Why is this page text-only?


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.

« Cable's Big Bandwidth Problem | Main | America's International Internet Advantage »

February 11, 2008 9:15 AM

Broadband Access: Not the First Thing on Voters' Minds

Last week I found a short post by Ann Treacy on the Blandin on Broadband blog about an eye-opening fact: only one percent of America think that broadband access is an issue.

Actually, that number's even more startling considering the source - the EETimes, which credits itself as being the source for global news for the creators of technology.

Not only that but broadband scored its one percent competing against nine other technology-related issues; so it couldn't even move the needle when competing against tech issues to a techie audience.

To show how low the Internet ranked, the issue of Internet policy didn't even register one percent.

On the one hand these results frustrate me as they highlight the continuing lack of understanding and fervor around the potential of broadband to impact all aspects of technology development and beyond in a positive way.

On the other, not only am I not all that surprised by these results, but I think they demand we reconsider how far we've come and how far we still have to go in creating a nation of broadband believers.

The simple truth is that the vast majority of Americans think that they have all the broadband that they need.

More places than not have at least one provider, and many have two or more.

You can get 750Kbps and higher, which can handle basic Internet traffic just fine, and at a price that isn't unreasonable for a large percentage of customers.

The average joe doesn't know why they'd want, let alone need, more capacity. And that applies to at least some portion of the tech elite as well.

Because of this I think it's important that we temper our efforts to lament over the current state of American broadband and to be prophets for the potential of big broadband. I fear that sometimes we go overboard in talking about how bad things will be if we don't act now, and in turn cause the American public to collectively shrug their shoulders at a problem they don't really see as being a problem today.

Our focus in talking about why we need more broadband should stay on exploring all the good that's possible through more broadband to try and increase understanding of and demand for the broadband we all want to see come to life in America.

I understand that this is a very urgent issue with potentially devastating consequences in the global 21st century economy for our country, but I worry that if we spend too much time trying to sound the alarm to a disinterested and more importantly largely satisfied public, our cries for movement and action will fall on deaf ears.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (2)

What this country needs, is a blogger from Japan to share daily reminders of what it's like to live in a world with a true broadband infrastructure. Do you know anyone? I'll be delighted to feature him/her on my site. Let me know if you come across something interesting.

Posted by Tom Poe on February 11, 2008 11:09 AM

The EETimes article/poll had users choose "the most important" policy issue, and the economy was one of those choices. Picking "the economy" over broadband policy is a no-brainer (notwithstanding that the two are linked). I'd be hesitant to read too much into the 1 percent angle.

But I agree with your general point.

Posted by Casey Lide on February 12, 2008 11:27 AM

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.)