FCC wants more time to craft broadband plan

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has sent a letter to Congress asking for a four week extension to deliver its national broadband plan--meaning that the plan will be delivered a month late.

Genachowski said in a letter to Senator John Rockefeller that the agency needs more time to digest the information it has gathered from 50 public workshops, field hearings and a dozen public notices. Congress originally wanted the FCC to deliver the plan by February 17, but now they are asking to deliver the plan on March 17 instead.

In the letter Genachowski said that the extra time will enable it "to more fully brief commissioners and key members of Congress, to get additional input from stakeholders, and to fully digest the exhaustive record before the agency."

This delay contrasts FCC broadband policy advisor Blair Levin's claim that they would "meet or beat" the deadline for delivering the plan.

At the same time, FierceTelecom's sister publication FierceWireless pointed out that it was unclear whether the five-member FCC will vote on the plan before it goes to Congress. While expressing disappointment that the plan was delayed, Republican FCC commissioner Robert McDowell said in an interview with C-SPAN that the broadband plan would not be "self-executing" or "legally binding." Instead, the plan would facilitate individual policy changes within the FCC.  

"Once we receive a draft plan, I hope the document will reflect the benefit of the additional time being taken to prepare it," McDowell said in a statement. "I am disappointed that the FCC's broadband team is unable to deliver a national broadband plan to Congress by the statutorily mandated deadline."

For more:
- Broadcasting and Cable has this article
- see Genachowski's letter to Rockefeller here

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