Today, the three agencies responsible for allocating the $7.2 billion in stimulus funds for broadband met in Washington, D.C. The bottom line appeared to be a lot of hot air, including FCC promises of an open process to deliver a national broadband strategy within one year, and a lot of unanswered questions, such as how to define certain terms in the legislation. But, of course, these things take time. For now, I can hope that an open process helps offset the influence that carriers have traditionally had in the legislative process.
For those seeking to offer an informed opinion on the nation’s broadband strategy, I suggest you check out Saul Hansell’s three-part series on lessons from other countries, started today over at the New York Times. This first piece looks at why the U.S. has slower broadband speeds than countries such as Japan and Korea. I have disagreed with him in the past, but he accurately lays out how the U.S.’s low population density plays a huge role in limiting our current broadband speeds. While I think slow broadband is a bigger problem than he admits, I can hope that in future articles he’ll talk about how policies and a lack of competition also affect those speeds. We welcome the conversation.