FCC asks Congress to extend deadline for broadband plan by one month
The Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday it won't meet the deadline set by Congress to create a plan to bring affordable high-speed Internet access to all U.S. homes. Instead, it has asked Congress to extend the deadline by one month. The FCC was supposed to hand a national broadband plan to Congress on Feb. 17.
"In order to ensure that there is sufficient time to more fully brief commissioners and key members of Congress, to get additional input from stakeholders, and to fully digest the exhaustive record before the agency, the chairman has requested from Congressional leaders a short extension of 4 weeks," said Colin Crowell, senior adviser to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
The announcement comes amid criticism by consumer interest groups, which have complained that updates on the FCC's planning process indicate too little attention to how policies at the agency could bring in new competitors to the biggest telecom and cable Internet service providers.
Robert McDowell, a Republican member of the FCC, reacted strongly to Genachowski's request for an extension.
"I am disappointed that the FCC's broadband team is unable to deliver a national broadband plan to Congress by the statutorily mandated deadline," McDowell said in a statement. "Once we receive a draft plan, I hope the document will reflect the benefit of the additional time being taken to prepare it."
The agency was mandated by Congress, as part of the stimulus plan for broadband funding, to figure out how to connect rural and urban poor areas to broadband Web service. As part of its plan, the FCC was also charged to find way to make broadband Internet more affordable and to train people how to use the technology.
President Obama has put universal broadband access at the center of several policy goals. He has said that national high-speed Internet access -- either cable, fiber lines or wireless -- would help companies turn to smart energy technology and allow health care companies to deliver service remotely.
January 6, 2010; 10:35 PM ET
Save & Share: Previous: Justice Dept. to take up antitrust review of Comcast-NBC deal
Next: Cocktail conversation on CES party circuit: Washington, tech policy
Posted by: mishoj | January 7, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.