Major US broadband policy plan to be revealed

15 Mar 2010

Regulators in the US are set to roll out an ambitious broadband policy plan that will see the average American experience increases in speeds up to 25 times faster than what they currently experience.

Illustrating how progressive economies view broadband policy as a key pillar for economic recovery and social regeneration, the plan that will go before US Congress this week must surely be noticed by the small army of Irish politicians in the States this week for St Patrick’s Day festivities.

The plan to be proposed by the Federal Communications Commission includes a broad array of proposals, some of which have trickled out to media in recent weeks.

These include finding spectrum to meet an anticipated explosion in smart-phone devices capable of playing movies and music in addition to emails and voice calls.

This refers to the vital issue of digital dividend and broadcasters who have switched from analogue to digital, handing over spectrum to mobile operators who can then provide higher broadband speeds.

The multi-faceted plan is believed to have sparked a race by infrastructure players to reveal new technologies. Last week, Cisco revealed a 322-terabyte router capable of handling next-generation communications experiences to the home, from movies to broadband and video conferencing.

The plan will see schools, hospitals and government bodies in the US experience speeds of around 1Gbps.

US President Barack Obama’s administration is believed to have backed the plan as a key way of creating jobs and achieving green economy objectives such as energy efficiency.

Estimates reckon the plan would require a one-time injection of between US$8bn and US$9bn to deliver ubiquitous broadband across the States.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years