Ok, I have to admit, I’m beginning to think that the government would have some grounds to give a few billion dollars to get broadband to the underserved in the US (see my previous post for more details). After all, even at our best, we are years behind other countries for their normal Internet services. Furthermore, at this point in time, the best way to resolve the need for broadband services is to move. So… there is an argument there that bringing broadband to a desolate rural community would boost its economy.
Sure, I’ll allow myself to see the point to it all, granted that these communities are actually being helped in the best way (here’s a previous post on how well the government is accomplishing this so far!). I’m keeping my ears and eyes open for news about the broadband stimilus plans. The FCC has had a few things to say. I want to see what other people are saying and where we’re going with this. This is all I’m getting:
They’re taking surveys! They are asking people if they want broadband. Well of course they do! If you walked up to 100 people who had to walk to work every day and asked them if they would prefer to drive a car to work, 95 percent of them would probably say yes! Who wouldn’t be a fan of the speed, comfort, and convenience of a car? Do we really need to pay people to go around asking these people this and writing us a pretty report about it?
Ask these same people if they want to buy a new car, and that they’ll only get to pick from two types of cars, and that it will be quite an increase on their monthly expenses, and that they will have to wait 5 years to get the car available in their area, they’d probably say, “Forget it! I’ll keep walking!”
These rural people are getting all excited and writing articles in their local papers about how wonderful this broadband access will be, but has anyone told them that they will have to pay a fortune for it and that it will take years for all of this to happen? Do they know that this 7.6 billion dollars from the government won’t even cover half of the necessary expenses? You won’t read that in the news!
Some of these stimulus funds will be used to take more surveys and create awareness about broadband (wow…). These digital communications companies are asking for grants to make maps of the greatest need for broadband (more surveys), and submit plans of actions, etc., etc., etc.
People. Isn’t there a better way? There’s enough surveying and reports and grant requests and more surveys to keep us busy for the next two years! And with every “act” and “program” the government establishes, that billion dollar budget is looking smaller and smaller. Don’t hold your breath people. Nobody’s going to be digging any holes, setting up any towers, or doing any other real work towards spreading broadband for a long time.