The Week in Review: Whither Transparency?

Broadband Data, Broadband Stimulus, FCC, National Broadband Plan, NTIA, Premium Content August 3rd, 2009

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From Weekly Report

WASHINGTON, August 3, 2009 – Less than two weeks remain before the first round of applications are due in the federal government’s broadband stimulus grants. The key issues facing the government can be summed up in three words: data, data and data.

Last week began a three-ring affair to sort out the mess that is the current state of our nation’s broadband data. In one circle is the Federal Communications Commission, which opened an inquiry concerning how it should release the key data that it has about broadband deployment – the Form 477. Specifically, the FCC was asking what it means to “aggregate” data, and whether and how confidentiality restrictions should condition its further release of this data. Initial responses were due last Thursday. Many major carrier and non-profit groups have replied.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration was also buzzing last week on the very same topic. In remarks at a Charlottesville, Va., workshop reported on by, NTIA chief Lawrence Strickling dusted off a lamp and let the data genie out of the bottle. “We need the data: I think it is a national imperative in which this data be collected,” Strickling said about the $350 million program to collect broadband data through the states.
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