FCC Opens Debate on Broadband Policy

The Federal Communications Commission took its first step Wednesday into the national debate on how to blanket the country with high-speed Internet, a top priority for President Barack Obama.

The commission approved a broad set of questions designed to solicit opinions from consumers, telecom companies and state and local governments, to name a few. Everyone has something to lose or gain in the process, and the public comment docket will be lengthy with disparate opinions. The FCC must present its broadband plan to Congress by February of next year.

"If we do our jobs right, this will be the most formative and, I believe, transformative proceeding ever in this commission's history," said Acting Chairman Michael Copps during an FCC public hearing.

The FCC on Wednesday also approved a proposal to improve data collection about broadcasting entities owned by women and minorities

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