Connected Nation Bails On Its Home State Of Kentucky

from the oddity-of-oddities dept

The bizarre story of Connected Nation continues. While the telco-backed broadband mapping organization that politicians all seem gaga over has been able to sweep politicians in Minnesota and Florida off their feet, despite dubious qualifications and/or reviews, Connected Nation has apparently decided to bail out on bidding for the broadband mapping opportunity in Kentucky. This is significant, because Connected Nation is from Kentucky. It was originally Connect Kentucky, and it was the group's supposed "success" in mapping broadband deployments in Kentucky that led to the formation of Connected Nation. In other words, not only does Connected Nation actually have experience in Kentucky (unlike those other states), it should already have the maps. And yet it's suddenly claiming that it can't meet the deadlines laid out in the proposal? Art Brodsky questions the claim:
Is the deadline issue what chased Connected Nation out of Kentucky? Perhaps. There may be other factors at play, including that the Commonwealth wanted the vendor to work with all providers, and two of those significant sectors -- cable and municipals -- are not happy with the telephone-dominated nature of Connected Nation. It's also worth noting that the Kentucky state government, aware of the criticism of Connect Kentucky's efforts, was planning a very strict follow-up procedure for the stimulus mapping program. The Request for Proposals mentioned there would be a third-party verification of "any and all data at any location." That condition would seem to conflict with the general Connect philosophy of controlling access to the information. But we digress.
Given all this, it's worth asking: does the state of Kentucky have the broadband mapping data that Connect Kentucky did for it earlier? Can it give that data to other providers? Or must those providers start from scratch as Connect Kentucky takes its data and goes home?

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  • identicon
    LECfief, 11 Sep 2009 @ 3:48am

    Connect Kentucky was always a sham

    Connect Kentucky started as a political plum for the then Speaker of the House (KY), Jodi Richards. Two IT facilities were in the budget, and one went to Richard's district in western Kentucky, and the other to Pikeville, in eastern KY. Connect Kentucky had a dog and pony show, touring every county seat and holding a public meeting, mostly to blow their own horn. That was at least 5 years back, maybe 8. I attended a couple.

    The map that was plainly, unanamously, and repeatedly asked for in those meetings was the map showing competition, that is, a map of the ISP provider's service areas. What we knew then was that when the Kentucky Education Reform Act (early 1990's) was passed, the Kentucky taxpayers bought a huge fiber infrastructure to connect all the public schools and libraries. The Local Exchange Carriers (local telcos) won (bought, bribed, who knows...) the contract to build that network at taxpayer expense, and that the state was then carved up into to little monopolies, entrenching the telcos who aggressively killed every competitor they could, which was pretty much all of them in the rural areas.

    The map we were asking for would prove that the telcos dominate internet provision, that the lines/boundaries were the same as those permitted by the Kentucky legislature in the original KERA legislation, and that most of the rural part of the state had no meaningful broadband competition (don't bother mentioning the satellite internet, it's a non-starter).

    We never got that map. Connect Kentucky was really more about market discovery and figuring price ceilings for telcos than it ever was about promoting affordable broadband.

    You'll never get an accurate map from them either, I'd guess, it's not really what they do.

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

  • icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 11 Sep 2009 @ 6:01am

    Recently Yahoo began asking for home addresses

    Personally I think someone should approach yahoo and ask for them to do an un official mapping. It would be far better than what connected nation could possibly come up with.

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

  • identicon
    norman, 13 Sep 2009 @ 10:14am

    broadband mapping...???

    aren't we doing a national census in 2010? how about two simple questions going to every household out there:

    1. can you buy broadband at your home if you wanted to?
    2. do you buy broadband?

    that would just about cover everybody everywhere... right?

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

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