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$350 Billion May Be Needed to Extend Broadband

On Tuesday, an FCC task force reported that an estimated $350 billion USD will be needed to expand broadband usage in the United States, requiring subsidies and an investment in wireless and land-based infrastructure upgrades. The FCC's full report, slated to hit Congress in mid-February, will dictate its overall plan to increase usage in rural and urban areas, according to The Washington Post.

The FCC said that most Americans do have Internet access at home, with one-third having access to broadband but are not subscribed; another 4-percent don't have access to the Internet whatsoever. The FCC also claimed that those consumers who are subscribed to broadband are receiving slower speeds than what ISPs are advertising, lagging almost 50 to 80-percent.

The FCC also points out that consumers are downloading more online videos on smartphones, putting a strain on wireless networks as they fight to meet consumer demand. The report says that AT&T, Verizon, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile are looking into scooping up more spectrum to support what the Washington Post called "sophisticated bandwidth hogging smartphones."

Unfortunately, the $7.2 billion set aside in President Barak Obama's economic stimulus package won't even scratch the surface of the massive upgrades needed for American Internet access. The FCC's "preliminary" estimate will range between $20 billion to $350 billion for both wireless and land-based access.

  • frozenlead
    They best not be moving toward free internet access. Somehow I know they are, though...
    The idea that the US even offers free TV is ludicrous. If you can't pay for it, you can't have it - don't expect everyone else to pay for it for you.
    Reply
  • superblahman123
    frozenleadThey best not be moving toward free internet access. Somehow I know they are, though...The idea that the US even offers free TV is ludicrous. If you can't pay for it, you can't have it - don't expect everyone else to pay for it for you.
    Ummm... TV isn't free, some major networks broadcast their LOCAL channels at no charge, but by no means is it even close to being comparable to cable television. You obviously don't live in the US and don't know much about it.

    The US deserves a huge internet overhaul, fiber optic technology is expanding and is doing nobody any good by staying a "theory to our problems." Some major internet carriers are expanding the use of fiber optic connections, especially Verizon with FiOS, but others like AT&T are slacking severely.
    Reply
  • doomtomb
    This should be a pretty big concern for everyone, most of us use the internet on a daily basis and depend on it for communications, some of us depend on it for porn >_> but really this is important. Lay the super fiber optic cables down, I don't care if those rural farm boys get internet or not, most choose not to but for the 96% that use the internet, we need more speed. The weakest bottle neck to any computer is the internet connection.
    Reply
  • warmon6
    doomtombThis should be a pretty big concern for everyone, most of us use the internet on a daily basis and depend on it for communications, some of us depend on it for porn >_> but really this is important. Lay the super fiber optic cables down, I don't care if those rural farm boys get internet or not, most choose not to but for the 96% that use the internet, we need more speed. The weakest bottle neck to any computer is the internet connection.Your right about that. Our network cards haven't reach full capacity and some of use has 5+ year old card that can use 100 mbps. 5 years later we only using (for the average high speed cable/dsl user) about 10% of that speed.
    Reply
  • Ciuy
    looool
    Reply
  • matt87_50
    frozenleadThey best not be moving toward free internet access. Somehow I know they are, though...The idea that the US even offers free TV is ludicrous. If you can't pay for it, you can't have it - don't expect everyone else to pay for it for you.

    what are you talking about? the closest thing to free tv is paid for by ads.

    as for free internet, internet is nothing like tv, the internet is the utility, its the infrastructure. the difference between other utilities is that you are not obviously consuming a resource that comes down the line (like water or gas) but it does take power to run the infrastructure that also needs to be maintained.

    I doubt it will ever be free, but I hope it gets away from the rip-off telco models with all their "deals" and "packages" to be more like other utilities, where you pay a flat connection fee, then by the gigabyte/time used.
    Reply
  • cryogenic
    Well,
    we clearly entered a new era where internet infrastructure costs are comparable to highway costs ? ^^

    Broadband is the latest building block of our society, and is here to stay.

    I wonder why don't they build networking utilities into new houses by default already.

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  • i say we should spend whatever is needed to bring our internet infrastructure up to speed no matter the cost
    Reply
  • frozenlead
    There have been many articles in the past few years where whispers of free government Wifi have been about. That's what I'm referring to. Sure, advertising plays a role in broadcast TV, but the government also sports funding for it, too. Companies have no other incentive to broadcast TV, else; they don't make any money off of plans for it.
    If companies like AT&T and Verizon need help upgrading their networks, that's a private matter - tax dollars should not be put to use here. If their cell networks are struggling, all that shows need for is new management. They should be able to predict network use increases.
    The internet is not government owned - the government should not be spending money on it.
    Reply
  • falchard
    Wow talk about good pay. $360 Billion equates to $100 per square yard to cover the entirety of ground in the US. Something tells me they aren't going to cover every spec of ground with optical cables.

    They really need a better central planner if you ask me.
    Reply