14 January 2009

US Broadband Access

The United States isn't even in the top 20 for in-home broadband use, even though we are the second highest user of the internet behind China. Ten percent of Americans don't even have an option for broadband access. This is primarily in rural areas. It's been a long time since I had dial-up access, and I would be sad if this was my only option. This will hopefully be changed by the use of the white spaces opened up by the television frequencies that were auctioned off earlier this year.

Unfortunately, the FCC cancelled their recent meeting that was to be devoted to discussions about the wireless broadband movement in America. The reason it was cancelled: more planning was required for the digital television transition scheduled for February 17, 2009. (Good luck getting a converter box coupon here - they're almost out of money, and there's at least a 60 day waiting list)

University of Michigan Law Professor Susan Crawford likens broadband internet access to other utilities such as water or electricity as a necessary commodity for surviving and thriving in this world. Susan Crawford spoke at the Tech Policy Summit in Los Angeles and is advising the Obama/Biden transition team regarding the FCC.

What we need here: More broadband internet companies. It's hurting us to have so few options. The satellite dish options are fairly expensive, leaving just two options for most - their local cable and phone company. Other world countries have many more competitors, which increases the offerings and decreases the prices.

Bush administration opposes Free Broadband

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