Plugging America’s Broadband Gap
Posted on August 2, 2008 Comments (2)
This is one of a number of facts that those in the USA seem ignorant of: we have a far worse internet and cell phone infrastructure than many countries. Those that think the USA is the leading technology country should be alarmed by such poor performance in a critical area such as internet infrastructure.
The free service wouldn’t be the fastest on the market. The winning bidder would have to offer a minimum speed of 768 kilobits per second to 95% of the country within 10 years. Although that’s technically broadband, it’s about half the speed of today’s average U.S. broadband link.
Still, Martin’s proposal has drawn support because it has the potential to crack what has become a broadband duopoly. In most markets, only one telecom company and one cable provider offer the service. A third alternative with decent speed and big savings off the current $50 monthly average price could spark more competition. The leading contender to win the auction is M2Z Networks, a startup founded by former FCC staffer John Muleta.
The FCC approach is no panacea. It’ll provide competition at the low end of the market and will do nothing to bring the U.S. the blazing speeds common in Korea and Japan.