FCC Wants Broadband Providers to Put the Pedal to the Metal

We imagine the suits over at the FCC must be big fans of the movie Top Gun, because a major new Internet policy that's about to be unveiled proves someone in Washington feels the need for speed. We're talking about a policy that would task ISPs with putting 100Mbps speeds in place at 100 million American homes within the next decade.

That's just one of several goals outlined in the National Broadband Plan, though it's the one that's drawing the most ire from a handful of ISPs who oppose "extreme forms of regulation" by the FCC.

"This is a fairly unique event," said Paul Gallant, an analyst with Concept Capital. "The FCC really has never been asked to design a broad regulatory shift like this. Broadband is important and difficult because it threatens every established communications sector."

Naturally, the FCC feels different, and according to the agency's chief, Julius Genachowski, the proposal is a "win-win for everyone involved."

"We've certainly heard from a number of broadcasters who told us they think this is a promising direction and are getting ready to roll up their sleeves with us," Genachowski added.

Broadband providers are probably most concerned with the cost associated with the FCC's proposal, but should they be? According to ABI Research, global fixed broadband service revenue is expected to exceed $210 billion in 2014, up from $164 billion in 2009, and $145 billion in 2008. Those are global figures, mind you, but still a staggering amount of revenue. Even during an economic downturn, ISPs appear to be as financially strong as ever, at least in terms of broadband dollars.

There are many other parts to the National Broadband Plan, such as a $16 billion investment to build an emergency public safety system, a one-time investment of $9 billion to extend the reach of broadband into rural areas, ensuring that government buildings, schools, libraries, and healthcare facilities get speeds in the vicinity of 1Gbps by 2020, and more.

Ambitious, to say the least, but entirely "achievable," Genachowski says.
Tags:  Broadband, Internet, FCC