Public Knowledge Sees Benefits From Broadband Mapping ConditionsJuly 1, 2009
The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:
“The data to be collected from the broadband maps authorized under the stimulus legislation should provide a wealth of information for consumers and policymakers.
“Information will be collected on a far more detailed basis than many maps currently collect it. Under the mapping program, maps may have to include geographic areas in which broadband service is available and through which technologies, the speeds at which services are provided, while the national map will also be searchable by address, which should list the available services.
“We want to make certain, however, that the confidentiality requirements do not prevent this information from being disclosed in ways useful to the public.
“We are disappointed that for-profit mapping companies will not be allowed to apply directly for grants. It is unfortunate that there is nothing in guidelines preventing non-profit organizations with direct ties to telecommunications carriers from applying for grants. The grant evaluators will have to be on guard for the conflict of interest potential that will inevitably arise.”
Public Knowledge actively participated in creating the grant conditions, advocating for an open and transparent mapping process with strong conflict-of-interest requirements.