Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Angel is in the Details

I just love this summary of the stimulus and the Free Press suggestions. Read the summary and then go get the PDF. Thanks to Eric Lee for forwarding.

Putting the Angels in the Details: A Roadmap for Broadband Stimulus Success

Putting the Angels in the Details: A Roadmap for Broadband Stimulus Success
Submitted by Benton Foundation on February 26, 2009 - 1:30pm
Originally published on: February 26, 2009


The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, signed into law last week by President Barack Obama, allocates $4.7 billion to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for broadband adoption and deployment in "unserved," "underserved" and low-income communities; $2.5 billion to the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for rural broadband; and directs the Federal Communications Commission to develop a national broadband strategy. To ensure that these stimulus programs are successfully implemented, Free Press recommends the following:

1) Protect the open Internet: The NTIA and FCC should prohibit grant recipients from selling any service that violates open Internet principles and should require recipients to offer interconnection on a reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis.

2) Promote speed: The NTIA should establish speed guidelines and benchmarks and require grant applicants to detail actual -- not advertised -- network speeds, with priority given to next-generation projects.

3) Provide clarity: The NTIA and FCC should adopt definitions of unserved and underserved areas that are based on U.S. Census Bureau geographic boundaries (either census blocks, block groups or tracts), and are informed by new FCC broadband data.

4) Prevent waste: The NTIA should require grant applicants to provide extensive documentation showing how their proposed project qualifies as a new investment.

5) Gather information: The FCC should immediately initiate proceedings to gather data and ideas to inform the national broadband strategy.

6) Focus resources: The NTIA should refocus the $350 million currently allocated for state broadband mapping toward projects that work to stimulate broadband demand, because the FCC is already collecting this data.

7) Remove roadblocks: The RUS should eliminate current regulations that restrict broadband upgrades, create barriers to new entrants and undermine competition.

8) Ensure transparency: The NTIA and RUS should create a single, publicly accessible online database that hosts all the information relevant to the broadband projects funded by the Stimulus Act.

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