Does the US Get the Bold Broadband Vision Congress Has Asked For?

By Paul Budde
Paul Budde

The US Congress asked the FCC for a bold plan to achieve the bold vision expressed by the Congress.

To ensure that all people of the United States have access to broadband capability and shall establish benchmarks for meeting that goal. The plan shall also include:

a) an analysis of the most effective and efficient mechanisms for ensuring broadband access by all people of the United States;

b) a detailed strategy for achieving affordability of such service and maximum utilization of broadband infrastructure and service by the public:

c) an evaluation of the status of deployment of broadband service, including progress of projects supported by the grants made pursuant to this section; and

d) a plan for use of broadband infrastructure and services in advancing consumer welfare, civic participation, public safety and homeland security, community development, health care delivery, energy independence and efficiency, education, worker training, private sector investment, entrepreneurial activity, job creation and economic growth, and other national purposes.

We discussed this issue in our Big Think group and here are some comments.

Mark Cooper commented that Congress did not ask for a detailed, step by step plan, it wanted a big picture. The Obama administration desperately needs a bold vision somewhere, like JFK's challenge to go to the moon within a decade.

Jim Baller added that this language requires the FCC to propose creative ways to use broadband connectivity as part of the solution to all of America's major national problems. This is a clear challenge to the FCC to propose big, bold trans-sector approaches that will drive the deployment, adoption, and use of robust broadband connectivity, not just at the household level, but throughout the economy, in all areas of American life. The FCC has assembled an impressive national purposes team, and it will undoubtedly respond to this portion of the Act in some fashion.

Mark also suggested something along the lines of a declaration of a goal of achieving universal broadband service by the end of the decade — defining universal service as a level of penetration for broadband equal to the current level of penetration of telephone service (about 95 percent).

Another comment was that the fact that Congress asked for a 'bold' high level vision doesn't automatically mean that it will also supports the implementation of it. The Supreme Court has noted in regard to the Telecoms Act that Congress intentionally makes legislation ambiguous and contradictory.

By Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication. Paul is also a contributor of the Paul Budde Communication blog located here.

Related topics: Broadband, Policy & Regulation, Telecom


Paul,Good article. When we see countries Jeremy Hitchcock  –  Jan 20, 2010 10:21 AM PDT


Good article.  When we see countries like Australia, putting massive investments into broadband, we have to wonder what a paltry sum will accomplish.  Should we go the route of 95% can get x speed (and what speed should that be), how much do you think is necessary to make that happen and in how long?

Thx Jeremy,What is important to realize is Paul Budde  –  Jan 20, 2010 3:22 PM PDT

Thx Jeremy,
What is important to realize is that the development of an NBN is based on political decissions. Weather we like it or not that means that we don' necessary develop such plan in an efficient and effective way. This sometimes leads to a total waste of the initiative at other times the industry can run with these political decissions and shape them into a workable and effective format. In your qs for example what should happen is that we get out of this a better base that will allow us to go to the next step (higher speeds, better coverage, affordable prices, etc). I am still hopeful that this will be the case in the USA. I am working on an extensive analysis of the current situation in the running up to the FCC decission on March 17th. Paul

Connected Nation is well on its way to achieving this Ed Dodds  –  Jan 24, 2010 7:56 AM PDT

Connected Nation is well on its way to achieving this.

Good work ED it will indeed need Paul Budde  –  Jan 24, 2010 2:49 PM PDT

Good work ED it will indeed need to be a massive combined effort.