Wednesday, May 4, 2005


Pretty good special report by CNET. Great supplementary pages and related reports you can download:

Across the country, acrimonious conflicts have erupted as local governments attempt to create publicly funded broadband services with faster connections and cheaper rates for all citizens, narrowing the so-called digital divide. The Bells and cable companies, for their part, argue that government intervention in their business is not justified and say they are far better equipped to operate complex and far-flung data networks.

As part of this special report, CNET has created an interactive municipal broadband legislative map that details the major battlegrounds on the issue. At stake is the fate of high-speed Internet access for millions of Americans, hinging on a fundamental question of civics and economics--whether the government or private industries should take the leading role in building out what's considered this generation's critical infrastructure challenge.

"Is broadband fast food, or is it power?" said Doug Lichtman, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. "The answer might be: 'We don't know. Let's experiment with it.' It might give us great information about what risks the government assumes, once it gets into it."
(full article)

I have to think about this some more, but right now I'm leaning towards the notion that it is great that these local governments are initiating the build of broadband infrastructure. Broadband service will eventually become as common as mail and phone services, and the question of profitable services to the isolated portions of the U.S. come to question and might invite such government interference. If broadband providers are so slow in building out to areas were infrastructure is too costly to build or not potentially profitable at this time, how long will it take and how much greater will the digital divide grow in our nation? More later. Gotta run.

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