Improving the nation’s broadband infrastructure is a key part of President Obama’s economic stimulus plan, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a speech on Wednesday.
The U.S. has fallen behind other countries in the development of broadband, he said, adding that “the government is “moving on a broadband strategic plan for the entire country so that we can renew American leadership and competitiveness for the 21st century.”
Speaking at Seneca High School in Erie, Pennsylvania, Genachowski said that in the same way previous generations built systems of canals, railroads and interstate highways, and “a telephone network that stretched to every corner of America … in the 21st century, broadband infrastructure will be the platform for growth and opportunity for us, our children, and our children’s children.”
He did tell the students that the U.S. is doing better than other nations in one category — broadband connections in schools – because of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which provided discounted Internet access in schools and libraries.
Congress, he said, has tasked the FCC with developing a National Broadband Plan for America, and over the next few months the commission will begin national discussion about the plan — around the country and online.
“Please get involved,” he said. This is about those who we risk leaving behind if we don’t pursue a national broadband strategy.”