by Mike Masnick
Tue, Aug 11th 2009 6:59pm
From the beginning, we've questioned the broadband stimulus plan, which was designed not to actually stimulate broadband so much as it was designed to stimulate jobs by getting people to install broadband in places where people weren't that interested in getting broadband. It had little to do with actually increasing broadband in a meaningful way. For that... all we kept hearing about was about how we'd also get some magical broadband mapping solution with hundreds of millions of dollars given to Connected Nation -- an organization favored by incumbents, because it lets them retain control over the mapping process. And, indeed, it looks like the broadband stimulus remains something of a boondoggle. As Stacey Higginbotham notes, there's "no map for success," and the plan itself has been watered down. The mapping plan has been cut back to appease telcos, and the focus of stimulus money will go to those not served by broadband, rather than those underserved by broadband. Installing broadband in far off places where there's no current access may sound good, but those are sparsely populated areas where broadband doesn't do all that much. Meanwhile, folks in densely populated regions have only one or two very slow options. Focusing on boosting broadband competition and speeds in those areas would seem to have a lot more bang for the buck... but doesn't seem to be in the current plans.
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