Plans for America's broadband: Not what was asked for

Posted in: Government & Policy at 22/03/2010 16:03

A year ago, Congress asked for a plan that would provide affordable broadband service to all America's citizens. On March 16th, the Federal Communications Commission responded with a non sequitur: a national wireless plan which is good in its way, but which largely fails to tackle the problem it was asked to solve.

There is much to like in the FCC's proposal. It proposes to auction a large chunk of radio spectrum that could be used to provide data to wireless devices, and to encourage existing licence-holders, in particular broadcasters, to auction or sell any capacity they are not using. It also frees up more spectrum for tinkering on unlicensed space. This is no small thing; the standard for Wi-Fi was developed on unlicensed spectrum that had been considered "junk band", cluttered with low-intensity signals from microwave ovens and baby monitors. None of this, though, will do much to make broadband access universal or more affordable.

To read this report from The Economist in full, see:
www.economist.com/world/united-states/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15732610

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