At Julius Genachowski’s first open meeting as FCC chairman, officials detailed the agency’s approach over the coming months to the national broadband plan that the FCC is required to present to Congress next February 17 under the auspices of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Although the FCC has already issued a rulemaking notice on the broadband plan for which reply comments are due on July 21, Blair Levin—a former FCC chief of staff who rejoined the agency last month to oversee the plan’s development—emphasized that the FCC would launch a “transparent, inclusive and participatory” public process, including a series of staff workshops in August and September. The workshops would be open to the public and would focus on various aspects of the broadband plan that include healthcare, e-government, education and job training. Comments on the workshops would be accepted through September 11, with field hearings to follow later in the fall. Noting that the FCC’s annual report to Congress on advanced communications services pursuant to Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act is due on February 3, Levin told the FCC’s commissioners that data gathered on the broadband plan would be incorporated into the Section 706 report and vice-versa as part of an omnibus initiative. Asserting that the plan’s compilation “will be data driven,” Genachowski told reporters that the FCC’s goal in developing the broadband plan “means not starting with conclusions, but using data to develop analysis” and “find concrete solutions that supersede ideology.”