US panel to push 10-year internet expansion plan, says report

The US Federal Communications Commission will submit a 10-year plan to Congress on Tuesday that would establish high-speed internet as the country's dominant means of communication, The New York Times reported in yesterday's editions.

The plan will likely spawn a lobbying battle between telecommunication firms and the broadcast television industry, which already opposes turning over spectrum space to future mobile service use, the newspaper said.

FCC officials briefed on the plan said the commission's recommendations would include a subsidy for internet providers to wire unserved rural areas, an auction of some broadcast spectrum to free up access for wireless devices, and development of a universal set-top box that connects to the internet and cable service.

The FCC intends to argue that the plan, some of which would require congressional action and would influence billions in federal spending, should pay for itself through the spectrum auctions, the newspaper said.

The plan looks towards a web-connected world with nearly instant access to areas ranging from healthcare information to online classrooms, through as-yet undeveloped wireless devices, the Times said.

About one-third of Americans have no access to high-speed internet service, choose to do without it or cannot afford it, it said.

The plan stems from the government view that broadband is becoming the dominant US medium over telephone and broadcast television.


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