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Merry Christmas, Connected Nation

December 23, 2009 ,

After a couple of years of writing about Connected Nation, there's not much more to say. They do the bidding of the telephone and cable companies, presenting broadband deployment as those companies wish it to be presented. They hide behind non-disclosure agreements. They have so many caveats to their maps that the products are not useful for serious planning.

And our government just gave them $10 million, give or take. In announcing a batch of broadband mapping grants on Dec. 22, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) turned the shape of the broadband world over to the parties most interested in shaping the outcome. They turned it over to an organization that got its way through whispers in a governor's ear, through a high bid on a procurement, through requests for proposals written just for them.

The government has said it will supervise the mapping, (or someone will) to make sure they come out properly. Pardon the skepticism. The states won't do it. They are the ones which succumbed to the industry lobbying power.

The Federal government? NTIA folded its tents long ago when it allowed so much confidentiality in the first Notice of Funds Availability, and when it caved to industry demands in July about what data should be reported. If NTIA had any courage to stand up to the industry, it would have presumably exercised it by now.

So Merry Christmas, Connected Nation. Merry Christmas, AT&T. NTIA, your lump of coal is well deserved.