The internet is pervasive. So pervasive, in fact, that you probably think it’s everywhere and that everyone has it. That’s why it’s so shocking to learn that as many as 30% of Americans do not have broadband internet access in their homes.
Yes, you read that statistic correctly: Approximately 100 million lower-income Americans do not have high-speed internet access in their homes.
The National Broadband Plan to bring broadband to the masses
That’s why the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has created a comprehensive National Broadband Plan designed to bring affordable broadband service to the masses.
The arguments in favor of the National Broadband Plan are both simple and inarguable: Internet-based health information technology can improve care and lower costs. High-speed internet service can give students the tools they need to learn the same course material in far less time. An efficient, broadband-based Smart Grid can reduce our energy consumption and set us on the path to energy independence. And finally, a national broadband network will give public safety workers the tools they need to improve emergency response and to help protect the American people.
National Broadband Plan Goals
A lot of research and a lot of thought went into the National Broadband Plan. In summary, it recommends that we set out six national goals to accomplish in the next ten years.
1. Expand the number of homes in the United States that have affordable access to high-speed broadband. (According to the National Broadband Plan, “high-speed” is defined as download speeds of at least 100 mps and actual upload speeds of at least 50 mps.)
2. Become the world leader in mobile innovation. The United States has lead the world in most technologies for the last 100 years and there’s no reason we shouldn’t have the world’s fastest and most extensive wireless network.
3. Affordable broadband service for every American. Not just broadband service, but the financial wherewithal and skills to take full advantage of the opportunities broadband offers.
4. Blazing fast internet for every community. The National Broadband Plan states very clearly that “Every American community should have affordable access to at least 1 gigabit per second broadband service to anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals and government buildings.”
5. Blazing fast broadband for America’s first responders. To ensure the safety of the American people, every police and fire department “should have access to a nationwide, wireless, interoperable broadband public safety network.”
6. Faster broadband means cleaner energy. The economy of the 21st century will be lead by the nation that master’s clean energy. The National Broadband Plan aims to make sure that nation is America by making it possible for everyone can use the internet to track and manage real-time energy consumption.
National Broadband Plan Costs
In today’s fragile economy, the obvious question is, “How much will all this cost?” The surprising answer is, almost nothing.
Revenue from future wireless spectrum auctions make the National Broadband Plan revenue neutral. In fact, experts say the program could even make money.
How is that possible? Most of the recommendations contained in the plan will bring improvements in government efficiency, streamline processes and encourage private investment.
That’s why the National Broadband Plan is often called the best of both worlds.
It prods America into a position of worldwide leadership without the expenditures that usually accompany such lofty goals.
Go to: www.broadband.gov/plan