On a slightly related note, The NY Times recently ran an article (Why Spend $350 Million to Map Broadband?) addressing concerns about the proposed $350 million pegged in the economic stimulus proposals. As the article says, “Deep inside the stimulus bill that passed the Senate Tuesday is an allocation of up to $350 million for making a “nationwide inventory map of existing broadband service capability and availability in the United States.”
I think the author makes some good points. First, if they’re going to spend money on such a map, they should also create a provision that requires providers to participate in any surveys. Second, that info provided by providers should be made public – not just in the aggregate. (Geoff Daily just wrote a good piece on this too.)
If the government is willing to put money into broadband, it makes sense to create policies that reflect that public investment.