It’s an historic day for America’s Internet, as this morning FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski officially released the National Broadband Plan.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski unveils the country’s first National Broadband Plan. The plan sets an ambitious agenda for connecting all corners of the nation while transforming the economy and society with the communications network of the future—robust, affordable Internet.
During the recent YouTube interview with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski about the National Broadband Plan, IIA Broadband Ambassador Navarrow Wright of Maximum Leverage Solutions submitted a question. Here’s video of Wright’s question and the Chairman’s response:
Via Ars Technica, a new report from the Simon Wiesenthal Center warns that hate groups are embracing social media networks like Facebook and YouTube:
Unsurprisingly, terrorists and other groups have become fans of social networks because that’s where the kiddies are—young people are particularly vulnerable to messages from these groups, and if Facebook is the best way to reach them, then that’s where the groups will go. SWC says that its members have met with Facebook officials to have some of these groups removed, “[B]ut with over 200 million users, online bigots have to date outpaced efforts to remove them.”
According to the SWC report, hate groups have increased online activity by 20% — in 2009 alone.
A sampling of online chatter following yesterday’s release of the National Broadband Plan. First up, the Huffington Post:
Among the cornerstones of the plan is a ‘shoot for the moon’ goal of connecting 100 million U.S. households to 100 megabits per second broadband service over the next decade. Goals of this ambition require an unshakable policy foundation that is unequivocally supportive of investment. This means the many rule-makings that likely flow out of this plan must be cohesive in nature—pulling in the same constructive and unifying direction and staying true to the Chairman’s early and firm commitment to fact-based, data-driven decisions.
If the U.S. military ranked 17th in the world, you can bet that as a nation we would make strengthening our armed forces a national priority. Yet that’s just how the U.S. stacks up against the rest of the world in terms of access to high-speed Internet connections. The vital communications systems that make our economy work and serve as a platform for business innovation and social interactions are second-class. Sadly, many of us have accepted that.
It’s time to overcome our broadband complacency. The national broadband plan sent to Congress on Mar. 16 by the Federal Communications Commission is critical to our economic and national security. Without a plan, we simply cannot compete.
The FCC’s plan calls for a dramatic expansion of affordable, high-speed Internet. A chief goal is to ensure that at least 100 million homes have access to networks that allow data downloads at speeds at least 20 times faster than what most networks now deliver.
The bulk of the recommendation can be enacted by the FCC, such as diverting money from a fund for affordable phone service to rural areas to be used for increasing broadband access.
But Congress would have to act on others, particularly changing rules for federal auctions of federal airwaves to entice some broadcasters to give up their spectrum so the airwaves could be used for wireless Internet access.
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn criticized the recommendation to coax, and possibly force, television broadcasters to give up some airwave spectrum. The plan aims to increase broadband competition by boosting the amount of spectrum for wireless Internet services to 500 MHz from 50 MHz.
She said that “it is certainly possible, if not likely” that the few minority-owned stations likely would be among the first to sell their spectrum. She says she would find a policy that further diminished that number to be “untenable.”
The FCC report suggests that 100 million U.S. homes—of a total 112 million—should have “affordable access” to 50 megabit per second Internet service in five years. That’s about 10 times faster than most homes get today. But the plan doesn’t define affordable.
Nor does it offer a specific recipe for its aim. The FCC says it will ultimately propose dozens of new rule changes to enact some of the ideas in Tuesday’s report.
The broadband proposal, which the agency sent to Congress on Tuesday, “is necessary to meet the challenges of global competitiveness, and harness the power of broadband to help address so many vital national issues,” the agency chairman, Julius Genachowski, said in a statement.
President Obama said the plan recalled the way “past generations of Americans met the great infrastructure challenges of the day, such as building the transcontinental railroad and the Interstate highways.”
In 1996, the cable and telecommunications industry invested $5.7 billion in infrastructure; since then, they have invested more than $161.2 billion.
In 1999, there were just 105 different broadband providers across the United States; today, the FCC reports that there are nearly 1,400.
In 2000, there were approximately 7 million broadband lines; now there are more than 132 million.
In June 2000, 59 percent of U.S. zip codes had at least one high-speed Internet service provider available; today, broadband has been deployed to 100 percent of zip codes across the country and only 6 percent of U.S. homes don’t have access to any broadband services, according to the FCC.
According to the NTIA, 4.4 percent of U.S. households had adopted broadband Internet in August 2000; as of October 2009, this number had multiplied to 63.5 percent of U.S. households.
According to IIA Broadband Ambassador Bret Swanson, monthly Internet traffic was approximately 170 million gigabytes in 2004; as of October 2009, monthly traffic measured two billion gigabytes — a tenfold leap.
On July 30, 2008, the Internet Innovation Alliance was first out of the gate calling for a National Broadband Strategy; now, the Federal Communications Commission officially presents its National Broadband Plan to Congress.
Network World asked communications policy expert Hugh Carter Donahue to interview FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell about net neutrality. The result is a long and interesting exchange on the nature of the Internet, the role government should have in overseeing it, and the effect new regulations could have on private investment:
What effects do you think mandatory standards will have on broadband network and equipment investment and software programming? Will these standards stimulate or freeze investment and innovation, or turn out to be neutral?
Hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested in America’s broadband networks since the Internet was privatized in 1994. More investment is pouring in over the horizon. New rules, regardless of their context, always invite litigation and, therefore, uncertainty. Capital avoids uncertainty. It is not hard to envision a scenario where new investment is inhibited by new rules. Investors of all kinds told the FCC as much during our Oct.1 hearing on investment in the broadband market.
Over the weekend, the Washington Post published an editorial by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in advance of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan:
Our nation is at a high-tech crossroads: Either we commit to creating world-leading broadband networks to make sure that the next waves of innovation and business growth occur here, or we stand pat and watch inventions and jobs migrate to those parts of the world with better, faster and cheaper communications infrastructures.
This, of course, is not a choice—which is why, this week, at the behest of Congress and the president, the Federal Communications Commission is delivering the first National Broadband Plan: a comprehensive strategy for dramatically improving our broadband networks and extending their benefits to all Americans.
On a related note, today the FCC has released the Executive Summary for the National Broadband Plan, available here in a PDF.
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