On March 16, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission released its national broadband strategy, a year in the making. The document is as inspiring as it is broad-reaching, envisioning a dramatic nationwide expansion of truly high-speed (gigabit) Internet access and the world's best wireless broadband systems, and completing next-generation networks supporting health care, public safety and community institutions, as well as businesses and government.
The executive summary includes the following: “Broadband is the great infrastructure challenge of the early 21st century. Like electricity a century ago, broadband is a foundation for economic growth, job creation, global competitiveness and a better way of life. It is enabling entire new industries and unlocking vast new possibilities for existing ones. It is changing how we educate children, deliver health care, manage energy, ensure public safety, engage government and access, and organize and disseminate knowledge. But broadband in America is not all it needs to be.
Approximately 100 million Americans do not have broadband at home. Broadband-enabled health information technology can improve care and lower costs by hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming decades, yet the United States is behind many advanced countries in the adoption of such technology. Broadband can provide teachers with tools that allow students to learn the same course material in half the time, but there is a dearth of easily accessible digital educational content required for such opportunities. A broadband-enabled Smart Grid could increase energy independence and efficiency, but much of the data required to capture these benefits are inaccessible to consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs. And nearly a decade after 9/11, our first responders still lack a nationwide public safety mobile broadband communications network, even though such a network could improve emergency response and homeland security.”