I don’t know a lot about FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, but right now, I like the way he talks. To him, the availability of broadband should be considered as critical as copper lines were when telephone service began criss-crossing the country in the last century. At the time, telephones became the preferred and required way of communicating, and the Internet is quickly taking the same place in people’s minds. “More and more people expect and demand to have access to the Internet and new wireless technologies,” Martin says. “It is important that the (FCC) try to find new ways to address” those needs.
I couldn’t agree more. When I see statistics like “38% of rural households are broadband customers, and 57% of urban households are broadband customers,” I wonder how those numbers are being reached. Does that mean only that many people are purchasing it, or that only that many people have it available? Even in my relatively large metropolitan area, broadband isn’t available everywhere. I have a co-worker who lives less than a mile from the local ATT switching station and can only get the lowest end (slowest) DSL. I live in a more rural area and can get the highest speed DSL available, and I’m miles from any switching station. I’m inclined to believe the numbers are stunted by the fact that the broadband is just not available in the first place.
I have my doubts that the FCC can actually make the kind of changes required to force the infrastructure into place to provide broadband for everyone, but the idea sure does sound good. I have long thought that all the money we customers have been pouring into the phone and cable companies has not been spent on infrastructure but on profiteering, and it’s going to be hard to change the attitude of these companies now.
I’ll be watching to see if there is progression on this issue.