FCC seeks extension for national broadband plan

Jan 07, 2010 By JOELLE TESSLER , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is asking for a one-month extension on the national broadband plan the agency is required to submit to Congress.

The plan, mandated by last year's , is due to lawmakers by Feb. 17. It will lay out a policy road map for ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable service.

The agency is asking for an extra month to finish digging through the massive volume of public comments that it has received over the past 11 months as it has gathered input on how to make universal a reality. The team preparing the plan also wants more time to brief the FCC's five commissioners and members of Congress.

"The FCC has been given an enormous responsibility by Congress to create a broadband plan that reflects our highest aspirations as a country," said Colin Crowell, senior counselor to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

The request for an extension needs to be approved by the Senate and House Commerce Committees, which have jurisdiction over the FCC.

Robert McDowell, one of two Republicans on the five-member commission, said in a statement late Wednesday that he is "disappointed that the FCC's broadband team is unable to deliver a national broadband plan to Congress by the statutorily mandated deadline."

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