Genachowski: better (cheaper?) broadband part of the FCC's plan

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the agency has "a plan" to improve a situation where today Americans pay more and get less from broadband by improving both the speed and lowering the cost of services via a National Broadband Plan. One way to do that, he said, is to use unlicensed spectrum which has created a "trillion dollar industry" for WiFi devices and service providers.

There have been numerous questions about where the FCC will find spectrum--unlicensed or not--for its scheme. It's been suggested that broadcasters would relinquish, or sell, about 200 MHz of spectrum but that's not something that industry is willing to do without a fight.

Genachowski, speaking at the All Things Digital conference, admitted that another part of the problem is just the way things happen in Washington. "Elements of our system are broken. I worry about that more and more," he said.

In other FCC news, the Commission, pressed by Congress to take its show on the road, said it will host a public forum on the Comcast-NBC Universal merger next month at a site expected to be Chicago. The Windy City was chosen not so much because it's appropriate for federal regulators to go to a site noted for the hot air of its political speakers, but more so because Comcast is a primary cable provider there and NBC has an owned-and-operated station. Of course there's no guarantee that all or any of the commissioners will climb on a jet to attend. Since it's a forum rather than a hearing, they don't have to be there.

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