Wednesday, February 7, 2007

John Dingle on National Broadband Strategy

entitled affordable broadband for everyone. He writes:
there is significant concern that our ranking, by whatever measure, in the global information economy is less than it should be. While the overall number of United States households adopting broadband is growing, our relative position in the world is worsening. Consumers in other countries enjoy broadband connections that are faster, cheaper and offered by more providers.
Apropos to my previous post

we must examine whether the current measure of broadband speed in this country is adequate. In 1996, Congress directed the Federal Communications Commission to encourage the timely deployment to all Americans of capability enabling users “to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications.” Curiously, the FCC continues to rely on the high-speed definition it set in 1999 as just 200 kilobits per second (kbps) in only one direction.

There is universal agreement that this is insufficient for cutting edge applications such as streaming video (1 mbps), medical monitoring (2.5 mbps) or videoconferencing (6 mbps). One need only ask any child playing educational games online whether our current broadband standard is too slow.

Next, we must consider how effectively we measure the level of broadband penetration in this country. Frankly, the FCC’s current zip-code method of measuring broadband is neither useful nor accurate. A realistic assessment that maps actual deployment and adoption will better enable policymakers to identify gaps in availability, price, and speed.

His solutions:

Encourage infrastructure investment: Telephone and cable companies are actively upgrading their existing infrastructure, but even services like DSL have limits presented by old legacy networks.

Promote competition: We should promote deployment and demand at the local level by any entity using any technology, including municipalities.

Manage spectrum wisely: Greater spectrum demands require us to continue to find ways to increase access and efficiency while protecting existing licensees.

Modernize universal service: We must carefully probe the stewardship of the nation’s universal service policies and consider supporting broadband service, especially in rural areas.

Foster innovation: The power of the Internet as an entrepreneurial medium for individuals and businesses, however small, must be preserved. Consumers should continue to go where they want, when they want, over the high-speed connections of their choice.

Protect consumers: Above all, we must remember that communications networks run over public resources such as spectrum or a community’s local rights of way. Our policies should demand that service providers adhere to appropriate social responsibilities that serve the common good such as public safety, law enforcement, privacy, and universal access.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

No comments: