Tomorrow, March 16, is the day that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is supposed to present its National Broadband Plan to Congress. However, according to an article at the Washington Post Web site, the FCC has already made the Executive Summary section of the report available online [PDF]. I haven’t yet had a chance to read it, but it’s relatively short: the document is 6 pages long, but there are only about 4½ pages of actual text.
The FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, also had an Op-Ed piece in yesterday’s Post, outlining some of the background to the plan.
While the United States invented the Internet, when it comes to broadband we have fallen behind as other nations have raced ahead. Some studies show us to be as low as 15th in the world in broadband adoption; others have us higher, but none puts us even close to where we need to be.
It has been a well-accepted idea for many years that the government has a role to play in providing public goods, like highways and a legal system. Although in the case of the Internet we are transporting information, not oil, refrigerators, or parcels, it seems to me that the same sort of arguments very much apply.