- Act Now
- Open Internet
- Promoting Creativity
- Open & Accessible Technology
A Report Issued By:
- Public Knowledge
- Common Cause
- The Media and Democracy Coalition
- Reclaim the Media
March 23, 2009
The full report is available in PDF Format.
As a result of the passage and signing of the new stimulus legislation, there is now up to $350 million available to map the deployment of broadband services across the country. The data collected as a result of this effort will be one of the important factors in the national broadband strategy plan the law directed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to construct.
Across the country, states have already begun their own efforts to determine where broadband service is being offered and have already allocated millions of dollars to the effort. As a general matter, trying to figure out the lay of the land is a productive exercise. However, there is a great danger that the process of data collection and, as a result, the national broadband map and plan, will be harmed by an organization known as Connected Nation.
In order to be effective, a national broadband data-collection and mapping exercise should be conducted by a government agency, on behalf of the public, with as granular a degree of information as possible and be totally transparent so that underlying information can be evaluated.
Connected Nation is none of those and represents none of those characteristics. It is an organization sponsored by the telephone and cable companies and represents their interests in deciding what data to collect and how information should be displayed. They are quite up front about their company sponsorship and, in fact, believe it is an asset, if in a way counter to solid public policy.
It would be a setback for our broadband policy if Connected Nation were to take a prominent role in broadband mapping and data collection if it continues on its present policy course because the organization does not represent wise public policy and because it distorts its results. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) was correct in April, 2008, when he vetoed a $2.4 million appropriation for Connect Kentucky, which until then had received almost $7 million from the commonwealth. Beshear said that the program was being rejected for state financing because it had asked for funds "without specifically identifying any services to be rendered to the state or providing for any oversight, control or performance measures relative to the services being rendered."