Increasing Broadband Is Good... But The Devil's In The Details

from the boondoggle-central dept

In general, it seems like a good thing that President-elect Obama has identified improved broadband as a key issue to focus on in the new administration. Broadband infrastructure is becoming critical infrastructure to any successfully functioning economy these days, and boosting our overall broadband is a necessity in trying to open up new economic possibilities. However, as with any government-sponsored program, when the government suggests it's ready to open its massive wallet on an initiative, special interests, incumbents and lobbyists see it as a way to get free money from the government. This is the problem in any sort of announced plan to give away money for infrastructure projects. It's not that the infrastructure isn't important. It's incredibly important. It's just that the system is often so corrupt that plenty of taxpayer money is likely to end up in the hands of those who need it the least, and who won't actually spend it to do much on infrastructure. We've seen broadband boondoggles like this in the past -- such as the Universal Service Fund, that really turned into a massive slush fund for telcos to charge more to customers without doing much of anything to provide universal service. I'm hoping that any plan this time around would be different -- and I've heard from multiple different people involved in the Obama transition team who insist that it really is different this time -- but some things are hard to change, and this sort of sucking at the government teat is hard to stop.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    DS, 30 Dec 2008 @ 5:50pm

    This is DS from the future...

    "I'm hoping that any plan this time around would be different"

    It wasn't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    chris (profile), 31 Dec 2008 @ 12:07pm

    the answer is simple

    don't pay the telcos to do it. don't even let them submit bids.

    get someone else to do it. the telcos are so corrupt that a monkey with brain damage could build more infrastructure for less money than any telco.

    if the telcos resist, quadruple their taxes. in fact, quadruple their taxes now, and then quadruple them again if they complain or resist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2009 @ 8:52am

      Re: the answer is simple

      I don't know what world you live in, but in what I like to call the Real World, you raise taxes and business passes those costs on. So that means that not only does your phone bill go up, but your cell phone bill and internet and hosting costs go up since thier access to infrastructure also goes up. And now your small businesses that use the internet to provide services, or share information between sites, or whatever have higher overhead because again, businesses pass cost along. Now since they are small businesses they normally can not afford to pass those costs along if someone like Walmart is thier competition.

      So is this really your simple answer? Make more people dependent on big business and goverment jobs or government aid when costs go up and small business folds?

      Make it so all the small businesses close and everyone shops and works at Walmart?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2008 @ 7:46pm

    interesting... I could have sworn there were more comments this morning.

    Would you like to explain the change Mike?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2009 @ 11:24am

    No Govt Money Needed

    No government money is needed to increase broadband availability. What is needed is less government interference. In particular, the government protected local monopolies that the telco and cable companies enjoy should be eliminated. The public infrastructure right of ways should be opened up to all who want to build competing systems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    anonymousJack, 3 Jan 2009 @ 7:22am

    NOLA Homeland Security and Microsoft

    As one of those closely tied to the DOJ Homeland Security Grant competition process that took place in New Orleans Louisiana that would have provided interoperable communications for 5000 first responders from 150 agencies a full two years before Hurricane Quatrain, I can only validate that corruption transcends local, regional, state and federal levels. Likely this extrapolates to international as well. It is sad that Microsoft (as detailed in the Times Picayune by reported Gordon Russell and likewise reported by Frontline) continues to treat "security" with a "shoulder shrug." Business' special interests are tantamount to having a "special education" student generating policy. Simply look at George W. Bush's comments to LSU graduates early in his first term to get to the route of the issue "Not bad for a C-student (chuckle, chuckle)."

    In my experience, the only way "average" meets with abnormally high degrees of success repeatedly is through the coordinated tactics normally associated with "the mob." The mere fact that Narus STA 6400 technology was deployed to a company formally dismantled by "antitrust law" was reassembled to be larger than ever before is evidence enough that the major corruption taking place is that of a Machiavellian "the ends justifies the means" hijacking of the American Moral Code of Conduct. Makes Bernie Madoff's rip-off look like child's play

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      AnonymousJill, 3 Jan 2009 @ 7:27am

      Re: NOLA Homeland Security and Microsoft

      I can only agree that the "quatrain" was FEMA - or what we in New Orleans touted as: Fix Everything My Ass!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.