Posts Tagged ‘National Broadband Plan’
President Barack Obama has announced nearly $800 million in loans and grants for the build-out of broadband networks to reach homes, schools and hospitals.
The grants and loans, which will be matched by another $200 million in private investment, is part of Obama’s roughly $800 billion federal stimulus package, which includes $7.2 billion for broadband expansion projects. Obama said the 66 new infrastructure projects will directly create 5,000 jobs and help spur economic development in some of the nation’s hardest-hit communities…
The departments of Agriculture and Commerce are administering a total of $7.2 billion in grants and loans for projects in 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Increasing broadband access to rural and low-income families and small businesses is a major part of the National Broadband Plan issued by the Federal Communications Commission earlier this year…
The projects Obama announced will include laying communications lines to homes, hospitals and schools and expanding computer facilities in libraries, community colleges and other public areas…
“Broadband can remove geographic barriers between patients and their doctors,’ Obama said. “It can connect our kids to the digital skills and 21st century education required for the jobs of the future.”
I’ve had some reasonably humorous discussions with county officials in my neck of the prairie. They’re pretty much headed in the right direction at trying to fill in the broadband gaps in a county that is 2,000 square miles – with about 100,000 people outside the limits of the one for-real city in the county.
That city being Santa Fe. You know. The city where the Council is worried about the 30 people who have complained that wifi and cellphones – in their neighborhoods – is eating their brains. A truly chickenshit New Age political question.
Anyway, the two biggest problems the county has are  filling out all the bloody federal paperwork and  trying to keep our own solutions separate from whatever the city wants to do. Or not do.
The Federal Communications Commission wants to find out whether broadband providers are delivering Internet connections that are as fast as advertised.
The FCC is seeking 10,000 volunteers to take part in a study of residential broadband speeds. Specialized equipment will be installed in homes across the country to measure Internet connections. Those results will then be compared with advertised speeds. The agency hopes to get a cross section of volunteers who subscribe to broadband services provided by a range of phone and cable TV companies.
The new project grows out of several proposals outlined in the FCC’s national broadband plan, released in March. The plan calls for the government to collect, analyze and publish detailed information, market by market, on broadband pricing and competition. The plan also recommends that the government require broadband providers to disclose information about pricing and performance.
“The big issue here is knowing what you are paying for,” said Joel Gurin, who heads the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.
According to data cited in the national broadband plan, average residential download speeds are typically only half as fast as the maximum speeds advertised by U.S. broadband providers.
Meanwhile, survey results released by the FCC on Tuesday found that while 91 percent of broadband users say they are at least somewhat satisfied with their home connection speeds, 80 percent of broadband users do not know how fast their home connections are.
The agency already offers several online tools to let consumers get a more basic reading of their home broadband speeds…
It’s funny. I’ve noticed several bloggers make a big deal over the fact that most broadband subscribers don’t know their connection speeds. Why should they? They’re buying into a commodity service – which is how the FCC is trying to regulate it.
How many of you – other than strungout geeks – know what frequency their local TV stations broadcast on? And who cares?
A federal appeals court all but told the FCC Tuesday that it has no power to regulate the internet, putting large chunks of the much-lauded national broadband plan at risk. And the FCC has only itself to blame.
Telecoms and many internet activists have long argued that the internet is a developing technology that was innovating so quickly that strict regulations would hamper it. In 2005, that argument drove the FCC under the Bush Administration to win a fight in the Supreme Court for the right to deregulate broadband providers, classifying them as an “information service,” largely outside the FCC’s power, rather than a “telecommunications service” that could be regulated like the phone system.
Following that win, the FCC simply issued a set of four principles of net freedom that it said it expected broadband companies to follow. They promised that broadband users could plug in whatever devices they wanted to their connection and then use whatever software or online application that they liked — without interference from their provider. Those principles never went through a rule-making period, and when the FCC went after Comcast for blocking peer-to-peer file sharing services, the company sued the commission in court.
And, on Tuesday, won.