Monday, June 09, 2008

Editor: Incomplete, inadequate telecom infrastructure requires state government to step into the gap

Broadband is essential as roads and like roads, it can't be left to the private sector alone, writes Charlotte Observer Associate Editor Mary C. Schulken.

Schulken cites a 2007 report by the North Carolina s
e-NC Authority showing in four counties -- Jones, Greene, Warren and Gates -- less than 50 percent of the households can obtain access to high speed Internet services, while in 21 more than 30 percent are mired in broadband black holes.

"Access to high-speed Internet is as basic today as being connected by a good road -- and offers the same public benefit," Schulken writes. "Yet the private sector will not pay to put it within reach of every household and every community in North Carolina. The state needs to step up and invest in connecting the last mile."

Too bad this is AT&T territory. Up north in Massachusetts, a Verizon spokesman says the company is deploying its FiOS fiber optic plant without regard to population density and particular in areas where the old cable plant needs replacement.

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