Google Rallies Broadband Troops

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) wants you to tell the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) how to draw up plans for a national broadband network in the U.S.

Under the terms of the economic stimulus Recovery Act package, the FCC has to draft those plans by February 2010. The agency has asked for "maximum civic engagement" in the process.

Google aims to give 'em just that.

The search giant has used its official blog to call for submissions on the FCC plans. "We've teamed up with the New America Foundation to launch a Google Moderator page where you can submit and vote on ideas for what you think the Commission should include in its National Broadband Plan," writes Richard Whitt, Google's Washington Telecom and Media Counsel. "Two weeks from now we'll take the most popular and most innovative ideas and submit them to the official record at the FCC on your behalf."

The company is already pushing its own view of how broadband could be improved in the U.S. While stressing that there is "no silver bullet," the company is calling for:

  • Fiber deployment to every library, school, community health care center and public housing facility in the United States
  • Incentives for providers to install multiple lines of fiber as new networks are rolled out
  • Fewer usage restrictions on "white space" wireless spectrum, so operators can deploy mobile broadband more easily
Google has long been involved in trying to get more broadband available to people and in making it more open when it is deployed. In 2008, it bid in the U.S. 700 MHz spectrum auction in order to force a large chunk of the frequencies to be available for open access. (See Google Lauds 700 MHz as a Consumer 'Victory'.) And it's put time and money into wireless broadband. Google has a free WiFi mesh network in Mountain View, Calif., and it invested $500 million in mobile WiMax operator Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR). (See Clearwire Won't Use Google's Dark Fiber.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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