) -- The Federal Communications Commission Thursday said it will tackle defining what constitutes broadband, which could impact how Internet providers deliver service to users.
In a notice released Thursday, the FCC said it is seeking public comment to help the agency determine exactly what broadband is as part of a national broadband plan included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed earlier this year.
The FCC said it is required to create a national broadband plan by Feb. 17, 2010, "that seeks to ensure that every American has access to broadband capability and establishes clear benchmarks for meeting that goal." The comment deadline is Aug. 31, with replies due Sept. 8, the FCC said.
While it may be a silly notion that the government is seeking to define what broadband is, the FCC says it must decide on the form that a definition of broadband should take, whether different performance indicators or definitions should be developed based on technological or other distinctions, such as mobility or the provision of the service over a wired or wireless network, and whether a minimum threshold should be established.
The FCC is also looking to tackle related issues such as mobility, reliability, and latency, which could impact broadband providers in the future.
In addition to defining the term broadband, the FCC also said it must decide how often to update the definition, as the Internet and broadband networks have been characterized by rapid evolution and change from one year to the next.
"While a static set of objectively measured thresholds may be useful to compare over time, a static definition will fail to address changing needs and habits," the FCC said.
The FCC also said it will hold an open meeting on Aug. 27 to discuss competition in the wireless industry and how to "encourage further innovation and investment," which is part of a broader review of U.S. wireless carriers.
The meeting's agenda release comes after FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said that the agency plans to examine exclusive handset deals, such as