The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski has asked congressional leaders for more time to deliver the much anticipated National Broadband Plan, now due Feb. 17. According to Government Computer News (GCN), Genachowski said that,"this extension will not affect the FCC's budget for the National Broadband Plan, which was mandated as part of the National Recovery Act, and asked that it be accepted March 17."
This entire process, which was kicked off last April, has taken much longer than orginally anticipated. The plan is an important driver for the nation's economic recovery. State and local governments have been very engaged in this broadband planning process, and many state planners are waiting eagerly for the final plan which will provide more guidance. Here's another excerpt from the GCN article:
"The goals are to ensure access to broadband capability for all Americans, provide a detailed strategy for affordability and adoption of broadband and to maximize utilization of broadband and craft a strategy for using broadband to achieve national purposes. Under the plan, grants will be provided by the Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Service and the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration."
The commission invited broad public participation in developing the plan, and this summer launched a blog called Blogband , to chronicle development of the plan and invite comment. It also launched a Twitter channel to report progress on the National Broadband Plan."
State and local governments have been eagerly waiting to find out who will receive grants in their state. State-specific plans will depend upon national decisions.
Meanwhile, in a related development, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that they are examining cloud computing's privacy and security implications for consumers. The FTC wants its findings to be considered as the FCC formulates the National Broadband Plan.
Information Week ran a story on this topic, and here is an interesting quote:
"[T]he ability of cloud computing services to collect and centrally store increasing amounts of consumer data, combined with the ease with which such centrally stored data may be shared with others, create a risk that larger amounts of data may be used by entities in ways not originally intended or understood by consumers," wrote FTC attorney David C. Vladeck in a letter to FCC Secretary Marlene H. Dortch.
One interesting note: the timing of the upcoming FTC roundtable discussions on the implications of cloud security and privacy, the last of which is scheduled for March 17, does not work with the February release schedule for the National Broadband Plan. So what does this mean?
I agree with Thomas Claburn of Information Week that, "The letter appears to be a reminder to the FCC, as it comes up with a broadband framework for the U.S., to save a place at the table for the FTC."
What are your thoughts on the National Broadband Plan and/or your views on how the plan relates to cloud computing?