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2/17/2010
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FCC Chairman Sharpens Broadband Focus

Julius Genachowski hailed Google's plans to create an experimental 1Gbit-per-second broadband initiative.

With the FCC putting the finishing touches on its proposed National Broadband Plan FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said a goal of 100 Mbps Internet service will be proposed for the plan.

In a speech Tuesday at a meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, Genachowski, who has made widespread broadband deployment a prime FCC goal, compared the rollout of high speed broadband to the deployment of electricity and the spread of telephone service in the 1930s.

"In the 21st century, it is high-speed Internet that is reshaping our economy and our lives more profoundly than any technology since electricity and with at least as much potential for advancing prosperity and opportunity, creating jobs, and improving our lives," he said. "The information and communications technology sector of the American economy now represent a trillion dollars in revenue, millions of jobs, and 13% of the GDP."

Genachowski noted the success created by "incredibly dynamic American companies" that have created much of the technology now sweeping the world and cited 150,000 smartphone apps that have been created in less than three years. Most of those apps were created for the iPhone, which Genachowski, an iPhone user, knows about firsthand.

The FCC chairman noted that DOCSIS 3.0 could be used by cable companies to deliver 100 Mbps broadband. He hailed Google's announcement last week to create a 1-gigabit-per-second broadband initiative.

"Opportunity also means that we need to move our adoption rates significantly -- from the current 65% to at least 90%," he said, adding that all children in the U.S. should be "digitally literate" when they finish high school.

Noting that the FCC is preparing the proposed National Broadband Plan for submission to Congress, Genachowski said the plan will focus on creating a vision for year 2020 for broadband leadership.

He also noted another pet concern -- the impending spectrum crisis, looming as smartphones gobble up precious wireless resources. "Right now," Genachowski said, "the United States does not have nearly enough spectrum to meet its medium- and long-term mobile broadband needs."

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