Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Broadband Delimma

America is falling behind in the Broadband Age! Recent surveys from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) show the U.S. ranked 15th in the world in national broadband penetration. As recent as 2001, the U.S. was ranked 4th!

Those in industry say not to get too caught up in the rankings, but there are multiple issues to deal with here, not to mention the United States ability to compete on a global stage. The rankings act as a leading indicator that exposes the problem and the opportunity to regain a leadership role in broadband penetration, affordability, bandwidth and speed. Broadband access has come to a point not too dissimilar to when telephone access was gaining wide-spread use or when electricity was coming into every community. The elected leadership at the time realized how important these services were to the well being of their citizens and to the strength of our nation and took action to insure the services were available to everyone.

With broadband, aggressive movement to make it accessible to everyone and to get the speeds and capacities into a competitive and even a leadership state, will facilitate the country's ability to continue to be a leader in the economic world. More importantly (if that is even possible!) is the ability to better educate our citizens, provide better and more affordable healthcare, better safety, provide more job opportunities and all in all provide a better information and communications infrastructure for our country.

Wearing my elected official hat, I serve on the Information Technology and Communications Steering Committee of the National League of Cities. Shortly, the organization will come out with a position paper espousing a much more aggressive tone in our country's approach to broadband. We anticipate this dialog to not only spur great discussion and action in Washington, but also on the Presidential campaign trail. Local, state and federal officials are beginning to realize the importance of broadband to our country's livelihood.

With these thoughts, I'll leave you with a link to FCC Commissioner Copps' opening statement to the U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE AND TRANSPORTATION FIELD HEARING ON “THE STATE OF BROADBAND IN ARKANSAS”, LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS on AUGUST 28, 2007

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