A new report prepared by an FCC task force pegs the total cost of universal broadband deployments in the U.S. between $20 billion and $350 billion if services provided 100 Mbps or faster. However, the plan would also create significant economic and social benefits that range from improved healthcare and education to enhanced public-safety programs.
The report was created to help the commission develop is Congressionally mandated national broadband plan and was prepared by using information gleaned from about 230 witnesses at some 26 hearings and workshops. The report also laid out the current state of broadband in the U.S.
"Actual broadband speeds lag advertised speeds by at least 50 percent and possibly more during the busy hours," the report said. "Peak usage hours, typically 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., create network congestion and speed degradation. About 1 percent of users drive 20 percent of traffic, while 20 percent of users drive up to 80 percent of traffic."
The task force also concluded that much more wireless spectrum would be needed, especially as smartphone sales make up the majority of wireless device sales by 2011. The task force said it is currently studying the country's long-term spectrum requirements.
The group highlighted the fact that broadband can bring some relief to some significant challenges in the U.S. by improving healthcare through telemedicine and electronic healthcare records and bringing efficiencies by ushering smart grids, smart homes and smart transportation.
- see InformationWeek
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