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FCC wants gigabit Ethernet in all 50 states by 2015

The FCC is calling upon the government and service providers to step up Internet connectivity nationwide within two years.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a challenge to bring gigabit Ethernet speeds to all US states within the next two to three years.

Specifically, the FCC wants to see gigabit Ethernet speeds deployed in at least one community in each state by 2015.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski issued the call, dubbed the "Gigabit City Challenge," on Friday, arguing that ultra-fast Internet connectivity will in turn help breed innovation and improve local economies.

He explained in prepared remarks:

American economic history teaches a clear lesson about infrastructure. If we build it, innovation will come. The US needs a critical mass of gigabit communities nationwide so that innovators can develop next-generation applications and services that will drive economic growth and global competitiveness.

For reference, 1 gigabit-per-second connectivity speeds are approximately a hundred times faster than the average current high-speed Internet connection.

It's easy to see how Internet connections like that matter more for high-definition multimedia--especially as consumers come to depend more on the cloud for accessing and streaming HD videos and music.

Nevertheless, it's also costly and will take awhile to implement--thus, therein lies the "challenge" part of this initiative.

The FCC cited research from the Fiber to the Home Council, noting that there are currently only 42 communities across 14 states being served by ultra-high-speed fiber Internet providers.

The governmental organization hasn't provided more details about how it plans to achieve this ambitions expansion plan within three years. But for now, the FCC is aiming to help speed up these deployments by collecting best practices based on these communities with the intentions of lowering the cost for ultra-high-speed broadband Internet nationwide.

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