FCC announces 100Mbps broadband initiative as part of upcoming National Broadband Plan

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In the run up to the official announcement of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, due to be presented next month, we’re beginning to hear more about the FCC’s specific goals for broadband adoption in the US. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has spoken about the need for universal broadband in the past, and we also reported recently that agency is looking into buying back wireless spectrum from broadcasters.

In his remarks at the NARUC conference (PDF) yesterday, Genachowski offered some more nuggets of information. Perhaps most interesting was the mention of a “100 Squared” initiative — a plan to bring 100 megabits per second broadband to 100 million households across the US. He also said that the US should aim beyond 100 Mbps speeds as well, and touted Google’s plan for a gigabit fiber broadband access as the sort of innovation we need to focus on.

100 megabits per second is a notable goal for broadband in the US, but as Electronista mentions, the limitations of current technologies will prevent that from happening anytime soon. To receive broadband speeds of 100Mbps or greater, consumers would need access to DOCSIS 3.0 cable internet, or some sort of fiber connectivity like Verizon’s FiOS service. The trouble lies in the fact that both technologies aren’t widely available, and speeds also vary depending on where they are implemented.

From his remarks, it’s clear that Genachowski knows that the Broadband Plan is going to be a difficult, but noble, effort:

When the 1934 Communications Act was signed by President Roosevelt in the midst of the Great Depression, only 32 percent of American households had telephone service. But the President and the country made a commitment to get everyone affordable phone service. Today we should do no less with respect to high-speed Internet access.


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