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Broadband's Impact

Rural America Needs More than Just Slow Internet Connections

Drew Clark

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BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Doug Dawson once again nails it on his blog post. The 10 megabit per second (Mbps) download / 1 Mbps upload was outdated when it was announced, just as 25 Mbps/3 Mbps ("broadband") is today. It is especially disheartening to see the same requirement in the Agriculture Department's ReConnect grants. On  the positive side, one can expect and and hope that those scoring for the ReConnect and FCC Connect America Fund grants will more favorable rate those technologies that are able to deliver "real" broadband.

Speed Goals for FCC Grants, from POTs and PANs by Doug Dawson:

I literally grimaced when I first read about the 25/3 Mbps speed test that will likely be part of the new $20.4 billion grant program recently announced by the FCC. My first thought was that the 25/3 Mbps goal would provide an excuse for the FCC to give the grant money to the big telcos again. Those companies could then take another ten years to bring rural DSL up to the speeds they should have achieved on their own a decade ago. With the history of the FCC pandering to the big telcos I instantly feared this possibility.

But let’s assume that the upcoming grants will be available to all comers. Why would the FCC choose the 25/3 Mbps speed target? It’s a terrible goal for many reasons.

[...]

In my mind, the FCC betrayed rural communities when they adopted the 10/1 Mbps speed goal for CAF II. That told rural communities that they had to settle for second-rate broadband that was far slower than the rest of the country. From what I hear, most rural communities don’t even consider the CAF II upgrades as real broadband. Rural communities want fiber. They view anything slower than fiber as nothing more than a stepping-stone towards eventually getting fiber.

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Source: Speed Goals for FCC Grants | POTs and PANs

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