Eight Bold Steps to a National Broadband Strategy

Jim Baller and Casey Lide, well known for their broadband legal work and excellent daily listserv on community broadband and telcom issues (see http://www.baller.com/contact.html), have just released an excellent proposal to help guide a national broadband policy, called “Eight Bold Steps to a National Broadband Strategy” see http://www.baller.com/pdfs/baller-lide_8Steps_NatBBStrategy.pdf What is interesting about this paper is that it mirrors what many local leaders have done with the Get Broadband program – Form a local leadership group, understand your local market, identify and study your options and take definitive action. A National Broadband Strategy would lay the foundation for better laws that promote broadband. There are new voices calling for this type of action every day.

Given that the Get Broadband communities (and friends) include new and not-so-new voices we wanted to ask you blog readers what you thought. Do you think a national vision is important, possible, too early, too late? Have you read this vision or others you could tell us about? What did you think? What would you add, change or remove? Most importantly, how – if at all – would a shared vision help with your local efforts?

GIS used to map city access to healthy foods

National Public Radio is current running a story on a group in Philadelphia that is using high-tech mapping technologies to show that people in poor neighborhoods need more places to shop for healthy food. (You can read or listen to the story online.)

It’s a great example of how access to broadband technology can provide access to information that will make a difference in the lives in a community.

CPI suing FCC to get at real state of broadband

Ars Technica just published an article (CPI suing FCC to get at real state of broadband competition in the US) about the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) and their struggles to gain access to raw data collected by the FCC.

The FCC collects information from every telecom company in the US; they give the agency data on each company’s line deployments, broken down by ZIP code. The FCC reports on this data but the results have been questioned by several, including last year by the General Accounting Office.

It is an interesting case that brings to the fore two issues that go hand in hand: Freedom of Information and equal access to broadband technology.

A View of FIber from Ely

The Ely Echo recently ran an editorial (Fiber has economic development connection) that outlines the need for broadband connectivity from an economic development perspective. The author also describes the reasons it is necessary for local government to get involved in supporting (or leading) an effort to bring broadband to a community – especially smaller, rural communities.

(Ely is a Get Broadband community.)

Grassroots Use of Technology Conference June 22-23, 2007

Just wanted to share quick notice of a technology event happening this summer…

Grassroots Radio Conference XII
Thinking Out Loud and WUML are pleased to host the Grassroots Radio Conference from June 21-24, 2007 in historic Lowell, Massachusetts.

The theme of the conference will be diversity n grassroots media with a particular focus on media access for newly arrived immigrant groups.

Broadband comes to Earl

Last Thursday, broadband came into My Name is Earl. They had a great part where they find out a guy they thought had no friends actually had a whole life online. There’s a 2 minute clip where they talk about all of the stuff this guy does online through a webcam: he has dinner with a friend in India on Saturdays, he plays music with a girl in a different state, he is active in chat rooms and games.

You can get the gist of the episode here: http://www.nbc.com/My_Name_Is_Earl/

To see the 2 minute part that highlights broadband you can visit the clip below, go to Part 3 and scroll to the last 4 minutes and 20 seconds you can see it.

Americans Went Online for the 2006 Election

The Pew Internet & American Life Project recently released a report that claimed that twice as many Americans used the internet as their primary source of news about the 2006 campaign compared with the most recent mid-term election in 2002. Specifically, some 15% of all American adults say the internet was the place where they got most of their campaign news during the election, up from 7% in the mid-term election of 2002.

Also some 23% of those who used the internet for political purposes – the people we call campaign internet users – actually created or forwarded online original political commentary or politically-related videos. The full report is available online.