05/16/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Congress to Finally See the National Broadband Plan

In 2009, the 111th Congress ratified the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Shortly after it was enacted, Congress instructed the Federal Communications Commission to design a National Broadband Plan. The plan is intended to be a broadband framework where multiple initiatives are realized -- economic growth, job creation, improving education, telemedicine and national security.

Today the FCC sent the National Broadband Plan to Congress. They have also made the plan publicly available -- Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan. The plan is a big read -- 377 pages, 17 chapters and 3 parts.

The FCC covers six goals:
  1. Goal 1: At least 100 million U.S. homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and actual upload speeds of at least 50 megabits per second.
  2. Goal 2: The United States should lead the world in mobile innovation, with the fastest and most extensive wireless networks of any nation.
  3. Goal 3: Every American should have affordable access to robust broadband service, and the means and skills to subscribe if they so choose.
  4. Goal 4: Every community should have affordable access to at least 1 Gbps broadband service to anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals and government buildings.
  5. Goal 5: To ensure the safety of Americans, every first responder should have access to a nationwide public safety wireless network.
  6. Goal 6: To ensure that America leads in the clean energy economy, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.

We commend the FCC for the immense effort involved in researching and writing the National Broadband Plan. The Plan appears to reflect the emerging consensus on a number of paramount broadband goals, most notably the need to achieve universal adoption and digital literacy; the need to fix and redirect outdated subsidy schemes to more efficiently deliver broadband to unserved areas and to close the affordability gap for low-income families; and the need to break down policy barriers that keep broadband from serving critical national purposes such as health care, education, and employment.

--Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts

I am glad to see Comcast in support of the FCC plan. It is especially notable that Roberts is in support of broadband penetration into underserved communities. Tomorrow, the Brookings Institution will be hosting a forum to discuss the National Broadband Plan. Blair Levin, heads the broadband initiative, will be present and he will be discussing the plan and its importance.