Broadband: Moving from short-term stimulus to long-term policy

Tech policy wonks and savvier media types are shifting their focus from the $7.5 billion set aside for broadband in the economic stimulus package and looking forward to how the Obama administration should move forward for future investments in broadband.

A report released today by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) "The Need for Speed: The Importance of Next-Generation Broadband Networks," makes a case for higher-speed broadband everywhere with speeds of at least 20 Mbps downstream and 10 Mpbs or more upstream. Doing so would provide economic and social benefits, says ITIF.

Public policy needs to support more broadband and faster broadband everywhere, and the Universal Service Fund (USF) may get a makeover once nominated FCC Chairman and basketball buddy Julius Genachowski takes charge.

One suggestion anticipated to create heartburn is the idea that communities should "embrace" private sector competition, rather than build their own expensive "third pipes." Advocates argue that a straight-up duopoly between incumbent phone and cable companies hasn't done so well in less sizable markets for lowering prices or fostering more rapid high-speed broadband deployment.

Interestingly, one of the members of the board at ITIF is Obama transition co-chair and Genachowski buddy Blair Levin. Hmm and hmm, I say.

For more:
- Wall Street Journal blog.

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