The FCC shared some details of their national broadband plan which will be presented to the US Congress in less than a month. Newsgroups report that they have already agreed to a draft of an updated set of “net neutrality” rules after the fierce objections of telecom providers who say they need flexibility to manage and invest in their networks as well as other propositions.
The national broadband plan would set “ambitious but achievable goals,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told an audience at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners conference.
The issue has come to the fore as cases emerged of broadband providers choking off bandwidth for surfers using data-intensive resources such as USENET and mobile phone carriers erecting barriers to competing online calling services. The biggest broadband providers are Comcast Corp, Time Warner Inc., AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.
“Despite significant private investment and some strong strides over the last decade, America’s broadband ecosystem is not nearly as robust as it needs to be,” he said. “Broadband creates jobs and economic growth on the networks, in companies that start or expand on the Internet.”
In his preview of the upcoming national broadband plan, Genachowski cited a program that has a goal of providing 100 million Americans with 100 megabit access. ” Our plan will set goals for the U.S. to have the world’s largest market of very high-speed broadband users. A “100 Squared” initiative — 100 million households at 100 megabits per second — to unleash American ingenuity and ensure that businesses, large and small, are created here, move here, and stay here.
The FCC’s “100 Squared Initiative” would bring Internet data transmission speeds of 100 megabits per second to 100 million homes by 2020, a significantly higher speed than what many homes get now. Google Inc. announced plans earlier this week to begin building and testing ultra-fast fiber networks, in an effort to spark additional innovation and competition in this arena. Genachowski praised Google’s latest Web foray, noting in his speech that its high-speed lines would drive growth. He later called on other Internet service providers to follow suit.
“We need others to drive competition to invent the future,” he said. Genachowski did not provide details on the time lime of the initiative or how the FCC would encourage private sector providers to reach the minimum speeds.
Other goals in the FCC’s plan will include increasing Internet connections in classrooms and rural medical clinics, lowering the cost to build connections through “smart use” of government rights-of-way, and freeing “a significant amount” of airwaves for use by wireless Internet devices.