Connected Nation's stimulus role questioned

Connected Nation, the Connect Kentucky off-shoot that potentially could be a provider of broadband mapping information for the government agencies awarding broadband stimulus money, is under fire once again for its connections to incumbent telcos, as well as for the relative accuracy of its maps. The Wall Street Journal has a closer look at the flap, arguably some of which may seem like retread from the original Art Brodsky Public Knowledge piece on Connect Kentucky's backing from those telcos. Those who remember Brodky's allegations and Connect Kentucky/Connected Nation chief Brian Mefford's response(see FierceTelecom link below), will not be too surprised by the WSJ story, and no doubt have been expecting the issue to fire up again.

Connected Nations critics allege that the group favors the former Bell companies who serve on its board and provide financial backing, while delivering incomplete mapping information that may ignore smaller telcos (Mefford also is related to a BellSouth lobbyist, the WSJ points out). Connected Nation has argued that the big telco money amounts to a fraction of its resources, that it operates with complete transparency and that it has constantly improved its mapping process.

The controversy was expected, but alternatives appear to be elusive. As stimulus award deadlines get closer, does anyone have a better idea for how the government should obtain accurate U.S. broadband maps?

For more:
- The Wall Street Journal has this story

Related article
The Connect Kentucky controversy fired up in January 2008