BIG Broadband Links
This collection of reference materials includes some of the best white papers, presentations, books, and other Web sites. Page down or jump to any of these topics: (bold = author's favorites, red has other resources)
$200 Billion Broadband Scandal - This featured ebook tells of broken promises by the Bell companies that cost consumers over $200 billion in phone subsidies and cost the U.S. economy over $5 Trillion. By now, 86M US households should already have had broadband connections of 45 Mbps in each direction. The networks were to be everywhere equally, including in rural towns and low-income neighborhoods, and open to ALL competition. That never happened, and instead our nation lost its broadband and tech leadership. It's one of the largest scandals in American history - bigger than Enron and WorldCom. The public and its elected officials need to understand this history lesson and make sure we protect ourselves from similar events in the future.
US loses Tech Leadership, World Economic Forum report shows a one-year fall from #1 (a position held for over 50 years) to #5, Forbes 3/9/05
A Nation Online: Entering the Broadband Age, U.S. Department of Commerce report (2004)
ACCESS: Wisdom of the East: South Korea's “Broadband IT Powerhouse Vision 2007” strategy, by David Deans
Baller Herbst Law Group, (great resource list and electronic newsletter)
BIG BROADBAND: Public Infrastructure or Private Monopolies, paper, presentation & key messages by CAZITech Consulting
BIG Broadband Bill of Rights, by Susan Estrada, FirstMile.US (2005)
Blueprint for Big Broadband (PDF) is an EDUCAUSE white paper by John Windhausen, Jr. of Telepoly Consulting. (2008)
BroadbandProperties.com Magazine - Building the Fiber-Connected Community (many great articles)
Broadband in America 2007 (PDF) - This report by the US Dept. of Commerce (NTIA) examines significant US broadband growth under the George Bush administration but fails to compare US growth against that of other nations that have more aggressive policies and more open competition. While our broadband improves, we continue to fall behind other nations and are now ranked somewhere between 15th and 25th in broadband penetration per 100 inhabitants, depending on the source (ITU or OECD, respectively). Consumer advocates are concerned that aggressive telecom deregulation under the Bush administration favors incumbent phone providers and establishes FTTH deployments as natural monopolies.
Broadband Reality Check: The FCC ignores America's Digital Divide, by S. Derek Turner, Free Press
Broadband Reports.com (information repository)
Digital Agenda: BROADBAND, C|Net 2004 conference proceedings
Expanding the Digital Divide & Falling Behind on Broadband, by the Consumers Union (2004 PDF)
Explaining International Broadband Leadership (2008 PDF), by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF.org), is the most recent and most comprehensive report of its kind - extremely well researched, well written, and well balanced between public and private interests and with a great set of recommendations for policy makers.
FCC Data on High-Speed Internet Access Services (press release, April 2006)
FirstMile.US, non-profit organization promoting Big Broadband everywhere
Foreign Affairs, how the US has fallen behind in deploying broadband, by Thomas Bleha, 2005
Let the Market Decide: The À la carte Option in the Cable Market, by the Consumers Union (PDF)
One Page Briefs on Broadband , 23 organizations weigh in with advice to Congress
Providing Ubiquitous Gigabit Networks in the United States, 2005 IEEE position paper (PDF)
Rationed Freedom of Speech, 2009 essay by Craig McAllister w/ good speed analogies (PDF)
Reforming Telecom Policy for the Big Broadband Era, by Reed Hunt, former FCC chairman (PDF w/add’l.refs)
Regulatory Clouds Beginning to Clear, Kevin Walsh, 2009, (NOFA differentiates between Public Internet and Private Networks)
Subsidizing the Bell Monopolies: How Government Corporate Welfare Programs are Undermining Telecommunications Competition (2002)
The Broadband Problem: Anatomy of a Market Failure and a Policy Dilemma, 2004 book by Charles H. Ferguson, The Brookings Institute
The Broadband Incentive Problem, 2005 paper from MIT Communications Future Program (1.5 MB PDF)
The U.S. Broadband Problem: 2002 Analysis and Policy Recommendations by The Brookings Institute (PDF)
US falls to 19th in broadband adoption, may even trail Slovenia by 2007, and will lose lead in total broadband lines to China in 2006.
Since the aging 1996 Telecom Act ignores the Internet its ability to carry voice, data and video services, several bills have been introduced to propose a rewrite. Beware that some of them have catchy names that can disguise self-serving interests of one industry that could damage the economy as a whole. By carefully reading the proposed language (and what others have said in commentary), you can decide the merits of each bill for yourself. Anyway, here are the links in sequence from when the bills were introduced.
The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 - $7.2 Billion of the massive $787 Billion stimulus bill is allocated to programs that stimulate broadband infrastructure and services. Jim Baller of the Baller Herbst Law Group offers this excellent summary.
United States Broadband Coalition - This broad and diverse organization calls for, and provides a policy framework for, a comprehensive national broadband strategy. Included on BB4US.NET is the justification, what organizations support the framework, what opponents say, and what other nations are doing,
CEA Guiding Principles - The Consumer Electronics Association offers several Policy Reform Guidelines for consideration by policy makers debating regulatory changes, to bring them in line with the rapid advancement in digital and telecom technologies that have allowed other nations to adopt broadband at a faster rate than our own.
Preserving Innovation in Telecom Act - Texas Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX) proposed a pro-business bill to ban municipal networks. It's very much a pro-SBC bill with potential conflicts-of-interest concerns since Sessions was previously an SBC executive and ranked #1 in SBC's 2004 campaign contributions ($24,000). Read the commentary or the H.R.2726 text.
Community Broadband Act - In response to the Sessions bill, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced a bill to specifically allow municipal networks so communities could serve their citizens when there's no real competition. The bill allows municipalities to do this on their own or with a technical partner, such as an ILEC, small ISP, or large OEM. Read the support from broad based groups, floor statements from Lautenberg and McCain, or the S.1294 text.
Broadband Investment and Consumer Choice Act - Senator John Ensign (R-NV) introduced a proposed revision of the 1996 Telecom Act with pro-incumbent provisions that would supersede the McCaun/Lautenberg bill and impose strong barriers to municipal networks. Note that Ensign was ranked #2 in SBC's 2004 campaign contributions while Representative Pete Sessions was ranked #1. Read the floor statement from Ensign, analysis by R.Koman (O'Reilly Network), Harold Feld (WetMachine), and the S.1504 text.
Unnamed draft from House Energy and Commerce Committee - This committee draft by Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) and John Dingell (D-Mich) defines a “broadband Internet transmission service” (BITS) as a packet-switched service (regardless of network technology) that offers subscribers the ability to send and receive packetized information such as VoIP, IPTV, and other Internet services. It would preempt the FCC and State or local governments from regulating the rates, charges, terms, or conditions for BITS or a BITS provider, except as expressly provided in the bill. It endorses a national franchise for IPTV, bans redlining, allows municipal broadband networks that compete fairly with private services, and supports network neutrality so BITS can't block consumers from accessing competing content or services. The draft is designed to prompt debate but has not yet been formally introduced. Read the independent analysis by Anne Broache (CNET News.com), Arshad Mohammed (Washington Post), and George Leopold (EE Times).
The European Union's "Broadband for All" policy is expected to foster growth and jobs in Europe.
Telecom Choice, Voice & Consumer Protection, with Proposals for Long-Term Solutions
USF Described as "Out of Control" Slush Fund, Teletruth opinion
Broadband Properties Magazine (special May 2005 issue with focus on Municipal Broadband)
Editorial: The Battle Over Public Broadband, by Steven Ross, Editor-in-Chief (well-balanced)
The Law: The Case For Municipal Broadband, by Carl Kandutsch
Opinion: The Case Against Public Broadband, by Dave McCure, President, US Internet Industry Association
Opinion: Deceptive Myths About Municipal Broadband, point and counter-point
Primer: A Mayor's Guide to Broadband: The Six Leading Access Technologies, by Sandy Teger and Dave Waks
Let the Towns Decide: Broadband Is Best for The Public "and" Business, by Pat Gelsinger, Intel Corporation
Consultant Advice: Get Your Community Ready for Business, by Andrew Cohill, Design Nine
Going with the Incumbent: Fort Wayne Connects with Verizon, by Graham Richard, Mayor
Open Access: Open Service Provider Network Concept, by Ben Gould, DynamicCity
Open Access: Open-Access Fiber for the Whole State, by Mark Daley, Opportunity Iowa
Open Access: It's the Law in Loma Linda, interview with James Hettrick, Director of Information Systems
Open Access: How Windom, Minnesota Built a FTTH Network , by John Gumpel, Primal Solutions
Baller Herbst Law Group, (resource list)
Bells dig in to dominate high-speed Internet realm, article by Leslie Cauley, USA Today, 1/3/2005
Best Performing Cities: Where America ’s Jobs are Created and Sustained, by Milken Institute (PDF)
Center for Research in Electronic Commerce, University of Texas
Cities brace for broadband war - c|net "political connections" special report with links to other c|net resources
Community Technology Center's Network, representing over 1,000 community technology centers
Community Network Issues & Answers, by Wayne Caswell for SaveMuniWireless.org
DailyWireless.org is an independent blog about municipal wireless, grass roots and community networks
Design Nine, private consulting company with good online library
Free American broadband!, essay by S. Derek Turner critiques American telecom policy and the FCC
FreePress.net aims to reform media through education and advocacy and by promoting independent media ownership
Governmental Participation in Telecommunications Services: A Policy Paper from the Illinois Municipal Utilities Association
How the Bells Stole America's Digital Future, by Bruce Kushnick, New networks Institute
Internet Telephone Service, VoIP policy report from New Democrats Online
It's Time to Own our own Last Mile, article by Robert X. Cringely, arguing for public ownership of information infrastructure
Iowa communities team to install own high-speed lines, 80 communities representing 25% of the state's population
Knowledge-Value Cities in the Digital Age, by Milken Institute (PDF)
Municipal Trends: Deployments by municipalities now serve a third of U.S. Homes passed by fiber.
Municipal Wireless Broadband: Policy and Business Implications of Emerging Access Technologies, by MIT team
Muni nets can work to incumbents' advantage, Telephony Online describes this new advice from Yankee Group
MuniWireless.com, reports on municipal wireless and broadband projects
New Networks Institute, Telecom & Broadband Research for the Public Interest
News Coverage from Texas Legislative Fight against House Bill 789
One Gigabit or Bust Initiative: A Broadband Vision for California, by CENIC and Gartner
Open Access Model: Best for Consumers, by Bill Zakowski, Amedia Networks
Rural/Urban Discrimination in US is actually widening, according to this editorial that counters misleading reports that "The use of high-speed Internet services is growing fast in rural America, partly closing the gap between country and city."
Rural & Underserved Populations have VARIOUS Broadband Communications Needs - from Municipal Networks Roundtable, 2/16/06
Rural Areas and the Internet, report by PEW Internet & American Life Project
Telecom Issues affecting Rural & Underserved Populations, FCC CAC 4/3/06
Telecommunications and Information Policy Center, University of Texas
TeleTruth, Alliance for Customers' Telecommunications Rights
The Free Expression Policy Project, NYC School of Law
Utah's Experiment with UTOPIA: Under Utah law, Municipalities Must Wholesale Their Bandwidth
UTOPIA, Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency deploys open access fiber for open competition
What's Going On in Community Media - The Benton Foundation shows how new media creates a public square where people can be heard – and hear each other.
Wireless Internet institute (W2i) promotes broadband wireless for better managed and safer cities.
Nuts and Bolts of Network Neutrality, by Edward W. Felten, Center for Information Technology Policy Department of Computer Science, Princeton University
Economic Analysis and Network Neutrality: Separating Empirical Facts from Theoretical Fiction
ItsOurNet.org is a nice site from a large coalition of companies supporting Net Neutrality
Network Neutrality: Fact vs. Fiction, Consumer groups tell why consumers demand Internet freedom.
Preserve the Internet Standards for Net Neutrality - Consumer advocates propose "Internet Platform for Innovation Act of 2006"
SaveTheInternet.com tells why Net Neutrality is needed
WeAreTheWeb.org promotes Net Neutrality with a funky video and links to other resources
Telecom Choice, Voice & Consumer Protection, with Proposals for Long-Term Solutions
The Inescapable Inevitability of Convergence argues that clean and over-provisioned networks perform better than ones with QoS
The Net @ Risk, a PBS special featuring Bill Moyers (includes other videos and links)
All Optic, FTTP solutions
BroadbandProperties.com Magazine - Building the Fiber-Connected Community (many great articles)
Fiber 101, tutorial by Corning
Fiber Optic Association - the non-profit professional society of fiber optics technicians (includes good links)
Fiber-to-the-Home: Technology You Need to Know, 30 min VIDEO WSNTV of Birmingham, Alabama
One Million Japanese Customers now have Fiber-to-the-Home, by Scott Wilkinson, Ph.D., Hitachi Telecom
Austin's Wireless Future, economic development initiative led by the IC2 Institute, University of Texas
Austin Wireless City, municipal project
NYCWireless, municipal project
Technology For All, a Houston public-private partnership
Wi-Fi Alliance, covering the 802.11 WLAN standard
WiMAX Forum, covering the 802.16 WMAN standard
Wireless Broadband, FCC Facts for Consumers and Local Governments
Wireless Communications Association International (WCA) is the non-profit association promoting the Wireless Broadband industry.
Wireless LAN Buyer’s Guide, by CAZITech Consulting
Broadband Over Powerlines: BPL going beyond lab & tech trials and into production rollouts, by Bruce Bahlmann
DistanceLearning EDU, online source of resources & information
EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit working to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.
Telework Association, European organization
Telework Beat, NetworkWorld column by Toni Kistner
Telehealth Center, Medical College of Georgia
A Broad-Based Group Bands Together to Support Community Broadband Choices
ACLU Texas, American Civil Liberties Union
Consumer Advocacy Groups (my own growing list)
With Congress ready to rewrite the Telecom Act of 1996, industry front groups paid by the cable and phone industries are spending millions every week to mislead the American public. Policy makers should beware of misinformation coming from organizations that conceal the fact that they represent incumbent service providers. They reference each other's reports and hire academic researchers to give their reports a sense of credibility and balance, and their front groups hide behind noble sounding names and populist messages while undermining the work of genuine consumer advocates. A deeper look at how these organizations are funded unveils their hidden agendas. Here are a few examples from many:
Industry propaganda is often riddled with half-truths and outright lies. Visit savetheinternet.com to understand opposing views from a consumer perspective, or read Network Neutrality: Fact vs. Fiction, a paper by Free Press, Consumers Union, and Consumer Federation of America.
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a membership based organization that publishes model legislation, including a Municipal Competition Act, which bans municipalities from installing broadband services that might compete with private service companies, even if they don't yet offer such service. What is not disclosed is that ALEC members include the incumbent carriers that will benefit from such a ban, and only members can view this model legislation.
Cato Institute promotes itself as a non-profit public policy research foundation that supports limited government. In order to appear independent, they accept no government funding, but they do get contributions from foundations, corporations, and individuals. Some of their biggest contributors include Comcast, Freedom Communications, SBC, Time Warner and Verizon.
Heartland Institute pretends to be scientific and objective but really represents industry clients, such as in their 2/1/2005 article, "Why Muni Wi-Fi Is a False Hope." The report is designed to scare consumers and policy makers with FUD (fear, uncertainty & doubt), saying that Muni Wi-Fi is yet another example of "government spending taxpayer dollars in questionable ways, using money they probably don’t have on a project that probably won’t work."
NetCompetition.org - "An eForum Promoting Competitive Internet Choices for Consumers." Sounds nice, but one sided and sponsored entirely by phone & cable companies to promote their business interests, not the public's interests.
New Millennium Research Council. In a report titled "Not in the Public Interest - The Myth of Municipal Wi-Fi Networks," the NMRC pretends to be unbiased but is anything but. NMRC is actually a subsidiary of Issue Dynamics, Inc. (IDI), a consumer and public affairs consulting firm that promotes solutions to complex policy issues, representing a client list that includes Ameritech, BellSouth, Comcast, Pacific Bell, Qwest, SBC, Sprint, U.S. West, Verizon, and Verizon Wireless.
Progress and Freedom Foundation. PFF describes itself as "a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its impact for public policy." They too have published reports that promote an agenda of clients such as Bell South, Comcast, Nextel, Qwest, SBC, Sprint, Time Warner, and Verizon.
Understanding opposing views from a consumer perspective:
Bell SkunkWorks 101 - Commentary on how ILECs influence political & public opinion
ILECs and their amazing astroturf machine - Commentary on how they influence political & public opinion
OpenSecrets.org - Your guide to the money in U.S. elections
Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: Telecom Industry Front Groups and Astroturf
SourceWatch - This collaborative project of the Center for Media and Democracy produces a directory of the people, organizations and issues shaping the public agenda. From this site:
Send mail toiinfo (AT) cazitech (DOT) commwith questions or comments about this web site. Last modified: 11/17/10