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.

« The Best Billion We Can Spend On Rural Broadband | Main | We Can't Afford To Short Change Rural America »

February 6, 2009 10:00 AM

Why Hide Competitive Data When We Want Competition?

Last night I had an epiphany about broadband mapping.

The challenge has long been that broadband providers refuse to make the data in their service maps transparent to the public. Their stated reason for this refusal is that this data is competitive intelligence.

But wait a minute: isn't the whole point of mapping broadband availability to spur deployment and competition?

Don't get me wrong, if I was an incumbent provider, there's no way I'd willingly give up my data. There's little upside to doing so unless I'm ready to start going hard after my competitors and they're forced to show their cards as well.

But from a policymaker's point of view, how is it we've come to accept that private providers making this data public is a bad thing when doing so would almost certainly lead to more competition?

The precise reason private providers don't want to give up this data is why they should have to.

And if we still can't get them to belly up to the bar then we need to go about gathering our own data and making it completely transparent as doing so will have a huge impact on broadband competition without us having to lay a single new pipe.

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


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (2)

Amen, Geoff!

I wholeheartedly agree with your rhetorical suggestion that "how is it we've come to accept that private providers making this data public is a bad thing when doing so would almost certainly lead to more competition?"

In fact, the FCC (even under Kevin Martin) agreed with you, too -- or at least your analysis that it would lead to more competition!

Reacting to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit (filed by the Center for Public Integrity, when I was working there), the agency's legal briefings argued that releasing the data would lead to competition in communications – which was why it couldn’t release the data!

“Disclosure could allow competitors to free ride on the efforts of the first new entrant to identify areas where competition is more likely to be successful,” the agency told the federal district court in Washington.

It's inexcusable broadband carriers have been able to ride the "broadband mapping" wave -- without once agreeing to provide public data about where they offer and don't offer service.

Your readers can help make a difference in transparent broadband mapping by Taking the Broadband Census today, at http://broadbandcensus.com/census/form.

Posted by Drew Clark on February 8, 2009 7:35 PM

Funny that you had an epiphany and realized a fundamental part of the debate over Form 477 -- something that has been discussed for years. It's as if you stormed into Ford Motors exclaiming you've made a wonderful new discovery -- the wheel!

Posted by Bill Dollar on February 8, 2009 9:25 PM

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.)