December Hearing Set

The Federal Communications Commission is going to devote a public meeting Dec. 16 to a status report on the National Broadband Plan.

The plan, a part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, is intended to extend broadband Internet access to all Americans. The FCC began the process of developing a broadband plan in April and has a deadline of Feb. 17, 2010, to deliver a plan to Congress.

The commission has been soliciting input from many stakeholders including consumer groups, industry leaders, state, local and tribal governments, non-profits and others.

Key elements of the plan are to include the following:

  • Find the most efficient and effective ways to provide broadband access to all Americans.
  • Develop strategies for achieving maximum affordability and utilization of broadband infrastructure and services.
  • Evaluate the current status of deployment programs, including related grant programs.
  • Determine how to use broadband expansion to advance community development, consumer education, energy independence, health care delivery, job creation and other national goals.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski promoted the broadband plan in a speech Nov. 24 at The Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark.

“Broadband is a critical infrastructure challenge of our generation. It is to us what railroads, electricity, highways and telephones were to previous generations – a platform for commerce and economic competitiveness,” Genachowski said.