In 2004, President Bush made universal broadband "in every corner of America by 2007" an explicit goal of his administration. Well, it's 2007, and millions of Americans are still without broadband access to the Internet. Millions more have access only to low quality "fraudband" that is so slow, unreliable and/or unaffordable that it fails to meet other countries' definitions of broadband, and fails to provide the benefits that President Bush extolled when he established his goal, according to The Case for Universal Broadband in America: Now! a report by the nonprofit Center for Creative Voices in Media released today at the Brookings Institution.
Since 2004, America has actually fallen in the global rankings in per capita use of broadband technology from 10th to 15th. The economic, social and cultural costs of this failure to deploy broadband to all Americans are staggering. Here are a few benefits President Bush cited, and Americans are not yet enjoying, because of this failure:
• Hundreds of Billions of Dollars in New Economic Development
• Over a Million New, High-Paying Jobs
• Increased Homeland Security and Public Safety
• Better Health Care at Lower Cost
• Enhanced Educational Opportunities
• Greater Citizen Participation in Government and Communities
• More Access to - and Participation in - Journalism, Culture and Entertainment
The bottom line is that in 2007, America is not even close to deploying fast, reliable and affordable broadband to all its citizens. Our federal government must undertake a concerted national effort to deploy universal, net-neutral broadband comparable to that which deployed telephone and electric service and built a vast network of superhighways. The economic, social and cultural benefits to all Americans of this investment will vastly outweigh its costs. Our nation will stop falling farther behind our international competitors, secure our leadership in global technology, enhance our homeland security and public safety, and provide all of our citizens with the opportunity to participate in the new, global, networked 21st Century world.
Please take a look at The Case for Universal Broadband in America: Now! This is one time the President got it right. It's time to make fast, reliable, affordable and open broadband access to the Internet a reality for all Americans.