Connected Nation's other shoe drops at NTIA

Art Brodsky, Public Knowledge

It seems like only yesterday that we were saying that a game of chicken was likely to develop between the government and the telecom industry over the data that is supposed to be reported under the stimulus broadband mapping program. Actually, it was the day before yesterday.

But never mind that, it seems the day after that story was published, a group of telecom executives huddled with Larry Strickling, director of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to express their concerns about the data that is supposed to be reported under the stimulus broadband mapping program.

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Wired in Washington: less than perfect

David Hatch, National Journal

It's going to be a long, hot summer for FCC officials tasked with creating a national broadband plan. During August alone, when choosing the best iron to reach the green or weighing whether to salt a margarita glass pass for tough decisions in Washington, the agency has scheduled 19 public workshops designed to assist with crafting the ambitious strategy.

As part of the economic stimulus program enacted by Congress this year, which included $7.2 billion to spur broadband deployment, the FCC was ordered to develop a comprehensive plan to connect every community and harness the Internet to create jobs, boost energy efficiency and improve health care.

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Critics lash out at NTIA, RUS broadband grant rules

Esme Vos, MuniWireless

If you have downloaded my How to Get a Grant Guide: Part 1, you’ll know I don’t think much of the broadband stimulus grant application requirements. They’re ridiculous. They’re not the rules a government that is absolutely serious about broadband would ever dream of adopting.

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Wishful mapping: Connected Nation takes North Carolina for a ride

Fiona Morgan, Independent Weekly

How many people in North Carolina have access to high-speed Internet service, and how many do not? That question must be answered if North Carolina is to receive any of the $7.2 billion in federal stimulus money for broadband deployment.

According to a map made available online last week by the industry-backed nonprofit Connected Nation, broadband is available to 92 percent of North Carolina households. That number seems too high to some legislators and public interest advocates, who are concerned that overstating the amount of access will hurt the state's chances of receiving federal grants.

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Bring Betty Broadband: churches, mosques say access is an economic justice issue

Nate Anderson, Ars Technica

Jesus said that the poor would always be with us—but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to bring them broadband. A coalition of Christian churches and the Islamic Society of North America has launched a new campaign to bring broadband to everyone in the US so that "our poorest communities, our rural areas, our public libraries, our public schools, and community centers" benefit from the communications revolution that the Internet hath wrought.

The Bring Betty Broadband campaign casts the broadband debate in moral terms. It's about the "right to disseminate and receive information," it's a "right that helps to define ourselves as human beings and political actors," and it's absolutely essential for everyone in a modern society.

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The Future of the Internet is in Lafayette, Louisiana

Ellen Perlman,

What if you could hold a video conference from your home? What if your doctor could send your MRI electronically to another of your doctors who needs it? What if you could upload a video of your child's soccer game and send it to grandma in seconds?

These are questions that Lafayette, Louisiana, officials have pondered.

And soon, we may all be looking to Lafayette for the future of the Internet.

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Harvard’s Berkman Center to conduct independent review of broadband studies for FCC

Berkman Center

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University will conduct an independent expert review of existing literature and studies about broadband deployment and usage throughout the world. This project will help inform the FCC’s efforts in developing the National Broadband Plan.

“Advanced communications have the potential to enhance the lives of all Americans, improve public safety, create jobs, and support our economic recovery,” Chairman Julius Genachowski said. “As the Commission embarks on the important task of crafting a National Broadband Plan, better data will inform and animate the activities of the agency. The Berkman Center’s independent review of existing information will help lay the foundation for enlightened, data-driven decisionmaking. I appreciate the Berkman Center’s invaluable assistance and look forward to seeing the results.”

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Discovery Institute hack claims no need for national broadband strategy

Karl Bode, DSLReports

Telephony Online un-skeptically points to a new report (pdf) by a new think tank named Entropy Economics, which magically assumes the organic growth in bandwidth capacity means we don't need a national broadband policy. Because available consumer bandwidth reached 717 terabits per second at the end of 2008 (or a per-capita average of 2.4 megabits per second), we've apparently cured all of our broadband problems.

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Is ICANN accountable to the global public interest?

Robin Gross, IP Justice

Everyone is a Noncommercial User of the Internet

The Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC) is the home to noncommercial users in ICANN's GNSO policy development process.  NCUC represents 109 members from more than 40 countries, and includes large organizations, small nonprofits and individuals committed to developing Internet policy that protects the rights of noncommercial users.  NCUC is concerned with a broad range of issues including human rights such as freedom of expression and privacy protections, educational needs such as those of libraries or academic institutions, and concerns from community and religious organizations, consumer rights groups, and other noncommercial interests related to Internet governance.  (All noncommercial organizations and individuals are invited to join NCUC).

In today's world, everyone is a noncommercial user of the Internet at one point or another of their day.  This noncommercial interest, is an important interest which we all share, regardless of what we do for a living or the fact that we also use the Internet for commercial purposes.  We are also noncommercial users and want our ability and right to use the Internet for noncommercial purposes to be protected in ICANN policy negotiations.  This objective is in everyone's interest, so it should be respected throughout ICANN's policy development process and governance structures.

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What's in a NOFA? First impressions of the government's plans to distribute broadband stimulus funds

Harold Feld, Tales from the Sausage Factory

It's time for the NOFA awards!

No, not the actual giving out of money, silly. My snarky commentary on last week's unveiling of [the federal government's broadband stimulus website]

I'll preface by saying I absolutely still love and respect the folks I know on the inside who struggled with this stuff for months. I know how hard it is to actually implement this stuff, especially with this kind of ridiculous schedule and no one appreciating what it takes to coordinate among this many agencies and how utterly devestated the federal workforce was following 8 years of the Bushies refusing to invest in information technology, outsourcing everything to contractor cronies, and elevating political loyalty over actual talent.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey