Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission will reveal it's plan for increasing Internet access, but some of the highlights were revealed today. The goals include getting fast broadband access to 100 million households by 2020, and getting television stations to give up their unused frequencies for wireless Internet service providers. The last part is likely to meet resistance, writes the Associated Press.
But the FCC chair, Julius Genachowski says that broadband Internet access is less a luxury than an economic necessity. Spreading access, especially to rural areas that don't have good infrastructure and to lower-income families for whom it is too expensive, will be good for economic growth, too. That's especially true since, as Paul Waldman noted in January, the U.S. ranks No. 18 in the world in broadband speeds. A big reason, of course, is that we didn't have a big government program to help increase access and make it cheaper, until now.
The push is very similar to ones that spread electricity and phone lines to poorer, rural areas in the past. The benefits will accrue not just to the economy but to those who can better access information and educational opportunities as well. And having 90 percent of the population plugged in is better for the rest of us, too.
-- Monica Potts
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