Feds Want Your Help With Broadband Policy
By Ryan Singel March 22, 2009 | 6:14:04 PM
There’s a bandwidth gap between the United States and the rest of the developed world that President Obama wants closed, and the feds are about to ask for help devising a plan to catch up to the Japans of the world.
Epicenter will make it easy for you to be heard.
The FCC announced Thursday that at its next open meeting, April 8, it will discuss a notice of inquiry (.pdf) ? essentially an open call for comment on what the government’s role, if any, should be in making the country richly wired and unwired. From there the FCC will draw out a broadband road-map report ? due to Congress in less than a year under the rules of the stimulus package.
From there, the money might really begin to flow.
The drive is part of Obama’s tech agenda, which calls for America to lead the world in internet access with “true broadband in every community in America [and] better use of the nation’s wireless spectrum.”
It’s a noble goal, but one that’s unlikely to happen without some change.
Broadband in Britain, Ireland, France, Japan and Korea is faster, cheaper and more popular than in the States. That’s due to complicated regulatory, geographic, historical and economic issues. Or, it’s because telecoms are greedy, it’s too risky to bet billions on fiber, or the government hasn’t funded needed infrastructure since the net went commercial in the early 1990s.
It depends on who you talk to.
One thing’s clear ? something is likely to change in how the feds fund, tax and subsidize IP-based communications. There’s already $8 billion or so set aside to fund rural broadband programs.
Here’s your chance to weigh in. Epicenter will bundle up the best and most popular ideas and submit them to the FCC once it opens its calls for comments. Submit and vote as much as you like, though you can only submit a new idea every 15 minutes.