backtop


Print 100 comment(s) - last by Regs.. on May 17 at 4:29 PM

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.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Welcome to the Digital Desert
By xanthyr on 4/10/2009 2:13:56 PM , Rating: 2
Ouch. Think I found someone who's dial-up speeds are worse than mine.

I live 40 mins from the 4th largest city in the US. I live 6-7 miles from a decently sized city. What do I have for internet? 26.4Kbs dial-up connection.

Cable or DSL? Ha. Not available, at all. Wireless ISP? Can't get a decent signal, though I live around 4 miles from the closest tower. Cellphone internet? 5GBs a month for $60? If I go over the cap by accident, I'm paying for every byte. And that's if I can get a decent signal. Pass. Satellite? Too cost prohibitive because you have pay for the dish too. Not only that I'm not going with HughesNet with all I heard about them.

I doubt this talk with the FCC is going to go anywhere, but hey, better than nothing right now. Maybe we'll see something of it in...oh 2012?


"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer














botimage
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki