Saturday, March 13, 2010

FCC wants broadband to become a comprehensive utility nationwide for all

The New York Times has an important front page story Saturday March 13 by Brian Stelter and Jenna Wortham, “Effort to widen Internet access sets up battle: A 10 Year Plan by the FCC; Industries at odds over making broadband the top medium”, link here.

This approach would make broadband an essential utility, and move it away from being viewed as a disposable luxury in “Suze Orman” financial smackdowns. It could affect the business models of network television and movie studios. But it also depends on stable infrastructure, being hardened to storms. It also raises security and privacy concerns (as with the issue of smart power grids, as recently discussed by EFF), as tightly integrated utilities could be vulnerable to a variety of attacks.

Broadband becomes more essential as security updates from computer operating system vendors (Microsoft and anti-virus packages) require it to work well.

It’s not clear how dependent the broadband would be on landlines, or whether wireless would fit in more (using previous laws for providing telephone service). Some telecommuting jobs require landlines, as companies trust wireless less (for dependability and security).

The Obama administration is pushing making broadband like a “right” (like “health insurance”) but is waffling in the approach to protecting speakers from unreasonable “turf-oriented” behavior by legacy music and movie industries regarding possible copyright and trademark issues, which could affect network neutrality policies.

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