Federal Communications Commission

From the Chairman Category

Hitting the Ground Running on the National Broadband Plan

April 21st, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.

Almost two weeks ago, the Commission reached a major milestone in moving from planning to action on the National Broadband Plan. On April 8, we released the 2010 Broadband Action Agenda that sets out the timing and purpose of more than 60 concrete Commission proceedings and actions to take place over the next year.

This action agenda is unprecedented in ambition and transparency. And that fits the importance of the Plan’s goals of:
  • Ensuring that the U.S. has a broadband communications infrastructure that enables us to compete globally and remain the world leader in innovation in the 21st century;
  • Ensuring that every American benefits from the economic promise and social opportunity that broadband affords;
  • Ensuring that consumers are protected and empowered, and competition promoted in broadband communications; and
  • Ensuring that, in a world of broadband communications networks, our public safety and homeland security is protected.
Broadband communications is an essential element of job creation and economic growth, and can play a critical role in addressing so many of our major national challenges, from education to health care, energy to public safety.
That’s why we have laid out an aggressive roadmap for executing on key recommendations of the National Broadband Plan.
At today’s monthly Commission meeting, we are initiating six major proceedings across four Bureaus that enable us to move forward on the hard work of implementing the Plan. Specifically:
  • We begin the process of initiating a once-in-a-generation transformation of the Universal Service Fund, in order to connect all Americans to broadband, including Americans who live and work in rural areas. 
  • We also launch two proceedings to lay out a new foundation for fulfilling Congress’s mandate to ensure a competitive marketplace for video navigation devices.
  • In the area of mobile, we revise our voice roaming rules to improve the ability of American consumers to receive voice service whenever and wherever they travel, while also encouraging carriers of all sizes to invest, innovate, and deploy new networks. We also seek comment on a framework for achieving the same goals with respect to mobile broadband services -- perhaps the most exciting and dynamic sector of the communications landscape.
  • And for the safety of all Americans, we launch a proceeding to ensure the survivability of broadband communications infrastructure to protect against terrorist attacks, natural disasters, pandemics, or other major public emergencies. We also consider a voluntary cyber security certification program to help protect our country’s critical communications infrastructure against a new and serious threat.
This is fast action, and of course it’s not our first action. Even before the release of the Plan, we began acting on concrete ideas to address broadband availability, affordability, and adoption for Americans, by:
  • Adopting an order to cut through red tape on tower siting to accelerate mobile broadband build-out;
  • Taking action to increase flexibility of schools receiving E-Rate funding to serve their communities with broadband access; and
  • Enabling build-out of critical healthcare networks by announcing funding commitments and giving participants in the Rural Health Care Pilot Program the additional time needed to select vendors and request commitments.
Since the release of the Plan, we also approved a transaction involving MSS spectrum that opens the door for creation of a new mobile broadband network, billions of dollars of new investment, and thousands of new American jobs. 
As an initial step towards making available 500 megahertz of spectrum for broadband use within 10 years with 300 megahertz for mobile broadband within 5 years, we issued a Public Notice announcing draft rules for WCS-SDARS and inviting public comment. 
In order to improve transparency, information, and competition in the broadband ecosystem, we launched the Consumer Survey and the Small- and Medium-Sized Business Survey to begin to collect better data than is currently available on broadband adoption, usage, attitudes, and needs by consumers and small- and medium-sized businesses.
We also launched a suite of new media tools to improve transparency to the American public, for example by allowing consumers to test the speeds of fixed and mobile broadband connections and to view how spectrum is used via the Commission’s Spectrum Dashboard
I’m also pleased that other agencies and parts of government have begun energetic processes to implement key recommendations of the Plan. I understand they are putting together their own implementation plans arising out of the National Broadband Plan.  
And the broadband team has helped to drive the launch of several important public-private partnerships that will help bring broadband and broadband training to several communities at risk of being left behind: seniors, small businesses, low-income households, and community institutions like schools and clinics. These include initiatives such as:
  • Project GOAL that promotes adoption of broadband services by older adults;
  • The Small Business Coalition that provides digital literacy and training tools to small businesses;
  • “Apps for Inclusion” to develop mobile and online applications that have a social purpose;
  • Digital Adoption Coalition, made up of industry leaders in cable, telecommunications, software, hardware, and other technology players working together with the nonprofit sector to invest in making discounted equipment, service, and training available to lower income urban and rural areas; and
  • A consortium of leading deployment and infrastructure technology companies looking to upgrade institutional connectivity to 40,000 community anchor institutions.
Like the professional process conducted by the broadband team and Commission leading up to the Plan, the processes for our implementation of the Plan will be characterized by transparency, inclusiveness, and accountability. To enable the public to monitor our activities and progress, we have put up a tracking tool on the website.
I believe it is vitally important that the Commission move forward, as it is doing today, to act on the broadband plan’s roadmap to protect America’s global competitiveness and public safety, and help deliver the extraordinary benefits of broadband communications to all Americans. 
Working to make sure that America has world-leading high-speed broadband networks lies at the very core of the FCC’s mission in the 21st century. I believe this essential mission is completely consistent with the Communications Act and I am confident that the Commission has the authority to implement the broadband plan. 
As we evaluate the recent Comcast decision, I am committed to working with my colleagues to ensure that our actions are rooted in a sound legal foundation, designed to foster investment and innovation, promote competition, and protect and empower consumers.
The magnitude and importance of this agenda, and the workload it creates, require a disciplined management process. The FCC staff have all exemplified the kind of strength and leadership we need to accomplish this vital work together for the country. We stand ready to support their work, and the country appreciates their efforts.


America’s 2020 Broadband Vision

February 17th, 2010 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.

In a month, the Federal Communications Commission will deliver a National Broadband Plan, as it was asked to do by Congress and the President in the Recovery Act. 

This will be a meaningful plan for U.S. global leadership in high-speed Internet to create jobs and spur economic growth; to unleash new waves of innovation and investment; and to improve education, health care, energy efficiency, public safety, and the vibrancy of our democracy. 

I believe this plan is vitally important to America’s future. 

Studies from the Brookings Institute, MIT, the World Bank, and others all tell us the same thing -- that even modest increases in broadband adoption can yield hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Broadband empowers small businesses to compete and grow and will ensure that the jobs and industries of tomorrow are created in the United States. 

The economic benefits of broadband go hand-in-hand with social benefits and the potential for vast improvements in the quality of life for all Americans. 

The National Broadband Plan will describe concrete ways in which broadband can be a part of 21st century solutions to some of our nation’s most pressing challenges, including:

  • Extending the availability and lowering the costs of quality care by putting digital health tools in the hands of doctors and hospitals across the country and removing geographic barriers for patient treatment.  
  • Providing our kids with a world class, 21st century education, connecting them to the global library and giving them the digital skills they need for the future.
  • Making our electric grid smart and efficient and providing Americans with the information they need to make their homes and buildings smarter.  
  • Ensuring that law enforcement officers and first responders across the country have cutting-edge, reliable communications technologies to respond to emergencies efficiently and effectively. 

These are real benefits for real people -- like the unemployed forty-seven-year-old I met in the Bronx who got job training over the Internet to become a telecom technician. And the employees of Blue Valley Meats, in the small town of Diller, Nebraska, which doubled its workforce and saw 40 percent growth by setting up a website and selling its beef online -- once Diller got broadband. 

But right now, we are at a crossroads. For while the United States invented the Internet, when it comes to broadband we are lagging behind where we should be.

Roughly 14 million Americans do not have access to broadband, and more than 100 million Americans who could and should have broadband don’t. That’s an adoption rate of roughly 65 percent of U.S. households, compared with 88 percent adoption in Singapore, and 82 percent adoption in South Korea. The U.S. adoption rate is even lower among low-income, minority, rural, tribal, and disabled households.

This country can and must do better.  In today’s global economy, leading the world in broadband is leading the world. 

This is where the National Broadband Plan comes in.  By setting ambitious goals and laying out proposals to connect all Americans to a world-class broadband infrastructure, we will help secure our country’s global competitiveness for generations to come.

The FCC’s National Broadband Plan will include the following key recommendations:

  • 100 Squared Initiative: 100 million households at a minimum of 100 megabits per second (Mbs) -- the world’s largest market of high-speed broadband users -- to ensure that new businesses are created in America and stay in America.
  • Broadband Testbeds: Encourage the creation of ultra high-speed broadband testbeds as fast, or faster, than any Internet service in the world, so that America is hosting the experiments that produce tomorrow’s ideas and industries.
  • Digital Opportunities: Expand digital opportunities by moving our adoption rates from roughly 65 percent to more than 90 percent and making sure that every child in America is digitally literate by the time he or she leaves high school. 

The quantitative and qualitative benefits of these proposals -- and the many others that the FCC’s plan will contain -- are vast.  Connecting the country to higher speeds means more jobs, more innovation, and more economic growth.

The National Broadband Plan will chart a clear path forward -- ensuring that broadband is our enduring engine for creating jobs and growing our economy, for spreading knowledge and enhancing civic engagement, for advancing a healthier, sustainable way of life.

Pursuing the opportunity of universal broadband is, I believe, a universal goal. Our technology future is one that we can -- and must -- create together.

[Cross-Posted on the White House Blog and the FCC Blog.]

Chairman Genachowski's Message to the National Town Hall

January 19th, 2010 by Gray Brooks - FCC New Media

Below are the welcoming video remarks by Chairman Julius Genachowski to today's National Town Hall.



[Cross-posted on the Open Internet Blog.]

Chairman Genachowski - Live at GigaOM

January 6th, 2010 by Gray Brooks - FCC New Media

Chairman Julius Genachowski is discussing Broadband Policy at GigaOM in San Francisco.  Watch the event live:

The Live Stream has ended.  You can view the archived video here

[Cross-posted at]


Thoughts from the Chairman...

November 19th, 2009 by Gray Brooks - FCC New Media

Chairman Genachowski discusses the Open Commission Meeting at which the FCC heard a presentation from the Omnibus Broadband Initiative:


Chairman Genachowski Meets With Mayor Bloomberg

November 19th, 2009 by George Krebs

Chairman Genachowski sat down with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg today as part of a concerted effort to listen and learn about communications challenges and opportunities from municipalities and states around the country.

The Chairman and Mayor Bloomberg discussed the value of broadband deployment and adoption, the importance of interoperable communications networks for the public safety community, and economic challenges in the media landscape.


“We appreciated the opportunity to talk about using broadband technology to advance innovation in government. We've tried to do it in New York, and were delighted to talk to Chairman Genachowski about his ambitious goals for the country,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

Chairman Genachowski said, “Mayor Bloomberg has shown tremendous leadership in promoting innovative technology solutions for New York City’s government and its citizens. It was a pleasure to speak with him today, and I look forward to working with him to ensure that New Yorkers benefit from broadband’s full potential.”  

A Note From The Chairman...

November 11th, 2009 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.

Chairman GenachowskiI recently had the privilege of visiting our troops in the Gulf region, and of meeting with a number of senior officers from U.S. Central Command, stationed at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. My goal was to better understand the complexities and challenges of military communications, and explore ways the FCC can support the mission of our military.

I couldn’t have been more impressed by the extraordinary group – from Generals to enlisted men and women. They face daunting challenges every day with a can-do spirit and a deep commitment to our country.

From a communications perspective, the military’s challenges include using multiple radio, radar, and computer networks to support real-time battle management; conducting and defending against “electronic warfare” designed to disable communications; and supporting construction or reconstruction of communications infrastructure in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.

I learned a great deal from these enormously experienced officers, and we discussed a number of shared priorities, such as making the best use of scarce spectrum and ensuring interoperability, whether between members of different military services or different categories of civilian first responders. We also discussed how the FCC might benefit from military expertise, as well as the FCC’s role in supporting the military’s communications efforts – for example, with respect to commercial communications facilities used by the military, and our ability to lend expertise to nations still developing their regulatory frameworks for communications.

While at the Base, I was able to see firsthand the importance of broadband connectivity in the daily lives of our troops. I visited the Base’s innovative education and online learning center, where troops can work towards college degree and other continuing education. I spoke with an expert working to place military medical records online, with the potential of real life-saving benefits to soldiers. And I spoke with troops at the Base’s recreational plaza, where WiFi access lets them keep in touch with families and friends through VoIP and social networking tools. There was a consistent and strong feeling that Internet access was a major plus for troop morale.

It was a privilege to visit the troops, and I’m humbled by their service.

“The Open Internet: Preserving the Freedom to Innovate”

September 21st, 2009 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.

Julius GenachowskiThe Internet is the most transformational communications breakthrough of our time. It has become essential to the fabric of the daily lives of Americans.

More and more, the Internet is how we get news, information, and entertainment; how we stay in touch with our friends and family; how we work and start new businesses; how we -- and people across the globe -- learn about our communities and express points of view.

The Internet has also been an extraordinary platform for innovation, job creation, economic growth, and opportunity. It has unleashed the potential of entrepreneurs and enabled the launch and growth of small businesses across America.

The key to the Internet's success has been its openness.

The Internet was designed to be "future-proof" -- to support ideas, products, and services that today's inventors have not yet imagined. In practice, it doesn't favor or disfavor any particular content or application, but allows end users, content creators, and businesses of every size and in every sector of the economy to communicate and innovate without permission.

Notwithstanding its unparalleled record of success, today the free and open Internet faces emerging and substantial challenges.

We've already seen some clear examples of deviations from the Internet's historic openness. We have witnessed certain broadband providers unilaterally block access to VoIP applications and implement technical measures that degrade the performance of peer-to-peer software distributing lawful content. We have even seen one service provider deny users access to political content.

And as many members of the Internet community and key Congressional leaders have noted, there are compelling reasons for concern about even greater challenges to openness in the future, including reduced choice in the Internet service provider marketplace and an increase in the amount of Internet traffic, which has fueled a corresponding need to manage networks sensibly.

The rise of serious challenges to the traditional operation of the Internet puts us at a crossroads. We could see technology used to shut doors to entrepreneurs instead of opening them. The spirit of innovation stifled. A full and free flow of information compromised.

Or we could take steps to preserve a free and open Internet, helping to ensure a future of opportunity, prosperity, and the vibrant flow of information and ideas.

I believe we must choose to safeguard the openness that has made the Internet a stunning success. That is why today, I delivered a speech announcing that the FCC will be the smart cop on the beat when it comes to preserving a free and open Internet.

In particular, I proposed that the FCC adopt two new rules to help achieve this.

The first says broadband providers cannot discriminate against particular Internet content or applications. The second says broadband providers must be transparent about their network management practices. These principles would apply to the Internet however it is accessed, though how they apply may differ depending on the access platform or technology used. Of course, network operators will be permitted to implement reasonable network management practices to address issues such as spam, address copyright infringement, and otherwise ensure a safe and secure network for all users.

I also proposed that the FCC formally enshrine the four pre-existing agency policies that say network operators cannot prevent users from accessing the lawful Internet content, applications, and services of their choice, nor can they prohibit users from attaching non-harmful devices to the network.

This is just the first step in what will be an ongoing process. While these goals are clear, the best path to achieving them is not, and involves many hard questions about how best to maximize the innovation and investment necessary for a robust and thriving Internet. That is why we have created

This site is a place to join the discussion about the free and open Internet. is in Beta, and we'll be adding features to enable participation in the near future. I encourage you to check it out to offer your input, or simply to read or watch today's speech.

With the help of all stakeholders, the FCC can help secure a bright future for the Internet, and make sure that the garage, the basement, and the dorm room remain places where inventors can not only dream, but bring their ideas to life.

And no one should be neutral about that.

(Cross-posted on Huffington Post)

Conversation with the Chairman...

September 10th, 2009 by Mark Wigfield - Spokesman, Omnibus Broadband Initiative.

Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, speaks about his vision on the National Broadband Plan, revitalizing the FCC, and increasing innovation at the agency.

Download .mp4 Transcript

The FCC must be a twenty-first century agency for the information age, New media technologies can help achieve that important goal. Using innovative online tools will enable the Commission to perform more efficiently and communicate more effectively.  They will also encourage the widest possible participation in what the FCC does and harness the communications expertise we have all over the country. -Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission

Broadband Plan Shaking Up Communications at FCC

September 2nd, 2009 by Julius Genachowski - Chairman, Federal Communications Commission.

Julius GenachowskiI had always intended for the FCC's work on the National Broadband Plan to be transparent and open to a wide variety of stakeholders including providers, public interest groups and citizens alike. This effort is too important to leave anyone out.


I am pleased to see that the Commission's work on the plan is already transforming the way we at the agency communicate with the public.  Fittingly, we are using the power of the Internet to boost public participation in the plan through our blog, "Blogband," which is dedicated to the National Broadband Plan. The posts have given us an informal way to keep people up-to-date and engaged in the process. Importantly, the comments back have also been a catalyst for new thinking and creative solutions.


We're also using the Internet to give more people greater access to our workshops here at the Commission. In addition to the over 1,100 people who've so far attended the workshops in person, over 5,000 people have registered to view and participate in the workshops online.  The workshops represent an unparalleled level of openness and participation in the Commission's work.


Inside the agency, we are hard at work processing the public input we are getting from our many workshops. The hours of discussion by workshop participants, along with comments that have already been filed at the FCC, have prompted us to draft new Public Notices about the plan. Over the coming weeks, you will see several of them issued. The new comments we receive will be filed in the official record for the plan. And of course, the transcripts that are being made of each workshop will also be part of the record.


So, thank you for your comments to date and please keep them coming in the weeks ahead!

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Datamatrix and QR FCC Phones