FCC to encourage high-speed broadband expansion

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday set an ambitious target to deliver 100 megabit per second Internet connections to more than 100 million households.

The plan is part of the agency's comprehensive broadband report, due in full to Congress next month. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski outlined the proposal during a speech Tuesday morning, stressing such incredibly high-speed data lines were essential to small businesses and job growth.

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“Our plan will set goals for the U.S. to have the world’s largest market of very high-speed broadband users . . . to unleash American ingenuity and ensure that businesses, large and small, are created here, move here, and stay here,” Genachowski said, as first reported by The Washington Post.

Interestingly enough, Genachowski's broadband announcement this week follows another important industry development: Google's decision to enter the Internet service provider market.

The company unveiled last week a plan to create high-speed Internet "test beds" in select U.S. cities -- a move many initially interpreted as an attempt to compel the FCC to follow suit.

Nevertheless, Genachowski praised Google's latest Web foray, noting in his speech that its high-speed lines would drive growth. He later called on other Internet service providers to follow suit.

"We need others to drive competition to invent the future," he said.