FCC Announces Connect2Health InitiativeBy: Zach Walton - March 5, 2014
For the past few years, the FCC has been trying to set up better Internet for schools and health care facilities. The Commission has already set up a fund to bring high speed Internet to schools, and now it’s going to focus on education.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced this morning that the commission has a new task force called Connect2Health. The new task force will be led by Michele Ellison and will focus on accelerating “the adoption of health care technologies by leveraging broadband and other next-gen communications services.”
“The Commission’s top priority must be to make networks work for everyone. Broadband itself is not the goal – it’s what broadband enables,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “We must leverage all available technologies to ensure that advanced health care solutions are readily accessible to all Americans, from rural and remote areas to underserved inner cities. By identifying regulatory barriers and incentives and building stronger partnerships with stakeholders in the areas of tele-health, mobile applications, and tele-medicine, we can expedite this vital shift. Michele brings a wealth of experience to the effort. She is a gifted lawyer and dedicated public servant who has brought her keen leadership skills to bear as a forceful and effective Chief of the Enforcement Bureau. I am pleased that she now will use her formidable talents to address this critical challenge.”
Before being named head of the new Connect2Health task force, Ellison was Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. While there, she oversaw more than $300 million in “proposed penalties and settlements.” in other words, she’s a fighter and will help the FCC reach its goals in making sure health care providers embrace 21st century technology.
Alongside the new Connect2Health initiative, the FCC has also stated that it intends to rewrite its net neutrality rules after the Supreme Court ruled against it back in January. With education, health care and net neutrality all on its plate, the FCC is looking to have a busy year.
Image via Thinkstock