Google Solicits Broadband Plan Ideas - InformationWeek

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Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
7/17/2009
10:57 AM
Michael Hickins
Michael Hickins
Commentary
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Google Solicits Broadband Plan Ideas

Google is asking us to submit ideas for a national broadband strategy that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by chairman Julius Genakowski, is required to present to Congress in February 2010.

Google is asking us to submit ideas for a national broadband strategy that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by chairman Julius Genakowski, is required to present to Congress in February 2010.In contrast to the broadband stimulus plan, a jumble of ideas hurried along by the twin necessities of economic stimulus and rural broadband deployment, there's actually enough time for us to come up with a reasonable plan that could serve the long-term economic and social needs of our country.

According to Richard Whitt, Google's Washington Telecom and Media Counsel:

we think it's time to give people the opportunity to learn about the issue and to weigh in with their thoughts. And as the process continues to unfold at the FCC, we'll keep you informed of additional ways to share your views and voice your ideas to the agency.

Google has its own ideas about broadband, which are naturally as self-serving as they are cogent. Google suggests that the plan call for

all American households to have access, by 2012, to at least 5 Mbps upload and download speeds over broadband.

That should make it possible for every American household to view YouTube videos to their hearts' - and Google's revenue stream's - content. More importantly, it will also make it possible for individuals in all parts of the country to have the same employment and educational opportunities, and for communities in far-flung regions to attract more employers.

Google is providing a forum for individuals like us to contribute ideas of our own, and vote other ideas up or down.

It's not just an opportunity for discussion -- it's a chance to see whether we can use online tools and technology to create a more participatory democracy. One of the challenges that government officials face in dealing with the public is the overwhelming volume of voices and ideas. The Digg-like technology employed by Google looks like a good way for the public to make their voices heard and also vet each others ideas, making it harder for a small but vocal minority to fill inboxes with a disproportionate number of emails and voice mail.

The quality of suggestions I've seen is fairly impressive, as you can see from a small sample taken at random:

The problem is not a technology problem; it is an operational problem. By accelerating IPv6 and end user device technologies, individual users would be able to roam between mediums: Wi-Max, Wi-Fi, Cellular and wired Ethernet, without limitations.
And
Stop the ability of private companies to block local governments from trying to deploy their own broadband solutions. There have been numerous examples of this, and it really stifles broadband expansion.
Or this one:
Force companies to create franchise agreements with states instead of cities. This way if a company wants to build an advanced network they will have to cover the entire state instead of cherry picking the metro areas where their ROI is highest.
Like any of those ideas? Go vote for them. Don't like them? Go vote against them, and offer one of your own.

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