FCC to Miss Feb. National Broadband Plan Deadline

The FCC says it will miss the Feb. 17 deadline for delivering a national broadband plan to Congress, and the news shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s not to imply the agency hasn’t been working to meet the date, because it has – with extra help from consultants and economists funded by the economic stimulus act. But consider the magnitude of what the FCC is tackling: The overhaul of the $7 billion Universal Service Fund to include broadband, and the reallocation of wireless spectrum, are just two examples.

With all that to organize in a few months, it’s little wonder the FCC needs more time. To that point, officials asked lawmakers on Wednesday for a one-month extension. And really, what can Congress do other than approve the request?

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s broadband plan team intends to use the additional four weeks to get more feedback from “stakeholders,” Genachowski’s senior counselor told the Wall Street Journal, and to “fully digest the exhaustive record” before the agency.

Once that happens, it’s unclear whether the five FCC commissioners will vote on the broadband plan or just send it to Congress.

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