Why is this page text-only?


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.

« CableCo's - Stop Claiming You're All About Fiber! | Main | Qwest Also Claims Fiber Optic Mantle - It's Time to Drop The Acronyms »

August 27, 2008 9:10 AM

Mark Warner Praises Broadband; Arizona Lags Behind

In touching upon the presidential elections, I've tried to stay nonpartisan, focusing solely on which candidate appears most ready to tackle the challenge of being the first broadband president. Even though Obama likely has my vote for other reasons, I don't want that to color my efforts to identify the best candidate and party for the future of broadband in America.

Yet at the same time, it's impossible to ignore the growing gap between the left and the right on this most crucial issue.

Last evening Mark Warner delivered what I thought was the line of the night: "We delivered broadband to the most remote areas of our state, because if you can send a job to Bangalore, India, you sure as heck can send one to Danville, VA and Flint, MI, and Scranton, PA, and Peoria, IL. In a global economy, you should not have to leave your home town to find a world-class job."

He then goes on to cite Lebanon, VA as an example of broadband's transformative potential for making small towns economically viable, which you can read more about here.

I found it tremendously encouraging that Warner decided to elevate discussions about broadband to a central plank of the Democract Party's platform, though there were also a few disappointments. First off, he didn't go any further in explaining how broadband can transform healthcare, education, government, etc. Secondly, while I didn't listen to everyone's speech, from what I did hear there was no mention of broadband by anyone else. And thirdly, when Warner hit the broadband portion of his speech, the applause was rather tepid, suggesting the audience still doesn't get it.

But at least they're talking about it and presumably are interested in moving forward with an aggressive broadband agenda.

Then there's the other side. Mere hours before I watched Warner trumpet the promise of broadband, I read this article about how Arizona's public schools, especially those in poorer areas, were lagging behind when it comes to access to robust broadband due at least in part to a lack of federal funding.

Now, in no way am I trying to pin blame for this entirely on Senator McCain. There have been many factors that led to Arizona's being behind the broadband curve. Nor am I suggesting that no progress is happening as in that article it cites at least one school district that's ahead of that curve, equipping all students with their own laptops.

But at the same time, this shows quite clearly Senator McCain's lack of leadership on broadband-related issues. If broadband and the use of technology were a higher priority for him, he could've been working to change this detrimental status quo by helping Arizona garner more federal funds to supply the computers and connectivity that are so desperately needed.

If Senator McCain thought the availability of broadband was important he wouldn't of allowed his home state to fall into this situation. He would've rightly realized that without broadband, Arizona's children will lag behind their neighbors in other states as well as their competitors around the globe.

But despite this lack of action, I'm more than willing to change my mind on McCain if he comes to see the light. And this article could be the perfect jumping off place for him to do so. He should make the plight of Arizona schools a central part of his platform, holding them up as an example of our poor stewardship when it comes to our country's broadband infrastructure and living proof of the need for action.

Senator McCain - It's not too late to start understanding why broadband's important, how it can help our cities and states, and what we can and should be doing to further its use. If you want to learn more and show your willingness to at least try and understand these revolutionary changes, just ask! I'm happy to help answer any questions you might have.

We're not asking that you instantly know everything or that you blindly start supporting broadband as an ultimate good without any bad. All we're asking is that you wake up to the plight of the children in your own state and understand that by ignoring these issues you're doing a disservice to the next generation of America.

And if that's the attitude you're going to take into the White House in January, then I can not vote for you in November.

Del.icio.us Digg Yahoo! My Web Seed Newsvine reddit Technorati


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)