The FCC`s National Broadband Plan - Challenges and Concerns
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In March, the Washington Post’s incredibly savvy and knowledgeable technology policy writer, Cecilia Kang, answered questions live online concerning the FCC’s incredibly “dense and technical plan”, and it quickly became clear that many Americans are concerned about how the proposed changes will unfold.
Some of the best questions, such as “what kind of incentives can the government realistically provide to entice service providers to continue to spend billions in network upgrades needed to accomplish the 100 Mbps connections for 100 million homes?” and “what are the industry politics behind this possible FCC move; what businesses would gain and which businesses may be harmed by this action?” unfortunately can’t be answered until the plan is implemented. As it stands, based on the information we already have, the only thing we stand to gain is that 100 million of our fellow Americans will be brought up to speed (literally) and have the same access to high-speed Internet as the rest of us.
As far as accomplishing any other of the FCC’s six outlined goals, we’ll have to wait and see what happens after the 60 action agenda items have been completed. It’s a long and arduous process, not expected to make any noticeable difference for another five or ten years, but its impact will obviously be far reaching to those in rural areas and urban areas alike.
According to the knowledgeable folks at PC World, aside from the concerns already expressed by many American citizens, the FCC also faces many challenges, such as ensuring that they’re not just making 100-megabit-per-second broadband available, but that they’re making it affordable as well. Interestingly enough, PC World believes that one of the biggest challenges facing the FCC and its plan are the very Internet users they’re trying to bring into the twenty-first century.
According to the magazine, “36 percent of Americans without broadband said cost is the main issue, 22 percent said they don't understand the technology and worry about security, and 19 percent think the Internet's a waste of time. So the biggest problem is not cost, but more general concerns about the Internet itself. The FCC has talked about health, education, and job benefits of broadband, but it'll have to figure out how to make the Internet seem exciting to those who aren't interested.”
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