By Tony Romm - 03/17/10 03:17 PM EDT
The Senate Commerce Committee will scrutinize the Federal Communications Commission's National Broadband Plan next Tuesday, March 23, the committee announced today.
That review precedes a Thursday hearing on the FCC's report before the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, panel lawmakers announced earlier in the week.
The plan contains a host of ideas to bolster high-speed Internet access, improve the use and sale of available wireless spectrum and promote industry competition -- all with the ultimate goal of expanding broadband access to 90 percent of U.S. households by 2020, according to the agency.
Many of the FCC's recommendations require congressional action, but a handful of lawmakers have already signaled key support for broad swaths of the National Broadband Plan.
Among them is Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) -- the cheif author of the recovery act provision commissioning the report -- who called the plan "visionary" on Monday.
So too did Rep. Rick Boucher, chairman of the House Internet subcommittee; Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Boucher's counterpart in the Senate; and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, all signal general interest in the FCC's suggestions.
“During the last decade, we have watched as our nation risked becoming a broadband backwater. So I welcome the FCC’s National Broadband Plan," Rockefeller said in a statement Monday.
"I look forward to reading and reviewing its recommendations," he continued. "But above all, I look forward to the FCC moving ahead to make broadband a reality for everyone in this country, no matter who they are and no matter where they live.”