Capping a year-long fact-finding mission that encompassed 36 public workshops, nine field hearings and 31 public notices that, in turn, generated 75,000 pages of public comments, the FCC delivered its long-awaited National Broadband Plan (NBP) to Congress on Tuesday. Totaling 376 pages, the NBP was described by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski as “an action plan . . . to meet the challenges of global competitiveness” as well as a “21st century roadmap to spur economic growth and investment, create jobs, educate our children, protect our citizens, and engage in our democracy.” Noting that nearly 100 million Americans currently lack access to broadband and that “a looming shortage of wireless spectrum could impede U.S. innovation and leadership,” the NBP outlines key goals for correcting these shortfalls during the next decade and for boosting U.S. rankings in terms of digital literacy, productivity, competition, and innovation. Among these goals are (1) the connection of 100 million households to “affordable” broadband services of at least 100 Mbps, (2) deployment of affordable ultra-high speed broadband services of at least 1 Gbps to anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals and military installations, (3) freeing up an additional 500 MHz of spectrum for licensed and unlicensed wireless broadband services, (4) the transitioning of universal service fund support from “yesterday’s analog technologies to tomorrow’s digital infrastructure,” (5) promotion of competition through the removal of entry barriers, and (6) boosting broadband adoption rates from 65% to 90% of the U.S. population. In years to come, the FCC and Congress are expected to implement NBP recommendations through a host of proceedings that, among other things, would tackle universal service reform, intercarrier compensation, and potential reassignment of broadcast television spectrum to the wireless industry. Next week, the House and Senate Commerce committees will conduct hearings on the NBP that Genachowski is expected to attend. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) predicted that the NBP will “fuel the development of millions of new jobs here at home and competitiveness for our nation,” President Obama observed that the development and implementation of the NBP recalls the way in which “past generations of Americans met the great infrastructure challenges of the day, such as building the transcontinental railroad and the interstate highways.” In comments to reporters, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell emphasized: “today marks the beginning of a long process, not the end of one.”