Monday, September 29, 2008

Pols pay lip service to vague "national broadband policy," support time wasting availabilty studies

In this election season, politicians are paying lip service to the idea of universal broadband access in the United States. The problem is just that: lip service in a support of a "national broadband policy" to spur broadband infrastructure rollout and studies to obtain "better data" on where broadband is and isn't.

Re the former, exactly would that policy be? They (and unfortunately too many advocates) are not saying. And in the unfortunate absence of specifics, they make it seem as if they would prefer the telco/cable duopoly be nationalized in order to speed broadband deployment. If that's what they're advocating, they ought to have the guts to say so directly instead of chanting repeatedly that the U.S. needs a "national broadband policy."

Re getting better data on broadband availability, that's a sucker's game that plays straight into the telco/cable duopoly's strategy of buying time to "study" the issue without having to spend a single dime on expanding their broadband infrastructure. Even if availability throughout the U.S. was extensively mapped down to the census tract level, we won't know much more than we already know right now: that the nation's telecommunications infrastructure is shot through with broadband black holes of all sizes, some massive encompassing entire communities and some as small as part of a single block. Politicians already know this, having heard from increasingly irate constituents tired of being forced to choose between obsolete dial up and substandard, costly satellite Internet service.

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