Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Broadband would take until 2015 to complete even under heavy economic stimulus

Questions are already coming up regarding president Barack Obama’s ambitious plans to extend broadband infrastructure to the most remote rural areas.

The story is by David M. Herszenhorn in the Tuesday Feb. 3 New York Times, front page, “Internet money in fiscal plan: wise or waste?; debate on billions for broadband service,” link here.

Some experts say that it would take until 2015 to complete the plans, even with the most ambitious appropriations. Decisions would have to be made regarding traditional cable or FIOS.

Another consideration would be recoverability of service after natural disasters.

Broadband is coming to be seen by small business as an essential utility, not as a luxury. But the history of cable television shows how fickle service like this is. Some areas in New York City had cable television in the late 1960s and it was common in apartment buildings by the mid 1970s as an alternative to a master antenna. Yet in more outlying suburbs, it has been slow to come. When I bought a condo in Pleasant Grove in Dallas in late 1984, the area did not have cable service yet, whereas “trendier” areas in the city did. Were I to be in the same situation now, I would have to require it as a condition of purchase or rental. Not all senior apartments list cable as available yet in many cities.

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