Kushnick on the Broadband Plan

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Kushnick on the Broadband Plan

Bruce Kushnick of New Networks Institute released a response to the Deloitte & Touche report about New Jersey, Broadband Opportunity - Job Creation, Healthcare, Education.

The report states that Broadband is:

  • "essential for the State to achieve the level of employment and job creation in that state;
  • "advance the public agenda for excellence in education,
  • "improve quality of care and cost reduction in the health-care industry."

The report was written in 1991! Dubbed "Opportunity New Jersey" (a Verizon state), the Deloitte Report details how rewiring the state of New Jersey with fiber optics would be an economic boom and help health-care, employment and education. In fact, by 2010, 100% of New Jersey is supposed to have 45mbps bi-directional broadband, open to all competitors.

According to Business Week, the Obama Administration is planning on giving $20 to $30 billion in financial incentives, most likely aiding the incumbent phone companies, including ATT, Verizon and Qwest.

In fact, Qwest has just asked for a chunk of the financial incentives as well.

Some other plans, such as the Free Press proposal, want to deploy 'open broadband', but would add $30 billion in taxes by raising the Universal Service Fund, now a corporate slush fund of billions of dollars hard-wired to the phone companies.

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation's (ITIF) plan is incumbent-friendly. They want to simply throw money/perks and let's not worry about competition.

NNI's belief is one of those inconvenient truths --- America is 15th in the world in broadband because RBOC's have already received massive financial incentives state by state-- billions per state --- using the promise of broadband. And the money is still being collected today in the form of cost of service increases and other perks, yet services were never delivered.

Think of it as this, Kushnick writes: We hired a contractor to upgrade the roads. We paid them billions based on the specifications and instead they simply dressed up the place, pocketing billions. We estimate the total to be over $280 billion and growing. By 2009, 113 million homes should have been rewired in the US. Combined, AT&T and Verizon have only 2.2 million upgraded fiber-optic TV customers.

History reveals that we'll just be throwing money at the problem instead of fixing what's broken and answering the fundamental question:

How does America create and pay for ubiquitous, competitive, very fast networks?

This is the question being debated on Tom Keatings blog.

What should be done about the companies who were the caretakers of America's essential infrastructure? Where's the Accountability.

You can read the rest at New Networks Institute website.



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