create a health broadband services program that would provide 50 percent of the monthly recurring costs for access to broadband services for eligible health care providers; and to expand the definition of “eligible health care provider” to include administrative offices, data centers, skilled nursing facilities and renal dialysis centers.
     The agency also proposes to eliminate the offset contribution rule for the rural health care program, and seeks comment on prioritizing funding requests and establishing performance measures.
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