The government often gets involved in areas that affect the private sector, but the success of these “intrusions” is debatable. One area that seems to have captured our attention is the recent announcement by the FCC that it indeed has a “National Broadband Plan.” This plan seeks to expand the availability of high-speed Internet access and improve existing networks throughout the United States.
The plan is almost as robust (in length — it is 359 pages) as one of the various health care plans floating around Washington, but if you dig deep enough, you find that there is some real substance to it. In essence, the FCC is proposing steps that will increase speeds of existing broadband infrastructure, expand broadband operations to include rural areas, and to lower the costs associated with using high-speed Internet. The FCC states that broadband use in the U.S. should increase from 65 to 90 percent during this initiative.
So, how is this going to happen? According to the plan, taxpayers will only be asked to foot the bill for a new network of broadband for police and emergency workers. The rest is up to private industry (under the guidance of the federal government). The plan centers on promoting competition between providers and incentivizing communications companies to offer competitive pricing and service options. Telecommunications and Internet providers will in theory have greater incentive to expand into untapped rural markets, as well.
While this plan may not be perfect, it does seek to address a real concern. The Internet is increasingly becoming the center of our connected lives. It is our record store, local hang out, workplace, library, concert venue, news source, movie theater, and entertainment hub — all on one 12-plus-inch screen. For those of us connected via 56K or primitive DSL, the Internet is not reaching its full potential. Have you tried to watch an episode of “The Office” on Hulu.com with a dial-up connection? It isn’t exactly ideal. And neither is trying to keep up on the latest news or send photos of your new grandson. Something has to change.
We’ll see where this new plan takes us. Who knows if and when it will pass, be put into action, and start producing real results? In the meantime, Computer Problem Specialists may be able to help speed up your connection. We can’t run new broadband infrastructure to your home, but there are some things we might be able to suggest that will lighten your system’s burden and increase your online speed.
For a free analysis of your Internet speed, go to www.broadband.gov. If you need help while you wait for the government to ride in on its proverbial white horse, give us a call at (928) 468-0000.
Better days are coming, but it may not be on our timetable. Someone needs to speed up the federal government ... but until then, we’ll just settle for faster Internet connections.
Daniel Taft is the senior network administrator and member/owner of Computer Problem Specialists, LLC with a degree in applied computer science. His career spans more than 20 years.