The cogs of Washington policy making started a slow, creaky, post-snowpocalypse return to work this week. Congress was in recess but federal agencies were back in action. This week, in a speech to state utility regulators, FCC Chair Julius Genachowski offered a preview of some of what we can expect to see in the National Broadband Plan that he will present to Congress next month.
The plan was mandated by Congress in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Chairman Genachowski laid out some of the plan’s broad parameters with goals to be met by 2010 including:
- Creating broadband access for 100 million households at 100 megabits per second
- Increasing the U.S. broadband adoption rate from 65% to 90%
- Ensuring that every child will be digitally literate by the time he or she leaves high school.
- Transforming the Universal Service Fund- a fund established in 1934 with the goal to provide every American with traditional telephone service–and converting it over time to support broadband adoption.
The Chairman also identified a number of recommendations that the plan will contain including:
- Improving the E-rate program–which makes Internet connections available in schools and libraries.
- Modernizing the rural telemedicine program to connect rural medical clinics to the Internet
- Deploying broadband to accelerate the development of a smart grid for delivering electricity
- Developing public/private partnerships to increase Internet adoption and to ensure digital literacy for school aged children
- Freeing up of wireless spectrum to increase access for licensed and unlicensed use
- Using government rights of way and conduits to lower the cost of broandband build out
Also this week Google announced that it would partner with local communities to bring 1 gigabit per second broadband (a speed 100 times faster than what most American’s currently enjoy) to a small number of test locations. Along with the super-fast connection, Google promises to deliver the service with open internet principles intact.
So AG readers….do you think a national broaband plan is necessary? If so, what would you like to see it contain? What do you think about Google’s move? Will it help to bring innovation to internet services? Finally, the most important question, how long does it take four feet of snow to melt?
Photo credit: CharmcityGavin onFlickr