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The National Broadband Plan

Feb 2010
Policy Brief
By  Gregory Rosston
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to formulate a plan that “shall seek to ensure all people of the United States have access to broadband capability and shall establish benchmarks for meeting that goal.” In March 2010, the FCC will deliver its National Broadband Plan to Congress, but fulfilling Congress’ mandate literally and narrowly would be a mistake— the FCC’s Broadband Task Force reported that it would cost $350 billion to connect every home in the United States to fiber optic cable (not including operating costs). Notwithstanding the recent large government stimulus packages and high consumer demand for broadband, this magnitude of public spending is improbable. Thus, the Broadband Task Force is likely to offer a set of options and policies for the country to increase the reach and uptake of broadband, but it will not propose to connect all people to high-capacity broadband networks.