Entries Matching: National Broadband Plan
If you are interested in learning more about the debate over the FCC's authority to protect broadband Internet users, you might want to check out this Federalist Society debate from March 3 featuring me and the very talented Helgi Walker, who argued the Comcast case. You will hear some of the myths I discussed in my previous post.
It's amazing how many people seem shocked that I would participate in a Federalist Society event not once, but twice over the past 5 months. But I would do it again and again. The intellectual debates are honest and substantive, not personal, and more than one Fed-Soc member has come up to me after speaking to say that I made them rethink their assumptions.
On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will unveil its National Broadband Plan, which the agency describes as "a roadmap to connect all Americans to affordable, high-speed internet". Public Knowledge and other stakeholders will have plenty of questions and recommendations for the FCC once the Plan is unveiled and the agency will be tasked with accommodating these comments. Additionally, the FCC is seeking input from the general public via their Broadband.gov portal. As part of this ongoing public outreach initiative, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will participate in a YouTube interview on Tuesday, where he will be asked questions submitted by members of the general public about broadband and the National Broadband Plan. Head over to CitizenTube to submit your questions (text or video) and vote on the submissions made by others.
Google's announcement that it's going to create one gigabit-per-second networks in a few selected communities looks like what the broadband stimulus program should have been – an attempt to jump start technology, to invest in new ideas and to determine how people will use advanced networks given the chance to use them.
There is no downside to the Google announcement, except perhaps from the point of view of the Federal government, which gave in to the lowest-common-denominator philosophy when structuring the stimulus program, and from the point of view of the incumbent telephone and cable carriers.
Ya know, if my state got a grant for $24.5 million to build out broadband networks in underserved areas, I would jump for joy. But I'm not in the Maine legislature, so what do I know?
Last month, NTIA gave Great Works internet in Maine $24.5 million toward a fiber optic network. The grant is a classic public/private partnership for a middle mile project that includes, among others the University of Maine.
Fairpoint, Maine's primary rural LEC, has objected to this "undue competition with the private sector." This would be funny, given how Fairpoint has become the poster child for the failure of the private sector to deliver on its big promises to rural communities. But Fairpoint's talking points have ended up in legislation filed by Maine State Senator Lisa Marrache (D-Waterville) and Maine State Rep.
The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and
co-founder of Public Knowledge:
“We commend Chairman Rick Boucher in his call for the Federal
Communications Commission to set ambitious broadband goals. Universal
availability at sufficiently high speeds are achievements to which the
Commission’s broadband plan should aim. We hope the Commission
heeds Chairman Boucher’s advice and thinks in bigger and broader
terms as it works through the final stages of its broadband plan.
“At the same time, we were pleased to see the announcement of the
first set of broadband stimulus grants. These are the types of projects
that will help the Commission achieve the goals that Chairman Boucher
suggested. The first wave of grants will help Internet connectivity in
rural areas. We look forward to projects that will aid urban areas as