Senate Commerce Committee to take up broadband plan next Tues.

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 FCC officially delivered its broadband plan to Congress on Tuesday, as ordered by a provision in the 2009 federal stimulus.

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.”