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Connecting America’s Stories: Broadband Availability

May 10th, 2010 by Page Schindler Buchanan

Goal #1 of the National Broadband Plan is that 100 million U.S. Homes will have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and actual upload speeds of at least 50 megabits per second.

What do these numbers mean to you? Email that doesn’t take all day to send.  Sharing photos with friends.  Working from home instead of a long commute.  Getting your degree while supporting your family.  Not letting an illness keep you isolated from work and family.  You told us this, and so much more.

Maria is a college professor and mother in rural York, New York:

Four-tenths of a mile down the road residents have access to cable. When I contacted [the local internet provider] I received a letter stating that in order to have cable run to our home we would have to pay them $5,000 (in addition to monthly fees).

Residents four-tenths of a mile down the road have cable television, wireless Internet and all of the benefits that go along with it--they can watch movies from their PCs, they can upload games wirelessly, watch educational videos for free on PBS.org with their children, share home movies with family across the country. Four-tenths of a mile down the road, residents did not have to pay anything to have cable run to their homes. Four-tenths of a mile down the road moms have the option to work from home with their high-speed Internet without the cost and stress of enrolling their children in daycare.

Maria’s frustration is echoed in the stories many of you have sent us.  Spotty, slow and non-existent internet connections have deep economic, social and personal consequences that may well shape the future of our nation.

In this video leaders on the National Broadband Plan team talk about increasing availability of broadband to all Americans.

Carol Mattey worked on the Universal Service Recommendations in the Broadband Plan:

Our current regulatory policies in this area are broken.  They needed to be fixed.  The system has accomplished a great deal over the years, but it is not suited and is not going to bring broadband to all of America.

We brought in perspectives from industry and academia, and actual users and participants… We really were focused on trying to develop facts and information, which ultimately are the foundation of making good decisions.

The result is a set of recommendations that will help people find creative solutions to the unique issues in their communities, such as:

Helping schools, hospitals, local communities and Tribal lands afford the infrastructure they need to set up broadband, and share it with businesses and neighbors.

Helping local governments set up broadband in areas where private business can’t make a profit.

Changing the way that companies charge to connect people across the country.

To find out more about how the National Broadband Plan can help to increase broadband availability, read more here, and share your stories on how broadband has impacted you and your community.

 

6 Responses to “Connecting America’s Stories: Broadband Availability”

  1. Resident of a Rural Area says:

    I did send my story in from Phelan, CA

  2. Guest says:

    The FCC is not doing a thing to help us get any type of Broadband all I can do is just give up! I even got an email from Time Warner Cable & they wanted $5000 before we could get Broadband here in my home! Thanks a lot FCC for not helping those of us that needs Broadband geesh!

  3. Guest says:

    BTW I forgot to mention the letter I got from the FCC in the letter the FCC said they had no authority over Time Warner & AT&T and they said they could not get involved!

  4. Travis says:

    Still waiting for it in some parts of Campbell, New York (More specifically County Route 1.... $10,000 grand to string Time Warner Cables service on poles that are already in place is not acceptable. It's bad enough that I found out by word of mouth that there is a Level 3 sex offender in the area and have not been notified. I guess the only way to find that out is if you have internet! Hey thanks alot Time Warner Cable and the FCC for getting that broadband out to rural areas quickly! (sarcastic). Instead of 100 million people 100mps connection. How about 100 million people that currently have nothing!

  5. Fred Pilot says:

    Stories like Maria's show that the U.S. suffers not so much from a rural/urban digital divide as it's commonly presented in the MSM and elsewhere but instead incomplete telecommunications infrastructure.

    If providing service in rural areas was so uneconomical, the cable provider serving homes less than a half mile from Maria's location wouldn't have a presence there in the first place let alone such a short distance away.

    Maria's problem is like that of the many who visit my blog after running a search query along the lines of "My neighbors can get high speed Internet. Why can't I?"

    Fred Pilot
    http://eldotelecom.blogspot.com/

  6. Guest says:

    We'll finally be getting Time Warner Cable within a few days & it's about time to! We're less than 3 moles from a university and town limits. Time Warner Cable was all over the place except for our street! This has been about a 20 year fight just to finally get Broadband in my area!

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