FCC Gives Cities A Preview of Broadband Plan

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During a meeting of local elected officials, Blair Levin, executive director of the Federal Communications Commission, Omnibus Broadband Initiative gave a sneak peak at the soon to be released National Broadband Plan. “Broadband is the common medium this country uses…’ he said during the meeting, underlying the need for a stronger technological infrastructure that would ensure affordable access to increase economic development and job growth.

The plan, due out on Tuesday, March 16, doesn’t seek to be a set of rules so much as a set of recommendations to consider. While the plan won’t address all issues, one key message is its support of deployment. Instead of concerning themselves with regulations and pricing models and rights of way issues, local governments should be identifying what their needs are and then setting goals to achieve those needs. Even if it means creating their own networks if there isn’t adequate service by existing providers.

Mr. Levin finished his presentation understanding that not everyone is going to love this plan. It’s not going to fix all problems in terms of local broadband agendas. And even if it did, there are financial and political obstacles for locals that could prohibit a robust broadband plan. But like the creation of an interstate highway, there had to be a starting point to get to where we are now. This is our starting point.