Originally published: January 26, 2010
Last updated: November 29, 2010 - 11:33am
[Commentary] It remains unclear whether the national broadband plan will deliver on the promise of being a 21st century version of the historic 1950s plan our nation developed successfully for the interstate highway system.
Unfortunately, too much focus so far has been on increasing the speed of broadband in the U.S. so that our rankings in the world on this measure move closer to the top.
In order for the national broadband plan to capture the public's attention and interest, along with garnering necessary bipartisan support in Washington, we need to abandon a "race to the moon" mindset for broadband immediately. The next two months will be critical for bringing the conversation about the national broadband plan back to Main Street and into our homes. With overall unemployment continuing to hover around 10 percent, the best connection that the FCC and other government policymakers can make is with broadband's relationship to new private sector investment, job creation, entrepreneurial activity and economic growth.
If this refocusing is not done soon, we may find that the expansive conversation about broadband availability, access and impact that is needed does not take place. Broadband needs to be more than a side conversation in our country's vital agenda, but this can be accomplished only if technological capabilities and performance are linked with how they actually improve the ways we work and live.
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