The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has begun a 60-day consultation period with the IT industry over plans for a national broadband infrastructure.
The FCC is tasked with putting together a plan under president Obama's stimulus package for a national broadband network, and presenting it in February 2010. The FCC will spend the 60 days taking submissions from interested parties.
"We have a long way to go to get high-speed, value-laden broadband out to all our citizens," said acting FCC chairman Michael Copps.
"It means that we are beginning to understand that real economic and social progress needs to be fuelled by vigorous private enterprise and enlightened public policy. The missing ingredient until this year has been the enlightened public policy."
His last sentence was a dig at the previous administration which, while talking about formulating a strategy, did not implement one.
All areas of debate are open, the FCC said. Wired, wireless and satellite options are all being considered, and a single unified standard must be applied without stifling technological competition.
"We must do a better job of making innovative communications technologies more widely available and affordable," said FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein.
"It is clearly in our economic interests to do so, especially given the downturn we face. But it is also in the interests of our healthcare system, our environment, our education system, our energy grid, our transportation network, our public safety agencies - in fact, broadband will help us address almost every big challenge we face.
"Other countries around the world have long recognised this. At long last we have a president, a Congress and an FCC that do as well."
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