F.C.C. Says Adoption of New Broadband Plan Is Vital
The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday characterized its Congressionally mandated ?national broadband plan? as a much-needed step for keeping the United States competitive.
The proposal, which the agency sent to Congress on Tuesday, ?is necessary to meet the challenges of global competitiveness, and harness the power of broadband to help address so many vital national issues,? the agency chairman, Julius Genachowski, said in a statement.
The 376-page plan reflects the view that broadband Internet is becoming the common medium of the United States, gradually displacing the telephone and broadcast television. But many of the recommendations will require Congressional action, and may take years to put in place.
Some proposals will probably face resistance from the telecommunication giants, which over time may face new competition for customers. Already, the broadcast television industry is resisting a proposal to auction off some of its spectrum so that it can be redirected toward mobile Internet technologies.
The plan broadly seeks a 90 percent broadband adoption rate in the United States by 2020, up from roughly 65 percent. The reasons for being unwired vary: some cannot access it at their homes, some cannot afford it and some choose not to have it.
Recommendations include subsidies to extend broadband to rural areas now without access, the development of a new universal set-top box that would connect to the Internet and cable service and the formation of a ?digital literacy corps? to provide skills training.
The plan also includes a faster-Internet initiative that theoretically would equip 100 million households with 100-megabit-a-second access by the end of this decade. According to comScore, the average subscriber now receives speeds of three to four megabits a second.