FCC calls for gigabit broadband in every US state

Posted by Emma Woollacott

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is calling for all 50 states to create at least one 'gigabit community' by 2015.

The move would lead to new businesses and industries, better connectivity between citizens and services and more investment in high-tech industries, he says.

"American economic history teaches a clear lesson about infrastructure. If we build it, innovation will come," says Genachowski.

"The US needs a critical mass of gigabit communities nationwide so that innovators can develop next-generation applications and services that will drive economic growth and global competitiveness."

To help make this happen, Genachowski's announced plans for
a new online clearing-house of best practices, with information about how to lower costs and increase the speed of broadband deployment nationwides. He's proposed working jointly with the US Conference of Mayors on this.

He's also promising workshops on gigabit communities with broadband providers and state and municipal leaders, to evaluate barriers, increase incentives, and lower the costs of speeding up gigabit network deployment.

At the moment, there are only about 42 communities in 14 states served by ultra-high-speed fiber internet, according to the Fiber to the Home Council.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, a local utility has deployed a fiber network to 170,000 homes - which, says Genachowski, has attracted Volkswagen and Amazon to the city, where they've created more than 3,700 new jobs. And the Gig.U initiative has already brought in $200 million in private investment to build ultra-high-speed hubs at many leading research universities.

Genachowski's announcement has been welcomed by San Francisco Mayor  Edwin M. Lee.

"I applaud FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s announcement today at the US Conference of Mayors," he says.

"Expanding high-speed, broadband internet is a goal that directly supports San Francisco’s economic development strategy. The innovation economy of the 21st century that thrives in our city depends on creating a connected country, and the FCC’s efforts will help provide needed technological advancement that will create jobs and benefit the residents of San Francisco."