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FCC Commissioner: Broadband Policy Crisis

The Washington Post published a commentary this week by FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps entitled "America's Internet Disconnect." His points about the impact on the U.S. economy, and the need for a substantive national broadband strategy are familiar topics to me.

Back in January of 2002, I wrote an Op-Ed entitled "Lessons Learned: The U.S. Highway System" where I used simple analogies to explain the role of Economic TeleDevelopment in enabling all Americans to participate in the global networked economy. So, what is the progress since 2002? The following is a summary assessment from Mr. Copps article.
America's record in expanding broadband communication is so poor that it should be viewed as an outrage by every consumer and businessperson in the country. Too few of us have broadband connections, and those who do pay too much for service that is too slow. It's hurting our economy, and things are only going to get worse if we don't do something about it.

The United States is 15th in the world in broadband penetration, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). When the ITU measured a broader "digital opportunity" index (considering price and other factors) we were 21st -- right after Estonia. Asian and European customers get home connections of 25 to 100 megabits per second (fast enough to stream high-definition video). Here, we pay almost twice as much for connections that are one-twentieth the speed.

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