Broadband’s Utility

By: jerry | 06/08/2009

There are certainly many things in this country that need to be fixed or improved. The recession has opened the floodgates of public works projects to improve or repair infrastructure across the country. It's The New Deal for a new century. One key piece of infrastructure that hasn't benefited, however, is broadband internet access. Perhaps overlooked is the wrong word since, in our current environment, broadband is private enterprise. Unlike our physical highways, sewers, water and electricity, internet access has remained the purview of deregulated telephone and television carriers. Is it any wonder, then that the United States ranks 15th in a recent Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development study? Worse, yet are the frequent pockets of households where high-speed internet access is available, but only from one carrier, creating a mini-virtual monopoly. So, it is with great interest that I read a recent MediaPost article reporting that a Minnesota appeals court has "ruled that Web service is a utility that towns may finance with bonds." This ruling is in response to a 2007 bond issue from the town of Monticello, Minnesota for a municipal owned fiber optic network. While this ruling only effects towns in Minnesota, it's another step in the path to building sufficient case law to support similar efforts across the country. Of course, this is only one plank in the universal broadband platform. The federal government needs to make it a priority, like universal healthcare. Until the issue is addressed with the same weight as these other social issues, our national communications infrastructure will remain at the whim of business.

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Walker Hamilton says:

Wed, August 12, 2009 at 8:08:am

Actually, the only government agency that can claim purview over broadband, the Federal Communications Commission,  has some plans in place and has a series of meetings planned to solicit public opinions & ideas:

Walker Hamilton says:

Wed, August 19, 2009 at 8:28:am

And now the FCC has a twitter account ( and a blog ( that will chronicle development of a plan for national broadband.

jerry says:

Wed, August 19, 2009 at 9:50:pm

By all accounts, Chairman Genachowski will be an excellent asset to the commission. Here’s hoping he can navigate the treacherous waters of special interests and deliver something useful to the country.

photo editing service says:

Thu, August 27, 2009 at 6:33:am

The photograph above this article has a lot of interesting detail!

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