Uncommon Wisdom

Jun 5 2009   6:37PM GMT

Broadband stimulus and the unsmart debate

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 82% of all Internet users were on broadband and that about 62% of those broadband users were on the Internet, as of 2007. The FCC says that broadband was available in over 99% of zipcodes at that same date.

That’s an interesting set of numbers because it seems to show that most of the people in underserved broadband areas may not be Internet users at all. We think this shows that the whole debate on broadband subsidization is taking place without any reasonable statistical framework. How many people in underserved areas want to be served? Do we believe that any person who wants high-speed Internet service would, because it’s not available to them, pout and refuse to take any Internet at all? Should we be asking how to get the 38% of people not now on the Internet, the great majority of which can get broadband today, on both broadband and Internet? We’re not having a smart debate on a very important topic.

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