FCC Unveiling Sweeping National Broadband Plan

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The FCC wants to speed the Internet to millions of American families who don't currently have access. That's part of a plan the agency will present to Congress Tuesday. Some of the funds could come from an auction of public airwaves. And that could mean a fight with broadcasters currently using the spectrum for free.


And the Federal Communications Commission has a proposal it says will boost the economy. The FCC wants the government to spend billions of dollars on a nationwide network for emergency responders, and it wants to bring a faster, cheaper Internet connection to the 100 million Americans who don't have one. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says the government could pay for all this by auctioning off public airwaves long-used by broadcasters for new wireless broadband services.

Mr. JULIUS GENACHOWSKI (Chairman, Federal Communications Commission): This plan is revenue-positive for the American people. When you look at the spectrum that will recover and the auctions that that will generate, even before you start counting revenue from increased investment and job creation, the plan is revenue-positive.

MONTAGNE: That is the FCC chairman's proposal, but it faces some opposition from television broadcasters who use some of those public airwaves now for free. The FCC sends the plan to Congress today.

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MONTAGNE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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