FCC National Broadband Plan: Too Much To Chew?

National Broadband Plan

The 300-plus-page plan is comprehensive and addresses many different goals, from increasing bandwidth to boosting the number of citizens connected, to the Internet to public safety.

"The plan is very ambitious and ambitious goals are hard to achieve," said J.G. Harrington, an attorney at Dow Lohnes, a Washington, DC-based law firm with one of the largest communications law practices in the country. "It likely will be a struggle for the FCC to find all of the spectrum it wants and to reach its targets for broadband adoption. At the same time, the FCC already has laid the groundwork for other initiatives, such as changes in the federal universal service program, and it should be able to accomplish many of those objectives."

One of its goals was to increase implementation of broadband. According to the FCC, nearly 100 million Americans currently lack broadband at home, and 14 million Americans could not have access to broadband even if they wanted it. Such gaps in service undercut American competitiveness, according to the FCC.

Another focus of the plan is to address the issue of mobile broadband bottlenecking. The rate of mobile broadband has grown so quickly that more wireless spectrum is needed. The NBP recommends increasing the 255-MHz to 3.7-GHz spectrum available to "terrestrial broadband services" by at least 300 MHz in the next five years, and 500 MHz within the next 10. The extra wireless spectrum would come from television bands.

Sponsored post

"Even though it may be hard for the FCC to find all of the spectrum it wants to make available, it seems likely that the greatest impact of the plan will be on wireless broadband," said Harrington. "The FCC's renewed focus on availability of spectrum, along with the advent of LTE, should make it easier for wireless providers to respond to customer demand for greater bandwidth."

Among the plan's goals: