Blog Flux Directory Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe with Bloglines Blog directory
And, yes, I DO take it personally: Follow-up to the FCC's "Broadband Plan"
Mandy: Great blog!
Mark: Thanks to all the contributors on this blog. When I want to get information on the events that really matter, I come here.
Penny: I'm glad I found your blog (from a comment on Think Progress), it's comprehensive and very insightful.
Eric: Nice site....I enjoyed it and will be back.
nora kelly: I enjoy your site. Keep it up! I particularly like your insights on Latin America.
Alison: Loquacious as ever with a touch of elegance -- & right on target as usual!
"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
Send tips and other comments to: /* ---- overrides for post page ---- */ .post { padding: 0; border: none; }

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Follow-up to the FCC's "Broadband Plan"

i posted the other day on the fcc's proposed plan to increase broadband internet access in the u.s... bruce kushnick, writing in nieman watchdog, has a few strong opinions...
The new national broadband policy is tailored to reward telcom behemoths AT&T and Verizon, the very same corporate interests that got us into this mess in the first place. Meanwhile, the hard questions that need to be asked are being ignored.

How badly off are we right now? Well, while you sit on the web reading this, the current average US broadband speed, according to, is 5mbps down and 1mbps upload. That’s 1/20th the download speed you can get in, say, Hong Kong, or Japan or France, and 1/100th the upload speed. Today in Hong Kong 100mbps in both directions costs about $20 -- cheaper than US broadband by leaps and bounds.

AT&T and Verizon claim there’s plenty of competition, but you can’t select your own Internet provider over the broadband networks and local phone prices have gone up -- 90% in New York and New Jersey, for example -- over the last 5 years. If there was competition, prices couldn’t increase like that. The absence of competition has also raised Net Neutrality issues, as a provider’s ability to block or degrade or favor its own service over others wouldn’t be a problem if you could simply leave and go somewhere else.

But the real kicker is this: By 2010, America should already have been rewired. Taxpayers have spent about $320 billion for fiber-based networks since the 1990s but have nothing to show for it. In fact, in many states, all schools, libraries and hospitals should have been rewired with fiber optic service as part of changes to state laws that gave AT&T and Verizon billions per state to remove the old copper wiring with new fiber optic wiring. Worse, the money is still being collected today in the form of rate increases, tax breaks and other perks the companies got.

So what now? The FCC’s plan is to increase your taxes yet again, by adding broadband to the Universal Service Fund Tax -- rewarding the same companies that harmed you by giving them more of your money and a free pass.

And to make sure that America has broadband, the FCC proposes to have the deployment by 2020. As FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski put it last month: “A ‘100 Squared’ initiative -- 100 million households at 100 megabits per second -- to unleash American ingenuity and ensure that businesses, large and small, are created here, move here, and stay here.” So what is already being offered in many other countries -- very high speed broadband -- should reach America in a decade, leaving us farther behind. This means fewer jobs and more expensive broadband and it harms our economy as many of the newest applications will be developed in other countries.

i find it stunning that the u.s. is so far behind so many other countries in internet access, upload and download speeds... there's no reason for it, unless of course you consider the providers' insatiable greed, in which case it all makes perfect sense...

Labels: , , , , , ,

Submit To Propeller

And, yes, I DO take it personally home page