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FCC plan calls for fast Internet access for all

WASHINGTON - Communications regulators are unveiling a sweeping proposal to overhaul U.S. broadband policy. Their aim: to bring affordable, high-speed Internet connections to all Americans and make access much faster for people who already have broadband.

Yet, it's not certain the Federal Communications Commission can find the funding, corporate support and legal clearance to carry out the entire vision of the plan.

Already, broadcasters oppose one key element of the proposal, which calls for reclaiming some airwaves now in the hands of TV stations and instead selling those frequencies to companies that deliver wireless Internet access. And the FCC hopes to modernize the federal program that subsidizes telephone service in poor and rural areas - something that Congress and federal regulators have been trying to do for years.

The FCC plan, mandated by last year's stimulus bill and being delivered to Congress Tuesday, reflects the Obama administration's position that high-speed Internet access is critical for economic development, education and health care.

The proposal sets a goal of giving 100 million U.S. households access to broadband connections of 100 megabits per second - at least 20 times faster than most home connections now - by 2020.

The plan also calls for every American community to have at least one anchor institution, such as a school, that has ultra-high-speed Internet access - at least 10 times faster than the 100 megabits per second envisioned for home connections. - AP

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