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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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February 23, 2009 9:59 AM

Dear USBBC: Let's Build a Bold National Broadband Strategy Together

This is an open letter to all current and future members of the US Broadband Coalition.

Last week I shared how the lack of a national broadband strategy cost our industry billions of dollars in the economic stimulus package.

This week I want to throw down the gauntlet at the feet of not only the US Broadband Coalition but also all the state-level coalitions that are trying to bring together broadband players around the same table.

First off, we must all recognize how far we've already come. Just getting everyone in the same room is an accomplishment. For too long we've been talking past each other, arguing through our legislators, and not engaging in enough direct dialogue. But today that first hurdle is already being overcome.

Secondly, now that we're talking we must recognize the importance of trying to understand the needs, desires, and motivations of the other side of the table. We can't afford to continue caricaturing those with differing views from our own as being bloodthirsty capitalists or idealistic socialists.

At the same time, thirdly we must acknowledge that in order to achieve consensus no one side is going to be able to get everything they want in exactly the way they want it. Instead what's needed is to have everyone involved in this effort examine what it is they really want. What's most important to you, not in terms of specific legislation but instead in terms of the results. So for deployers that could mean getting more capital available to support deployment, more incentives to reward upgrades, and insuring that any new network management rules put in place don't hinder their ability to run and monetize their networks. For public interest groups that could mean getting the most bandwidth and the most competition out of the broadband marketplace and insuring that the public interest is protected from monopolistic providers.

Notice how I didn't mention any specifics like grants or tax credits or net neutrality legislation. We need to take a step back and focus on goals first before getting into the specifics of how to accomplish them as there may be ways of getting where we want to go that we haven't thought of yet. We're not at a point where we can say that we know all the details of what we need to do. Instead we must first come to consensus on where we want to go, and then we can figure out how to get there.

Finally, we need to get everyone involved in this process, which is why I also addressed this letter to future members of the US Broadband Coalition. The bigger we can make our tent, the more voices we can add to our chorus, the stronger we will be and the better our chances of affecting truly transformative change in the way government supports broadband. Because of this I want to encourage all current members of the Coalition to look at the current list of signatories and if there's anyone missing you think should be involved go make sure they know about these efforts and ask them to join in.

Together I'm a believer that we can accomplish anything, from bringing ultra high-speed broadband to every corner of our great nation; to getting every last man, woman, and child online to using broadband to better their lives; to resolving even the most contentious of policy issues like net neutrality.

Together our industry can not just further our own goals but in doing so help further efforts to improve all facets of our society, whether it be modernizing our education system, greening our economy, growing our businesses, or improving our healthcare system.

Together we can create a comprehensive national broadband strategy that will position America to slingshot itself back into the leadership position in the drive towards the establishment of the 21st century digital economy.

We can no longer afford to allow ourselves to be fractured and warring. Now is the time to stand together shouting one message supported by a thousand voices: Broadband is good! Broadband is great! Through broadband our future is secure! Through broadband our future is bright! And through broadband anything is possible!

I look forward to working with all of you as co-chair of the Implementation Working Group of the US Broadband Coalition with the incomparable Diane Duffy. Together we can all enable a better tomorrow through broadband, empowering generations to come to continue living in the greatest country on Earth.

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Comments (1)

I stand beside you in your plea to bring all the parties to the table. To that end I think a face to face sit down away from DC might be the best idea to begin to get things rolling.
I recommend that we meet in Atlanta. It allows easy airport access and for some is not a long drive for many of us.

Let's get going.

Jerry Baxley

Posted by Jerry Baxley on February 24, 2009 11:45 AM

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