I have been enjoying myself, checking out fun community uses of the Internet. Thank goodness for the Speed Matters, which has been keeping its eye on the broadband policy ball.
Friday they sent out a notice on Senator Inouye’s (D-HI) Broadband Data Improvement Act (S.1492). The bill seeks to require:
• The FCC to collect better data on broadband deployment in the US
• The FCC to reevaluate the current definition of high speed internet (200 kilobits per second)
• The FCC to create $40 million five-year matching grant program for organizations engaged in efforts to identify barriers to broadband adoption in their state
• The Small Business Administration to evaluating the impact of broadband speed and price on small businesses.
It seems like a step in the right direction to me. Here’s a quick view on what others are saying: (I just love seeing both sides of an issue!)
MultiChannel News observes that this is a Democratic bill, with no Republic sponsors, “perhaps because FCC chairman Kevin Martin and other Bush administration officials past and present have not agreed with Democrats about the accuracy of global rankings that show the United States constantly slipping in the broadband-penetration race.”
Free Press praised the bill saying “…With this bill, we would finally be able to answer key questions the Federal Communications Commission has ignored for too long. We would have granular data about broadband availability, adoption, cost and speed at a local level across the country. This information is invaluable. It would help our communities realize the social and economic benefits of new technologies, faster speeds and lower prices….”
PC World says that the Public Knowledge, Free Press and Telecommunications Industry Association praised the bill. They also mention a new organization called Open Internet Coalition, that represents consumers, grassroots organizations, and businesses working in pursuit of a shared goal: keeping the Internet fast, open and accessible to all Americans. They are strongly promoting a national broadband policy. It seems as if this bill leans in that direction.
The Precursor Blog does not support the bill saying, “The Inouye “Broadband Data Improvement Act” is really a long term trojan horse for net neutrality and heavy regulation of broadband.”