Federal Broadband Stimulus Funds Utterly Unable To Meet Demand - HotHardware
Federal Broadband Stimulus Funds Utterly Unable To Meet Demand

Federal Broadband Stimulus Funds Utterly Unable To Meet Demand

A few weeks ago, in early August, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski declared that the FCC viewed the creation of a national broadband policy as integral to the future of of the nation. Broadband, according to Genachowski, is "our generation’s infrastructure challenge...It is as important as electricity and highways were for past generations."

Now that the first round of requests for broadband stimulus funding have been tallied, Genachowski will have to prove if he actually meant what he said. According to a recent announcement posted at Recovery.gov, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS, not to be confused with R.O.U.S.) have received nearly 2,200 requests totaling some $28 billion dollars for the meager $4.7 billion the NTIA actually has to allocate.

 
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski

The PR statement linked above does its best to spin this as a victory, claiming that the two government departments have "Announce[d] Strong Demand for First Round of Funding to Bring Broadband, Jobs to More Americans," but when the program that's supposed to fund said projects is worth less than 20 percent of the aid requested, it's not much of a win. The proposals under consideration, meanwhile, are only aimed at addressing the problems of rural broadband availability and rollout—if you live in the inner city or in an area of the country that doesn't qualify as rural but is just flat broke, this round of projects isn't meant for you.

Whether you agree or disagree that the government should be involved in crafting a national broadband strategy at all, it's increasingly clear that $7.2 billion won't do much more than get the ball rolling. If Genachowski truly believes that ensuring broadband delivery across the nation is vital to the country's future, he'll have to find a way to convince his friends on Capitol Hill to fund it.

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This is indicative of the current Capitol Hill/corporate spin. While I do believe wholeheartedly that broadband is and will be an ever increasing necessity for America and the world’s future. I also believe this method of attack for this problem is not the right way to handle it. The recent talking about the European Union rolling out heavy research, and implementation, on the wireless spectrum seems more worthwhile to me.

If there was a wireless implementation that addresses 4g x 400% as a bandwidth protocol it would seem more worthwhile to me. The reason is in my view availability. If a wireless roll out was implemented nationwide at this spectrum the availability for users to connect on a much wider spectrum versus the population numbers would seem way more positive.

This also would be relatively much, much cheaper for the wide availability it would give. They might even be able to make a decent dent in the desired end product. While of course fiber everywhere would be faster, as the saying goes time is money. At the current progression and blanketing in technology goes time is of much shorter availability. The roll out of nationwide fiber will take a decade if not more. The roll out of a wireless solution of this size would take a quarter of the time if not less.

As seems to be the current norm Washington, and largely corporate America minus some very distinct providers is behind the times as usual. With time being shorter in relativity this has more affect on a much wider spectrum.

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This article is not really accurate since it assumes that we need to spend $28 billion when in fact many of the applications will have overlapping coverage. I know for sure that there is at least one application that can cover the entire underserved/unserved areas for about $500 million. Hopefully Joel can do his research next time before posting sensationalist articles.

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They need to determine what technology delivers the most reliable high speed service to the most under served areas and fund it. Forget the existing communications giants who plan to suck up as much of this money as possible. All they can see is all of the roadblocks in front of them as a justification for greed and extracting more money from the US.

But the little guys with new ideas see opportunities ahead. They are willing to work for their rewards and overcome obstacles as they crop up. This is the mindset that we need to nourish and reward.

This is how the job needs to be done.

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