On the topic of good news for Internet radio, there’s the recent announcement that the Federal Communications Commission has begun a year long process to evaluate the country’s access to broadband and create a plan to bring the entire country up to speed – with broadband Internet service that is. The FCC has been ordered by Congress to complete the plan by February 2010, and as a first step, on April 8th the FCC began by asking for comments from the public. The year long project will consider technologies, competing services and ways of doing business, and define best ways to make sure broadband access is affordable and accessable to everyone.
Equally compelling about this announcement is the fact that the Obama administration has set aside over $7 billion to build high speed networks. According to the Washington Post, there is some debate about what constitutes “high speed” with the FCC’s current definition of high speed not high enough for some experts. Part of the year long process will be to consider that definition.
The concept of blanket broadband access throughout the country would obviously benefit Internet radio in terms of audience growth. 59% of American households have broadband now – nearly 68 million US Homes. But 2008 saw a marked slowing in the growth rate of broadband subscribers, signifying that penetration of areas with access could be reaching its max.
In addition to building out the network of broadband access, the FCC aims to study ways to make broadband access more affordable. All of this is good – the concentrated effort by the FCC to plan and oversee buildout of a comprehensive broadband infrastructure, and the dedicated investment of $7.2 billion dollars are yet another reason the future looks bright for Internet radio.