Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The FCC Outlines Its National Broadband Plan


Many Americans, from large cities to rural areas, still do not have access to broadband internet, and the FCC is forming a plan to make high-speed internet available to more people. The full plan hasn't been released yet, but here are the details that we do from the preliminary reports this week:

  • Currently only 65 percent of Americans have high speed internet access at home
  • The plan is part of President Obama's 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which flags $7.2 billion to internet related advancements
  • The initial plan aims for each community in America to have at least one "ultra high speed" connection at a library, school, or military base.
  • The FCC plans to move forward in creating an infrastructure that would allow 100 million American households to transfer 100Mbps   
  • The overall goal is to provide 90 percent of Americans with high speed internet access by 2020.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said this about the plan: "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."  Some are critical of this plan, arguing that it will do far too little to decrease the overall costs to broadband customers that currently spending $30 - $60 monthly for their service, which is why some believe there is such a gap between the number of broadband haves and broadband have-nots (in addition, of course, to coverage/availability).  

On a list of countries that have the fastest internet, the US is currently ranked #14 with 3.9Mbps (South Korea is ranked #1 with 14.6Mbps, which is expected to be at 1 gigabit by 2012), and as previously mentioned, only 65% of Americans have high-speed internet. It's clear that something needs to be done to get the country up to speed, and we are very much looking forward to seeing the specifics of the plan as more details become available.

Discuss the FCC's broadband plans on the EVDO Forums