Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The latest on broadband for all--including rural places--under an Obama administration

NPR's Day-to-Day program today featured a story speculating about what the Obama administration's Federal Communications Commission might do about the digital divide. Here's an excerpt that addresses the issues facing rural communities:

About 10 percent of Americans still have no access to broadband at all. Many of those people live in rural areas. Wally Bowen, who runs a small Internet company in Asheville, N.C., says the reason is money.

"The cable companies don't find it cost effective. Phone companies have to reconfigure their landlines with additional technology," Bowen says. "There's been some of that, but it's pretty limited."

* * *

"There are parts of the country where it'll still be uneconomic for a phone company, a cable provider, a wireless provider to offer service. The smart use of government funds — to the extent we care to put them into broadband infrastructure — would be to bring broadband where it isn't."

Listen here to the entire story, which debates the merits of a public-private partnership to achieve greater broadband access in rural places.

No comments: