updated 09:50 pm EST, Tue March 9, 2010
Recommendations set for National Broadband Plan
The US is considering the possibility of providing free wireless Internet access, according to a statement (PDF) released by the FCC. The draft broadband plan, discussed at the recent Digital Inclusion Summit, outlines a variety of strategies aimed at expanding the percentage of connected Americans to 90 percent, from the current situation which leaves 35 percent without broadband.
"The National Broadband Plan provides a vision for federal, state, and local leadership and partnerships with the private and non-profit communities that will bridge the digital divide and transform America into a nation where broadband expands opportunities for all," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
The plan outline provides few details regarding how the Commission would utilize spectrum for free or low-cost wireless service. The government is also considering educational programs for digital literacy, including an Online Skills Portal and a Digital Literacy Corps.
"Broadband access for all is essential to meeting the information needs of communities in a democracy," said Genachowski. "Without it we'll end up with a new category of second-class citizens. With it, everyone will be able to harness the social and economic opportunities of the digital age."
The FCC will deliver its National Broadband Plan to Congress on March 17, presumably with additional information on specific aspects of the proposals.