REF: March 15th, 2010 FCC Announcement DOC-296859A1.pdf
As an RF engineer, I am presently staying current on the progress of the National Broadband Plan.
One of the mandates of the plan is the 5th statement of America's 2020 Broadband Vision:
"Bring affordable broadband to Rural communities, schools, libraries, and vulnerable populations by transitioning existing Universal Service Fund support from yesterday's analog technologies to tomorrow's digital infrastructure."
Over ten years ago, this seemed a reachable goal during the dot.com days, when T1 lines were being installed, and municipalities were busy installing WiFi and backhaul systems. '
Though some communities are currently pursuing the installation of broadband infrastructure, the number of communities and municipalities doing so has greatly diminished in the past ten years.
Meanwhile, the business at the US Postal Service ten years ago was diminishing. Then, about year 2005, EBay transactions were at an all time high and even the Postmaster General credited EBay with saving the postal system in one of the annual reports. Since the end of 2008, the business at the US Postal Service has greatly diminished in some areas, and some rural postal outlets are being considered or are scheduled for closure.
With the reduction in property taxes, municipalities, schools and libraries have limited funding to consider the installation of broadband infrastructure at this time.
However, the brick-and-mortar locations of US Postal Service outlets are distributed in the rural areas. It seems an opportunity to consider the upgrade of these facilities, to achieve the goal of broadband access in the rural communities.
How this would be implemented seems a rather complex task. However, I believe that with careful consideration, this may be a good opportunity.
For instance, the rural postal facility could be purely a backhaul hub, where it could then be distributed in the "Main St." area of the town or village. If distributed to a commercial or residential location, a subscription fee could be imposed to support the facility.
Another instance could be a full service facility, similar to what some public libraries offer, or what a FedEx/Kinkos retail facility offers in the metro areas. In this case, a fee could be requested for one-time or monthly use.
These are just two ideas which would need further development.
As a final note, I wrote a suggestion on the US Postal Service website to an address on their Contact page. It was more generalized than the content in this email.
This is just a thought that crossed my mind a few weeks ago, and wanted to pass along.
Thanks for the opportunity.
Samuel V. Pirrone