As expected, the FCC officially unveiled its National Broadband Plan on March 16, which looks to connect up to 100 million American households to high-speed broadband service. In addition to rolling out new 100-megabit-per-second service to homes, the FCC plan calls for freeing up 500 megahertz of spectrum for wireless use.
Communication Commission officially unveiled its ambitious National Broadband
Plan on March 16
, which calls for massive overhaul of the United States'
Internet infrastructure during the next decade and opening up the country's
wireless spectrum to accommodate new devices.
The FCC proposal
, which is
officially called "Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan," looks to
invest billions of dollars to give more Americans access to high-speed
broadband service. One of the plans most ambitious goals
is to connect 100 million U.S. households to 100 megabits-per-second broadband
service by 2020
In addition, the FCC
proposal looks to create "anchor institutions
," such as schools, hospitals
and military bases, which can offer the public broadband services of
1G bps. There are also plans to free up to 500 megahertz of
spectrum for people to use new types of wireless Internet devices.
Overall, the FCC broadband plan looks to replace traditional
means of communications with high-speed Internet access. However, the
plan goes beyond simply offering a proposal for wiring households
broadband service. Instead, the FCC sees its 10-year plan as a way to spur job
growth, better protect the United States and educate scores of school children.
"The National Broadband Plan is a 21st century roadmap to
spur economic growth and investment, create jobs, educate our children, protect
our citizens, and engage in our democracy," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski
wrote in a statement. "It's an action plan, and action is necessary to meet the
challenges of global competitiveness, and harness the power of broadband to
help address so many vital national issues."
The FCC has now sent its Broadband Plan to Congress and it's
expected to take years to implement the recommendations if the proposals are
approved at all. Offering
high-speed broadband access to more Americans and bringing these services to
parts of the country
that could not access the Internet were major themes
of President Barrack Obama's campaign in 2008.
The actual broadband plan, which runs more than 300 pages,
does not offer a great deal of specifics on how much the recommendations will
cost in the long run. However, there are some areas the FCC did recommend
specific dollar amounts. For example, the plan calls for a 10-year investment
of up to $6.5 billion for homeland security and public safety, which includes
the development of a next-generation 911 system and fighting cyber-crime.
The FCC also believes that it can either make money or
offset the cost of creating 500 megahertz of wireless spectrum through the
auctioning of that spectrum to businesses. Just before the FCC released the
reported that Genachowski
said that broadcasters are willing to auction off their spectrum
exchange for a slice of the revenue.
The FCC Broadband Plan also looks to keep America
competitive and part of that means improving the country's Internet
infrastructure. The FCC recommendations specifically pointed to efforts by
Japan, South Korea and Germany to offer their citizens high-speed Internet
In a paper released the same day as the FCC plan, Roger Kay,
an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, offered a blueprint of how
technology will change in the next 10 years. Kay believes that computers will
surround everyone but people will be less aware of them. In order to fulfill
that vision of a more wired world, the United States needs a better
infrastructure and the federal government should take some role in this
"As part of that integration, our broadband infrastructure
will be complete, both wired and wireless, with federal involvement as
necessary," Kay wrote in his paper called "The Future: Unknowable Mystery or
Part of that will require 100 million households having
access to better broadband service. The FCC plan calls for a goal of 100
million U.S. homes with actual download speeds of 50M bps and actual upload
speeds of 20M bps by 2015.