Federal officials say a $415 million information technology program approved six years ago to build broadband networks among rural healthcare providers is successful in reducing costs and enhancing healthcare quality.
The FCC created its Rural Health Care Pilot Program in 2006 to provide an infrastructure for letting rural healthcare providers build networks connecting them to their urban counterparts. The initiative includes programs at 50 sites across 38 states. In many rural and underserved areas, the program brought broadband connectivity to those regions. The findings from the pilot program will be useful as the FCC develops a permanent program, the agency said in a 98-page report released Monday (PDF). As of January, $368 million of the $415 million available has been requested.