Sunday, January 18, 2009

New Broadband Plan

Part of President Elect Obama's $825 billion dollar infrastructure plan is a $6 billion dollar national broadband plan for the U.S. Part of that money will be used to set standards as to what constitutes broadband, to create a map of what areas have high speed, and to set open access areas.

I love this idea. It is about time someone has stepped forward to make a move for our country as far as our technology is concerned. But, there is a problem with this.

As far as our country is concerned, we are far behind the rest of the world in our internet speed and availability. Corruption. Lobbyists. Failure to innovate until forced. As long as this old school of politics is in place, nothing will change.

The major providers currently list high speed internet as a point just slightly faster than dialup. Why? Because anything that would map out the true speeds would show that they 'cherry pick' areas to allow access, and don't truly offer services everywhere. And do you think they will allow a bill to pass that sets forth 'open access' areas that offer free service?

Let me give you an example. Internet phone service. When this technology started to take off, and people were leaving the older POTS line (Plain Old TRelephone Service), the phone companies complained. A competitor came up offering unlimited phone service for next to nothing, and they were losing users. So they lobbyed and got extra fees and taxes, and other restrictions added to the Internet phone service providers. Some areas purposly degraded the internet phone data. Then they began to offer internet phone service to win people back.

Another example is this... Look at the bigger cities. For years, high speed internet service has been available and at a variety of speeds. Now, compare that to a rural area. I know of some people just outside of town that can only get dialup access, because the local providers don't want to spend money to run lines there. And here's the kicker. With most providers dropping dialup access, they've been informed internet won't be available much longer. Welcome to the 21st century.

Anyway, back to my point. I love this new initiative for broadband. But, as long as you have people in washington who are bought out by lobbyists, news jouralists who don't seem to care about the corruption, and people who have no clue what the 'series of tubes' are, i'm afraid any plan to move our technology infrastructure forward isn't going to be much more than a 'tupperware' party that gives a great show.

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