Originally published: February 16, 2010
Last updated: November 29, 2010 - 11:34am
Speaking at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners conference in Washington (DC), Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski set an ambitious target to deliver 100 megabit per second Internet connections to more than 100 million households calling it the "100 Squared" initiative.
He said that the goal should evolve over time as technology and use patterns develop, and the plan will have milestones for ongoing review and updating. Other countries with broadband plans have universality goals ranging from 1 to 2 megabits. Our goal for universal service will be higher. He set the adoption goal at 90 percent -- up from today's 65 percent -- and said every child in America must be digitally literate by the time he or she leaves high school. The National Broadband Plan, Chairman Genachowski said, will set a course for a once-in-a-generation transformation of the Universal Service Fund -- cutting waste, driving efficiencies, and converting it over time to broadband support so that all Americans can enjoy the benefits of 21st century communications networks.
The plan will also include:
- A recommendation for improving the highly successful E-Rate program -- which made Internet connections in America's classrooms and libraries a reality -- so that kids and teachers can have a 21st century educational experience that is the envy of the world.
- A recommendation to modernize the FCC's rural telemedicine program to connect thousands of additional clinics and break down bureaucratic barriers to a telehealth future.
- A recommendation to take the steps necessary to deploy broadband to accelerate a smart grid.
- A recommendation to develop public/private partnerships to increase Internet adoption, and ensure that all children can use the Internet proficiently and safely -- with programs like NCTA's new A+ program playing a helpful role.
- A recommendation to free up a significant amount of spectrum in the years ahead for ample licensed and unlicensed use.
- A recommendation for lowering the cost of broadband build-out -- wired and wireless -- through the smart use of government rights of way and conduits.
- A recommendation for creating an interoperable public safety network to replace the currently broken system.
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