Quick Study

By Brian Robinson

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Feds will play a big part in broadband push

The Federal Communications Commission is slated to publish its big plan for faster broadband adoption throughout the U.S. in about three weeks, but that won’t be the only federal government involvement.

For example, the FCC is expected to propose that federal buildings be used as “anchor institutions” for unserved and underserved communities. The concept is still a bit hazy, but some suggestions have the FCC acting as a kind of local ISP seed in rural and urban areas that find it tough to get broadband service.

That's a novel idea. Government buildings are assured of broadband service, and they will act as a service node in the greater broadband network. But how will the General Services Administration react to this? And what will the ISPs think about the federal government essentially becoming a competitor to them?

However, if the ISPs really cared, I guess they would already have found some way to provide true broadband service to those areas.

Other fed-centered suggestions to come out of the FCC could include better coordination of broadband grants, the release of more government information online, something that will enable people-centric online services, and a government effort to encourage more use of social media.

All neat stuff, and if it ever comes to anything, it would be potentially game-changing in many areas. As they say, the devil will be in the details. Stay tuned.

Posted by Brian Robinson on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:27 PM


Reader Comments

Thu, Feb 25, 2010 RayW

Sounds like a good idea on the surface, but who will be doing the infrastructure? In Utah we tried to get a community (counties and cities) broadband system built to get around the big companies dragging their feet and those companies bought some votes at the state level that passed laws that essentially have killed the project (UTOPIA). If the government furnishes the hubs, do the ignored local communities get to do the infrastructure and reap the benefits or do the laws get passed saying that the verizon's, qwest's, comcast's, and other big profit companies are the only ones allowed to do it or get the most profitable parts reserved for them? The FCC currently has a reputation for ignoring physical facts and siding with certain big companies, so I do not have much hope that a useful, cost friendly system will get built (cost friendly depends on if you expect profits to get you a new car/boat/house evey month or if you have money left over from paying the internet bill to pay the food bill).

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