In a speech at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Conference on Tuesday, Chairman Julius Genachowski likened broadband to electricity–a “general purpose technology” that will enable a wide array of innovations and yield “hundreds of thousands of new jobs.” According to Genachowski, wider access to high-speed internet will mean better access to education and resources for children in rural and urban areas, growth for small businesses, and improved healthcare.
Genachowski did not go into details about how the FCC planned on implementing its “100 Squared” plan, but rather pointed to Google’s recent announcement of plans to build a 1 GB bps fiber network that will bring ultra high-speed broadband internet (at speeds “more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today”) to between 50,000 and 500,000 Americans. Genachowski mentioned that more innovators such as Google are needed to drive competition “to invent the future,” and that the ultimate goal should “stretch beyond 100 megabits.”
Genachowski pointed out that there is currently a broadband adoption rate of “roughly 65 percent of U.S. households, compared with 88 percent adoption in Singapore, and 95 percent adoption in South Korea.”
The “100 Squared” plan is not the only thing we can expect in the upcoming broadband plan–other recommendations will include improvement of the E-Rate program (a program designed to bring telecommunications and internet access to schools and libraries), lowering the cost of broadband (both wired and wireless) through use of government rights of way and conduits, and modernization of the FCC’s rural telemedicine program (by connecting thousands of clinics).