President Obama Praises National Broadband Plan - Broadcasting & Cable

President Obama Praises National Broadband Plan

Says broadband plan will provide foundation for sustained prosperity
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FCC
Broadband Plan: Complete Coverage

The FCC's official
unveiling of its National Broadband Plan on
March 16 produced yet another blizzard of reaction from industry players
and politicians,
which joined a chorus of feedback to the plan's details that began to
trickle
out on Monday.

The latest wave was led by the broadband Booster-In-Chief.

"America today is on the verge of a broadband-driven
Internet era that will unleash innovation, create new jobs and
industries,
provide consumers with new powerful sources of information, enhance
American
safety and security, and connect communities in ways that strengthen our
democracy," said President Barack Obama in a statement. "Just as past
generations of Americans met the great infrastructure challenges of the
day, such
as building the Transcontinental railroad and the Interstate highways,
so too
must we harness the potential of the Internet. Expanding broadband
across the
nation will build a foundation of sustained economic growth and the
widely
shared prosperity we all seek.

"I commend Chairman Julius Genachowski, the
Commissioners, and the FCC staff for their hard work in developing the
National
Broadband Plan.

"My Administration will build upon our efforts over the
past year to make America's nationwide broadband infrastructure the
world's
most powerful platform for economic growth and prosperity, including
improving
access to mobile broadband, maximizing technology innovation, and
supporting a
nationwide, interoperable public safety wireless broadband network."

While the president praised the broad strokes, plenty of
commenters found specifics to salute.

The New America Foundation liked the sound of the plan's
proposal to find new spectrum for wireless broadband.

"We applaud the National Broadband Plan's emphasis on
opening up vast tracts of underutilized spectrum, not only for licensing
by
auction, but also for shared and unlicensed use," said Michael
Calabrese,
director of the foundation's Wireless Future Program. "The Plan sets a
very realistic goal of reallocating 500 MHz in additional spectrum
capacity
within 10 years for both licensed and unlicensed uses.

"It is notable that the Plan recommends the allocation of a
new contiguous band of unlicensed spectrum, as well as the rapid
implementation
of unlicensed access to the unused TV channels known as 'white spaces."

And Microsoft joined the list of spectrum reclamation fans.
"We commend the FCC on its push to find 500 MHz of wireless spectrum by
2020 for wireless broadband services, as well as its continued support
of
unlicensed spectrum and ‘white spaces,' which are increasingly vibrant
sectors
of the wireless marketplace," said Fred Humphries, Microsoft managing
director of U.S. Government Affairs.

Computer companies have been among the groups pushing the
FCC to open up the TV spectrum for other uses, and to reduce their
allocation
in favor of wireless broadband uses.

Praising the proposal of a trust fund for public media, not
surprisingly, were the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.

"We appreciate the work of the National Broadband
Taskforce in offering a comprehensive plan to ensure that every American
has
access to broadband capability," said CPB CEO Pat Harrison.

"In particular, we appreciate the Taskforce's
recognition of public media's important role in serving our democracy,
as well
as our role in America's
broadband future. We also appreciate the Taskforce's recognition that,
if
public media is to continue to fulfill our statutory responsibility to
provide
every American with free educational and cultural programming in the
digital
age, more funding will be necessary."

"As the plan recognizes, the continued development of a
robust digital public media ecosystem would be enhanced by the creation
of
sustainable funding sources dedicated to this important work," said PBS
in
a statement.

Fair use supporters Public Knowledge praised the
broadband plan's caveat on copyright protection. The plan says such
protection
"must not stifle innovation; overburden lawful uses of copyrighted
works; or
compromise consumers' privacy rights.'

That, says Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn, sounds like the
commission will balance the interests of copyright owners and fair uses
by the
public.

She said she hoped the commission would take the
same stand on network neutrality, which it is addressing in a separate
proceeding. 
"As laudable a goal is cracking down on theft may
be, that type of activity is not ‘reasonable network management' under
the Net
Neutrality proposed rule as Big Media companies and their supporters
would
like the Commission to believe."

But the heads of one of those 'Big Media'
companies, Warner Bros. Chairman & CEO Barry M. Meyer, read the
plan's
copyright language a little differently. "As the plan recognizes,
respect for
intellectual property online will foster the development of creative new
ways
for consumers to enjoy digitally distributed entertainment."

But not
everyone was singing the plan's praises. While
almost everyone supports broadband adoption and deployment, the
Competitive
Enterprise Institute saw a shower or two ahead for the broadband parade.

"The FCC deserves praise for acknowledging the
importance of competition among technologies as a key ingredient for
promoting
a national broadband policy," said VP for policy Wayne Crews. "At the
same time, unfortunately, the Commission's plan seeks new realms to rule
even
as the very need for regulation evaporates."

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