Government // Leadership
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3/17/2010
01:20 PM
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FCC Broadband Plan Faces Challenges

The National Broadband Plan has met with widespread support, but also many disagreements on how to achieve the goal of bringing high-speed connections to all Americans.

While most carriers, cable operators, and network equipment providers have hailed much of the plan -- particularly its goal of providing high-speed Internet to most people in America -- they hedge on how the goal will be accomplished.

"Now comes the hard part," said Verizon Communications' Tom Tauke, in a statement, noting that "virtually all of these important goals will be achieved through private investment. So it is important that the policies enacted encourage investment and innovation across the Internet ecosystem."

Tauke, who is Verizon's executive VP for public affairs, policy, and communications, praised Genachowski and the FCC's Blair Levin for using the plan as a "catalyst" to reform the healthcare delivery system, improve energy conservation, preserve the environment, and promote the use of broadband technology to advance education." Levin is executive director of the National Broadband Taskforce.

The broadband plan seeks also to pave the way for smaller companies and startups to enter the marketplace to help spur competition, increase innovation, and lower prices for consumers. Taking note of the convergence of TV and Internet PCs, the plan calls for increased competition in set-top boxes to broaden control beyond cable and satellite providers.

At the heart of its plan, the FCC proposes that 100 million U.S. households be connected with affordable 100-Mbps service and also seeks to establish 1 Gbps service at anchor institutions like libraries and schools in individual communities.

"History teaches us that nations that lead technological revolutions reap enormous rewards," said Genachowski. "We can lead the revolution in wired and wireless broadband. But the moment to act is now."

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