BentonThe Benton Foundation today notes a number of recent critiques of USA national broadband policy, or the lack of it.


[SOURCE: InfoWorld, AUTHOR: Matt Hamblen, Computerworld]

The Center for American Progress, a progressive Washington think tank, blasted the Federal Communications Commission and the Bush administration for failing to invest in and develop a robust broadband network in the U.S. that can support consumers as well as first responders and anti-terrorist teams. “The policy of relying on market forces that the Bush administration claimed for seven years would propel broad access is irresponsible and insufficient,” said CPA Senior Fellow Mark Lloyd. “The result of administration neglect, industry intransigence and the incompetence of the Federal Communications Commission … has left the American people and most policymakers with no clear idea where broad services are deployed in the US,” he added. He urged policymakers, including the presidential candidates, to find government funds to support the building of a 10Gbps, redundant and ubiquitous broadband network. Lloyd said all branches of government need to work with service providers in a “necessary and forced partnership” to bring about a broadband network.

* Haywire FCC Spectrum Auction: U.S. Needs National Broadband Strategy

[Commentary] The goal of federal investment in broadband should be first and foremost to ensure our ability to respond to threats to our homeland security and to natural disasters. Directly connected to this goal is the availability of advanced telecommunications services in our health care and educational systems—the modernization of which is key to our nation’s ability to respond to threats to our national security and public safety immediately and over the coming decades…. In meeting these goals, federal investment should make certain that the U.S. communications infrastructure is continually upgraded, robust, redundant, and able to withstand multiple threats and uses. The public should not be left to rely on any one technology, but rather on multiple technologies—each able to operate with the other, and each able to serve important needs if the other technologies are destroyed or compromised. Market forces will not guarantee this result.

* Ubiquity Requires Redundancy

DISCLOSURE: Mr Lloyd served as general counsel to the Benton Foundation.

[SOURCE: Broadband Hub, AUTHOR: Laura Spining]

[Commentary] During the release of his new report, Framing a National Broadband Policy, Dr. Rob Atkinson offered three points on universal broadband deployment: 1. Identifying the gaps — he mentioned a number of existing programs that hold great promise including ConnectKentucky, and a dynamic online mapping program. 2. Funding Deployment — He addresses the need for focusing the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service loan and grant programs to those markets where broadband has not yet been deployed. He also suggested tax incentives to promote rural build out. 3. Closing the Digital Literacy Gap — He pointed to some of the applications that have been developed by Microsoft, One Economy and E- North Carolina that have been successful in educating folks on how to use broadband technology and many of its applications. Others at the event noted political complexities of the issues.

* Framing a National Broadband Policy (ITIF)

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