Congress grants FCC extension of broadband plan

U.S. Congressional leaders have granted a request from the Federal Communications Commission to extend a Feb. 17 deadline for submitting the National Broadband Plan to Congress.

An FCC spokesman told IN Compliance today that the chairmen of the Senate and House committees that would first review the plan have granted the extension to March 17.

The FCC requested the extension, saying it needs more time to digest information gleaned from more than 50 public hearings and workshops and other input on what the plan should contain.

“The additional time will enable the FCC to continue to obtain input from key stakeholders,” said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in a Jan. 7 letter to Congressional leaders.

The National Broadband Plan seeks to extend broadband Internet access to everyone in the U.S. with a combination of public and private investment. Among the initiatives being considered is a change to the Universal Service Fund, created in 1997 to expand advanced telecommunications services, to focus on broadband adoption. Also, the plan calls for seeking ways to expand the amount of spectrum available for delivering broadband services.