High-speed Internet access to be expanded in U.S.

19:52, March 16, 2010      

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The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on Monday that it has worked out a road map to extend high-speed Internet access to every corner of the country.

The road map will ensure that the United States become home to "the fastest and most extensive wireless networks of any nation," the FCC said.

Key components of the plan include:

-- Setting a goal of assuring that at least 100 million homes have affordable access to broadband networks that allow them to download data from the Internet at speeds of at least 100 megabits per second -- 20 times or more faster than most people get today;

-- Putting super-fast Internet access of one gigabit per second in public facilities such as schools, hospitals and government buildings in every community; and

-- Creating a new wireless network for police, firefighters and other public safety workers so they can communicate and share data and video between departments during major emergencies.

High-speed networks should reach all Americans, allowing them to tap into the information economy and take advantage of advancements to come, such as electronic health records, the FCC said.

"The National Broadband Plan is a 21st-century road map to spur economic growth and investment, create jobs, educate our children, protect our citizens, and engage in our democracy," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "It's an action plan, and action is necessary to meet the challenges of global competitiveness, and harness the power of broadband to help address so many vital national issues."

Lawmakers and public safety organizations have pushed for such a network since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, when first responders at the World Trade Center had trouble communicating.

Congress gave the FCC a year to develop a strategy for developing a strategy to extend high-speed Internet when it passed the 787-billion-dollar economic stimulus plan last year.

The FCC has 7.2 billion dollars as stimulus money to implement its plan. In addition, the agency wants to shift as much as 15.5 billion dollars from an existing fund designed to provide affordable access to telecommunications services -- mostly phone service -- to underserved communities.

Source: Xinhua
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