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Sen. Markey Presses for Updated National Broadband Plan

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has unveiled the National Broadband Plan for the Future Act, which would direct the FCC to update its 2009 National Broadband Plan with an eye toward how the coronavirus pandemic has, and will, affect that plan. 

As Markey pointed out in introducing the bill this week, he was instrumental in the creation of the initial plan via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 

The new bill would require the updated plan to assess the progress made in the last decade, come up with "detailed proposals" for increased internet access, and gauge how the virus and its impact on how Americans "live, work and learn online" will reshape the country. 

Markey said the plan had laid out a vision of connecting all Americans, but the virus had shown that vision has yet to become a reality. 

"Now more than ever, we see how necessary robust and affordable broadband is to the future of education, employment, medical care, and commerce in America," said Markey. "We need to update the National Broadband Plan so we can continue to invest in our nation’s future by bringing the power and promise of broadband to us all.” 

“An update of the 2010 National Broadband Plan is long overdue, and with the COVID Crisis demonstrating the importance of abundant, affordable broadband to economic resiliency and social progress, such an update is also essential,” said Blair Levin, senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and the architect of the plan under then FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.