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Geoff Daily

App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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June 23, 2008 3:36 PM

Penetration of Internet Access Not Enough

I just got back from a thrilling event up on the Hill that marked the introduction of a new paper commissioned by the e-NC Authority and put together by Jim Baller and Casey Lide. I'll have lots more coverage of that event and analysis of Jim's paper later today and tomorrow as there was an unbelievable number of interesting things said, but for now there's one point I want to share.

In his remarks, Jim referred to the SETDA report that I wrote about this morning. He made a point that I totally missed in my initial reading of it.

In the report they state that 98% of schools have Internet access, but that that isn't enough.

That shows remarkable foresight on the part of the SETDA. They recognize that simply having access is only one part of the equation, and that what's as important is the need for a strategy to not only reach 100% of schools but to get in place networks that can support speeds that are exponentially faster than the current standard of T-1s.

They don't spend a lot of time proclaiming "Mission Accomplished" because they realize that the goals for their initial mission of connecting schools have expanded.

It's not enough to set one goal a decade ago, work towards accomplishing it, and then wiping our hands and walking away. These goals must evolve over time alongside the demands that new applications are putting on network capacity.

The challenge, of course, is does that mean we'll never reach a state where we can be satisfied with the connectivity we have? To be honest, I don't know. But I do know that if we accept what we have today -- access that is generally universal with speeds that are somewhat tolerable -- that we'll miss out on the opportunity to realign our goals with the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

And in schools in particular, we can not allow that to happen.

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