Originally published: March 25, 2010
Last updated: November 29, 2010 - 11:37am
Republicans have signaled their major concerns, and likely lines of questioning, about the national broadband plan in a briefing memo to Republican congressional members and staff in advance of the March 25 broadband oversight hearing with the five Federal Communications Commission commissioners.
While a broadband hearing in the Senate had to be cancelled at the last minute earlier this week, the House Communications Subcommittee hearing is expected to go off as planned/ In the memo, the Republicans suggest the broadband plan essentially confirms the success of a free market that has resulted in 95% broadband penetration, and two-thirds adoption. "By continuing our deregulatory policies, we can beat the new plan's goal of making 100 Mbps service available to 100 million homes by 2020," says the memo. They said that doesn't mean they don't like some elements of the plan, including efforts to "cut waste" in the Universal Service Fund, and freeing up more spectrum. The Republicans argue that if the Democrats had not defeated their efforts to target broadband stimulus bucks to unserved areas, rather than include underserved as well, broadband deployment might have been "even further down the road by now." As to the FCC plan to free up 500 MHz of spectrum by 2020, the Republicans say that could advance broadband while generating needed revenue, but only if the FCC does not "give the spectrum away or rig auctions with conditions."
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