TMCnews Featured Article

February 16, 2010

FCC Calls for Faster Broadband Speeds

By Erin Harrison, Senior Editor

Following Google’s (News - Alert) announcement to build a super-fast Internet network, the Federal Communications Commission's chairman said Tuesday that the U.S. government wants to set minimum home Internet speeds to make the United States the world's largest market of high-speed Internet users.
The FCC's (News - Alert) “100 Squared Initiative” would bring Internet data transmission speeds of 100 megabits per second to 100 million homes by 2020, a significantly higher speed than what many homes get now, Reuters (News - Alert) reported.
“Building world-class broadband that connects all Americans is our generation’s great infrastructure challenge,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski (News - Alert). “Some compare high-speed Internet to building the interstate highway system in the 1950s. It’s a tempting comparison, but imperfect.”
The FCC plans to deliver the proposal to Congress next month in a report.
The national broadband plan would set “ambitious but achievable goals,” Genachowski told an audience at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners conference, Reuters reported.
“Despite significant private investment and some strong strides over the last decade, America's broadband ecosystem is not nearly as robust as it needs to be,” he said. “Broadband creates jobs and economic growth on the networks, in companies that start or expand on the Internet.”
The information and communications technology sector of the American economy now represent a trillion dollars in revenue, millions of jobs, and 13 percent of the GDP, according to the FCC.
“While our economy struggles with bubble-induced turmoil, the ICT sector has weathered the storm better than most industries,” Genachowski said. “We’ve gone from zero to 150,000 apps for smart phones in less than three years. And almost half-a-billion people are on U.S.-founded social network sites.”
Genachowski offered sparse details on the plan and how the FCC would get providers to reach the minimum speeds.
The U.S. ranked 19th in broadband speed, lagging being Japan, Korea and France, according to a 2008 study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. According to Reuters, data shows that about 64 percent of U.S. households used a high-speed Internet service in 2009, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. That is a 25 percent increase from 51 percent two years earlier.
“We should stretch beyond 100 megabits,” Genachowski said. “The U.S. should lead the world in ultra high-speed testbeds as fast or faster than anywhere in the world.”
According to the FCC, roughly 14 million Americans do not have access to broadband.

Erin Harrison is a senior editor with TMCnet, primarily covering telecom expense management, politics and technology and Web 2.0. She serves as senior editor for TMC's print publications, including "Internet Telephony (News - Alert)", "Customer Interaction Solutions", "Unified Communications" and "NGN" magazines. Erin also oversees production of TMCnet's weekly iPhone e-Newsletter. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison