The FCC's ambitious National Broadband Plan is set to appear before Congress tomorrow, but some additional details have surfaced early. The agency's 10-year plan would deliver faster, more affordable broadband Internet access to 90% of US homes, compared to 65% currently.
One of the FCC's ideas would bring free or very cheap wireless Internet by relicensing as much as 500MHz of spectrum currently occupied by television broadcasters. The FCC also hopes subsidize service in poor and rural areas, and boost the connection speed of 100 million US households to 100Mb/s. Additionally, the plan aims to bring 1Gb/s speeds to at least one anchor institution in every American community, such as a school, library, or hospital.
The Internet would ultimately replace phones, TV and other conventional technologies as the primary form of communication in the US. Naturally, the agency already faces opposition from industries that might take a hit in the wallet. Nonetheless, FCC chairmen Julius Genachowski feels this shift has happened before, comparing the emergence of broadband to infrastructure challenges previously posed by telephones and electricity.
Genachowski argues that broadband expansion could stimulate the economy -- which has seen better days. "Broadband will be the indispensable platform to assure American competitiveness, ongoing job creation and innovation, and will affect nearly every aspect of Americans' lives at home, at work, and in their communities."