Washington

Genachwoski: Broadband Plan Will Be Bold, Pro-Active

Chairman says FCC will address spectrum shortages and adoption problems 1/06/2010 01:45:56 PM Eastern

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says the FCC's upcoming
broadband plan will propose bold, proactive steps to close the so-called
digital divide.

The chairman voiced those sentiments in a letter to Henry
Rivera, chairman of the FCC's diversity committee. Although it was dated Jan.
5, the letter appeared to respond to concerns expressed by Sen. Kay Bailey
Hutchison (R-Tex.) in an op-ed Wednesday (Jan. 6).

 She had said the FCC's broadband plan had to be more
than a "plan for a plan," and that it must be "daring and
comprehensive."

In his
letter to Rivera
, Genachwoski cited pending spectrum shortages and adoption
problems, among others, that he pledge would be addressed. "I reiterate
that these gaps must be addressed boldly" he said. "In the National
Broadband Plan, the agency will identify the proactive steps the commission
will take..." He added that they were initial steps.

Among the highlights of the letter: the chairman said
he thought it best to have the director of the FCC's Office of Communications
Business Opportunities (OCBO) Thomas Reed, at present, "play the lead
role."  The diversity committee had
recommended that the commission designate one commissioner to oversee
implementation of its recommendations on spurring access to capital and funding
for minorities and women.

Reed may be somebody broadcasters will want to get better
acquainted with. Genachwoski said OCBO will be taking an expanded role in
promoting communications diversity.

He also agreed that the FCC should organize a forum where
communications companies and nonprofits can get together to share best
practices for retention and promotion, but did not directly address whether the
FCC should adjust its EEO rules so that more retention and promotion programs
qualified as EEO compliance.

Genachowski said the FCC continued to consider those
diversity committee recommendations and asked for permission to revise and
extend its remarks.

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