Finally, someone in the government is suggesting steering some tax dollars where they should have been steered all along: Toward building a national digital infrastructure that will make America less of an embarrassment relative to the rest of the developed world.Of course, telecom companies and TV broadcasters are already fighting the plan tooth and nail.
The Federal Communications Commission is proposing an ambitious 10-year plan that will reimagine the nation’s media and technology priorities by establishing high-speed Internet as the country’s dominant communication network.
The blueprint reflects the government’s view that broadband Internet is becoming the common medium of the United States, gradually displacing the telephone and broadcast television industries. It also signals a shift at the F.C.C., which under the administration of President George W. Bush gained more attention for policing indecency on the television airwaves than for promoting Internet access.
According to F.C.C. officials briefed on the plan, the commission’s recommendations will include a subsidy for Internet providers to wire rural parts of the country now without access, a controversial auction of some broadcast spectrum to free up space for wireless devices, and the development of a new universal set-top box that connects to the Internet and cable service.