FCC sends 100Mbps broadband plan to Congress

Dylan Bushell-Embling
17 Mar 2010
00:00
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Daily News

Up to 100 million US homes could get download speeds of 100Mbps and uploads of 50Mbps under the FCC’s national broadband plan.

The 376-page plan, which was sent to Congress yesterday, calls for every American to ultimately have access to a 1Gbps broadband connection through “anchor institutions” such as schools, military bases and hospitals.

It sets a target of boosting the level of broadband adoption from 65% to 90%.

On the wireless side, the FCC proposes to make 500MHz of spectrum available for both licensed and unlicensed use.

The plan sets off a blizzard of activity in Washington. The FCC expects to launch about 40 proceedings in the coming months, an official told IDG.

Under the plan the agency would have to provide updated pricing and competition benchmarks on a market by market basis, and then introduce new requirements for operators to advertise their real-world performance information.

The plans calls for a series of regulatory changes, including a review of wholesale competition rules, updated rules on wireless backhaul spectrum, more liberal rules for set top boxes, and clarification of rules enabling municipal broadband services.

To help support the adoption of communications services, the regulator intends to shift $15.5 billion from the universal service fund – originally set up to expand guarantee access to telephony - to bring broadband to rural communities.

A mobility fund would be created to ensure no state lags behind in terms of 3G coverage.

The FCC is also sticking with its proposal to license a block of spectrum to offer free or low-cost wireless broadband services.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt pledged his support for a US national broadband strategy, calling for the installation of broadband fiber as part of every federal infrastructure project.

“As with the space race in the 1960s, America needs a national effort by our scientists, engineers, companies, educational institutions and government agencies. Just like that great national adventure, we need near-term and long-term goals,” he said.

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