Sunday, October 29, 2006

Where's the Broadband Beef Arnie?

So maybe the only tangible result of the net neutrality debate is that politicians now use broadband as part of their re-election strategy. Color me cynical, but the announcement on Friday that Gov Schwarzenegger wants to make "California a leader in the telecommunications revolution" sounds like, well, a politician looking for a sound-bite.

Setting aside for a moment that there is a distinct possibility California already is a leader (or was!), the question is what is he going to do to make this goal possible? Well, he's going to cut red tape! Yep, the plan is to streamline the process of getting rights-of-way (ROW) and at a standard rate. On the one hand, I dont think that ROW issues were holding up the 100Mbps link that is coming to my house "real soon". And on the other hand, the governor just signed the Digital Infrastructure and Cable Communications Act which allows the telcos to cherry-pick affluent neighborhoods while bypassing the less wealthy.

This Digital Infrastructure act serves to rob communities of the little control they had to provide evenly distributed services throughout their jurisdiction.

If there really is a desire to make California a broadband leader, then help community infrastructure initiatives that are springing up all over the country. Doc was asking for input for a follow-up to his seminal "Saving the Net" piece -- so here's mine: we can either hang together by supporting community networking, or hang separately by allowing our communities to be cherry-picked by the telcos. Certainly implies more than cutting red tape for the telco incumbents.

Monday, October 02, 2006

South Yorkshire has a plan to build the Digital Region which is a public-sector led initiative to transform South Yorkshire through open access broadband. They also have a cute visual indicator of relative bandwidth speeds.

Meanwhile over on this side of the pond, the folks at Media Alliance have sponsored this study of the SF Wireless project. Interesting that they come to the conclusion that WiFi is great, but fiber infrastructure is a whole lot better!