Public interest groups advise feds on broadband stimulus spending

Today, Reclaim the Media and twenty-seven other public interest and media democracy organizations submitted comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Rural Utilities Service, the primary two Federal agency offices charged with distributing $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus funds.

The comments made recommendations on definitions of "underserved" and "unserved" areas, the role of state and local governments and commmunity organizations in broadband deployment, and other topics.

In some areas, the recommendations are modest - for example, while noting that in order for the US to regain its position "as a global broadband leader," the entire country would need to have access to symmetrical Internet speeds in excess of 100mbps. However, the comments argue against requiring stimulus projects to provide minimum speeds above the FCC's already-antiquated broadband definition of 768kbps. If followed, this recommendation should allow for low-cost deployment of, for example, wireless Internet services to rural areas previously lacking any services at all.

Read the full comments (pdf).

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