This is the VOA Special English Economics Report, fromhttp://voaspecialenglish.com
A newly released proposal calls for almost everyone in the United States to have high-speed Internet service at home within ten years.
On March sixteenth the Federal Communications Commission sent its
National Broadband Plan to Congress.
The F.C.C. wants one hundred million homes to have inexpensive Internet service at ten times current speeds. Another goal for twenty twenty is to have the fastest and most extensive wireless network of any nation.
The United States invented
the Internet. Yet a recent
study placed it sixteenth in broadband access. F.C.C. Chairman Julius Genachowski says the
service available is slow and
costly compared with other
Currently, about two-thirds of Americans have broadband at home. But almost one hundred million
do not. The government says
fourteen million of them cannot get broadband even if they wanted it.
The United States built a national highway system to expand transportation. Now President Obama says a similar effort is needed to expand broadband networks.
His administration says expanding access is an economic development issue. Fast connections, it says, are important to business and job creation, and to other areas like education and health care.
The government proposes to spend
up to sixteen billion dollars
on a wireless network for public safety agencies. Most Americans get broadband service through their cable television provider or telephone company. There are rules for companies that supply utilities like electricity and water to let competitors use their wires
or pipes. But some experts point out the lack of such "open access" rules for telephone and cable companies. This is unlike some other countries with better broadband access.
Expanding service to some areas
of the country will require
wireless transmission. But there is a limited amount of radio frequency spectrum available. To help pay for the plan, the F.C.C. wants to sell five hundred megahertz of spectrum. But it says the plan will require ten times more unused spectrum than it can now offer. TV stations are worried that they will be forced to give up some of their frequencies.
Some members of Congress have questioned the costs of the
F.C.C. plan and how it may
affect competition. At the same time, a court case has raised questions about the agency's
legal powers to regulate
And thats the VOA Special English Economics Report. For more business news, go to voaspecialenglish.com.