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FCC lays the ground work to dig the U.S. out of the broadband backwater

The U.S. is one of the most advanced and wealthy countries in the world, yet when it comes to broadband access in more rural areas of the country we lag well behind other nations. Citizens in the UK have access to better broadband speeds, as do other countries.

Here in America we are stuck with peak speeds for broadband in many areas that are but a fraction of the lowest speeds seen in other countries. This week the Australian government announced a sweeping plan that would see the investment of billions in government funds to build a nationwide fiber optic broadband network serving 90% of the homes in the country.

Wired reports that the U.S. government is now in talks to develop a national broadband plan. The FCC has been betting on the vacated analog wireless spectrum currently used by TV broadcast to deliver broadband to most homes in the country. The big issue with that plan is that the major winners, AT&T and Verizon, are notorious for strapping such low bandwidth caps on their offerings as to make them unusable to many.

Wired reports that the FCC has a year to survey the nation's internet infrastructure and recommend a plan either to start building a nationwide network or to leave things as they are. President Obama has a nationwide network in mind, as evidenced by the $7.2 billion that was allocated to extend broadband to underserved rural areas.

As often happens in the U.S. government, rather than action and progress the funds have been stuck in a debate over what “underserved and rural” actually defines. The AFP reports that the FCC is seeking input from industry, business, non-profits, and governments federal, state, and local. The different entities have until February 17, 2010 to report to Congress.

Among the aspects the plan is said to be considering are broadband supply and demand; quality and affordability; and problems, threats, or vulnerabilities to the proposed network. Also being examined is how broadband will affect civic participation, public safety, homeland security, community developments, health care delivery, energy independence, and education.

FCC Chairman Michael Copps said, "Today, we commence a national dialogue on how we as a nation can make high-speed broadband available, affordable and easily useable to citizens and businesses throughout the land. This Commission has never, I believe, received a more serious charge than the one to spearhead development of a national broadband plan."

The AFP reports that America trails Japan, Sweden, South Korea, France, Germany, and Canada in broadband quality and subscription rates per capita. One of the key elements under discussion is the speed of the network. Median speeds for broadband access in the U.S. are under 5 Mbps whereas median speeds in Japan are 63 Mbps and in South Korea it's 49 Mbps.

The FCC defines broadband today as connections offering at least 786 Kbps. However, groups such as the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) are seeking speeds on the network of between 10 Mbps and 50 Mbps.

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By tspinning on 4/9/2009 12:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
As the USPS struggles to keep its head above water with traditional package delivery, why not step up and become the plumbers and backbone of a national broadband service.

One caveat- bits are bits, and IP routes around censorship so treat it as such and leave the moral bureaucratic bullsh*t at home and teach your children why it's poor moral choice to visit skinhead, hate, vulgar sites, don't legislate my choice to educate myself and others about the dregs of society through proof.

This is a chance for what is one of the most publicly trusted government organizations to step into the 21 century, and because they are a federal vehicle they will be unable to rule out sects of the country for "not enough profit" to roll out broadband.

This could also force the sorely needed innovation that our current service providers refuse to give us on grounds of wanting to become sole content providers to the masses for data that they own and we forever rent.

Note that the radio era is dead (one powerful broadcaster to many listeners) and now ANYONE can broadcast to EVERYONE!! We need to embrace this digital age and move forward, not legislate companies into locked profit schemes of an outdated analog world!


By AEvangel on 4/9/2009 12:59:04 PM , Rating: 2
Actually that is not a bad idea as someone that lives in BFE, almost every town has a local post office and since the postal facility are going to be more under used as time progresses why not turn the back of them into server rooms and let the USPS run the nations backbone for low cost national internet.

I know it would never work, but it's better then anything else there tossing out there.

By MadMan007 on 4/9/2009 2:04:05 PM , Rating: 4
Well good, no one is making you listen to a certina person, or watch a certain video and so on. That was his point, in juxtaposition to broadcast radio consolidation.

By tspinning on 4/9/2009 2:12:25 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed it was!

We need (like church and state hahahaha) separation between content providers and network service providers, otherwise they will force us (by location, something we have little choice over do to family, money, or personal interests) to submit to not only their delivery mechanism, but their content too, in a world where digital content no longer has any bars and can reach all without depriving one this is not right.

I bring my man Thomas Jefferson to the table with his powerful words on ideas and ask you to look at something that is digital in the same manor:

"If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me."

Feel free to read more on this topic at, anywhere, but I cut and pasted from:

By Oregonian2 on 4/10/2009 3:38:21 PM , Rating: 2
I think you guys missed my point.

My point was commercial content producers who spend all day every day producing content as their way of life vs. the content one gets typically in a "from everybody to the everybody" amateur producer scenario.

Now you personally may create nothing but world-class content for others to consume, but my point is that the vast vast vast majority of amateur content producers produce junk. To me this is a nobrainer when even some professionals produce junk. But you're entitled to your opinion, I just stated mine.

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs

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