#193. Broadband – Your Responses

Posted on | The Agurban

Broadband – Your Responses

We received a number of responses to our Agurban last week entitled Internet Speed in the United States. We hit on the topic of Internet speed and the continued competitiveness of the United States vs. the rest of the world in terms of broadband availability and speed. 

Some of the comments are included below. But I do want to share with you my comment to a reader who asked, “Is the American public willing to pay for high speed?  Should government subsidize?”

My reply: “I view high speed internet much like electricity, water, sewer and roads.  When we do a site search for a company we don’t ask a town, “Hey, do you have electricity here?”  It is assumed.  The same is quickly becoming the case for broadband. If the market can get up to speed quickly enough perhaps we don’t need a governmental policy, but if we fall behind other countries in this key technological area, I think that it will hurt us competitively. I’m not a big believer in the government over free enterprise.  Perhaps tax credits or other methods can be utilized to incentivize us catching up with other countries. Again, thanks for your email.  Do you have any ideas for how we catch up?”

Now for a couple of responses:

– I applaud you for this!  Rural internet sucks!  And this from a small business owner of 3 businesses that rely heavily upon the internet!

– Yes indeed, access to information through the internet is absolutely critical to success in our era.  It seems that we need a modern Andrew Carnegie to endow our nation’s libraries with the funding and knowledge necessary to create a public wifi system.  Internet access, access to information, is certainly the domain of our public library system.  Just as private book ownership did not end with the creation of public libraries, public internet access will not end the need for private, wired internet service, as secured connections with guaranteed bandwidth will continue to have value.

– Here in Nebraska we have great broadband coverage of the state and the speeds that the vast majority of our customers want – based on their need for speed and the cost trade off.   And the 34 Telephone Company Providers and probably most of the 51 private non-telephone providers have the capability now or with fairly simple equipment updates to provide much faster speeds but there has to be a market for those speeds – – enough of a market to cover the costs. In a free market society the providers meet the market needs at a price that covers their cost and hopefully a bit of profit. To blanket the country with the speeds that are available in some other countries is a miss-use of resources. I see a need for a national policy to subsidize people who cannot afford to connect at broadband speeds. Or a policy that would assure connections everywhere up to 500 Kbps download and same upload speed or at least 256 Kbps upload.

And finally, we did receive a couple of responses offering assistance. Please take a minute to check out Delta Connections (
http://deltaleadership.ua.edu/teamprojects.html) and use it at will to encourage communities to assess their needs, aggregate the local demand, and “sell” providers on making investments AND ACCESS to broadband.  

Also, check out the work on high-speed Internet access by Connected Nation at