USA - National Broadband Plan - Overview and Analysis


The National Broadband Plan that the FCC presented on 17 March 2010 sets the USA on a completely different telecoms path. Within the limitations of the legal systems governing telecoms in this country this is the best plan that those who share the vision of open networks and understand the social and economic benefits that would flow from a trans-sector use of broadband infrastructure, could hope for. This should shows Congress that it is worthwhile making the legislative changes that will deliver the national benefits that are clearly laid out in the report.

The plan is very pro-consumer, pro-privacy and pro-competition, with significant changes proposed to access regimes, wholesale facilities and competition in both the telco and broadcasting markets. Overly restrictive copyright rules will also be reviewed.

As was stipulated by Congress, the plan does not contain a review of the current rather poor state of competition in the residential market; nor does it address the fact that in order to support the digital economy better infrastructure is needed in place of the ageing copper-based networks. Any reference to structural changes to the industry is also significantly absent.

Overall the plan also fails to more directly address the need to monetize the social and economic benefits, and it therefore places too much emphasis on commercial solutions. As those benefits are mostly off-balance-sheet for the telcos, the government needs to take a more serious leadership role here.

This report was archived in July 2013.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Synopsis
  • 2. Key elements of the Plan
  • 3. Groundwork for a new direction in telecoms
  • 4. Visionary plan now needs legislative action
  • 5. Affordable access to broadband infrastructure
  • 6. National purpose good for the nation – and for lowering the consumer bill
  • 7. Structural changes to the industry are needed
  • 8. Regional and Rural America will be second-rated
  • 9. The ball is now in the court of Congress
  • 10. Statement from President Obama
  • 11. Using electricity infrastructure to roll out broadband
    • 11.1 Skilled and readily available workforce
    • 11.2 Combined ONT/smart meter
    • 11.3 Broadband
    • 11.4 Social and economic problems
  • 12. Focus on Mobile broadband
    • 12.1 Public safety sector spearhead in NBN
    • 12.2 Wireless fast broadband is where the action begins
    • 12.3 The Public Safety Plan
    • 12.4 How does the FCC propose to do it?
    • 12.5 More decisive action is needed
  • 13. Other Reports

Related Reports

Focus Report Profile


Broadband Fixed
Regulations & Government Policies
Telecoms Infrastructure

Number of pages 10

Status Archived

Last updated 22 Mar 2010
Update History

Analyst: Paul Budde

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In 2009 Paul contacted me and we engaged in the brainstorming sessions that led to the development of the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

Paul is a visionary with a keen strategic approach. He is a powerful communicator, provides succinct analyses and has a complete knowledge of all the key information and communications technologies relating to broadband.

Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General International Telecommunications Union (ITU) 2006-2014

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