Broadband in the U.S.: Mission Accomplished?

The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration will shortly release a report, Networked Nation: Broadband in America, that critics say presents too optimistic a picture of broadband access in the U.S. Read more about it at "Study: U.S. Broadband Goal Nearly Reached."

Meanwhile, EDUCAUSE has released A Blueprint for Big Broadband: An EDUCAUSE White Paper, which says that: "The United States is facing a crisis in broadband connectivity."

Here's an excerpt from the EDUCAUSE report's "Executive Summary":

While other nations are preparing for the future, the United States is not. Most developed nations are deploying "big broadband" networks (100 Mbps) that provide faster connections at cheaper prices than those available in the United States. Japan has already announced a national commitment to build fiber networks to every home and business, and countries that have smaller economies and more rural territory than the United States (e.g., Finland, Sweden, and Canada) have better broadband services available.

Why is the United States so far behind? The failure of the United States to keep pace is the direct result of our failure to adopt a national broadband policy. The United States has taken a deregulatory approach under the assumption that the market will build enough capacity to meet the demand. While these steps may have had some positive influence, they are not sufficient. . . .

For these reasons, this paper proposes the creation of a new federal Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) that, together with matching funds from the states and the private and/or public sector, should be used to build open, big broadband networks of at least 100 Mbps (scalable upwards to 1 Gbps) to every home and business by 2012. U.S. state governors and foreign heads of state have found the resources to subsidize broadband deployment; the U.S. federal government should as well.

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