FCC Sends National Broadband Plan to Congress

Says U.S. should have the world’s largest market of high-speed broadband users
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The Federal Communications Commission this week delivered to Congress a national broadband plan setting out what the agency says is an ambitious agenda for connecting all corners of the nation with a robust, affordable Internet connection.

Chairman Julius Genachowski says the plan will help spur economic growth and investment and create jobs.

The Wall Street Journal reports that critics including TV broadcasters question the proposed auction of some TV spectrum for broadband use, and that phone and cable companies have doubts about the creation of more competition for the broadband networks they provide, while Congress has questions about how to fund the plan.

The proposed $20 billion plan found that that while broadband access and use have increased over the past decade, nearly 100 million Americans lack broadband at home, and 14 million don’t have access to broadband at all.

The plan’s call for action over the next decade calls for connecting 100 million households to affordable 100-megabits-per-second service, building what the FCC says would be the world’s largest market of high-speed broadband users and ensuring that new jobs and businesses are created in America. Driving the consumer end of the plan is the need for more spectrum. The plan calls for making 500 MHz of mostly TV spectrum available for licensed and unlicensed mobile use.

Blair Levin, executive director of the Broadband Initiative at the FCC, stated, “Above all else, the plan is a call to action to meet that challenge for our era. If we meet it, we will have networks, devices and applications that create new solutions to seemingly intractable problems.” Read the National Broadband Plan (PDF).

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