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Broadband Issues for President Obama

president-barak-obama-broadband-issues-inauguration

The historic swearing-in of President Barak Obama has taken place, and now it’s time for the real work to begin. Alongside war and a tumbling economy, several broadband issues face President Obama in both the short and long term. There’s the broadcast DTV transition scheduled for next month that may now be postponed until June. In addition to the very real concerns about whether we’re ready to handle the ending of an analog era (at least where broadcast TV is concerned), lawmakers and the new administration must weigh the effects of a digital delay on new mobile broadband initiatives. How important is a four-month delay in spectrum availability?

Next up: the issue of increasing broadband access and download speeds. Competitiveness in the global market is increasingly tied to broadband connectivity. And while the US made impressive progress on the speed front in 2008, there’s still room for improvement, particularly where rural access is concerned. How will the new administration navigate through legislative proposals to find a solution that moves us quickly and effectively forward?

Finally, there is the long-term issue of how to regulate content delivery on broadband networks. Cynthia Brumfield brought this issue to the fore in a policy symposium last year that included discussion among several former FCC officials. Content, and specifically video content, is now coming across broadband pipes in two different ways: through traditional cable/telco broadcast TV and over the Internet through broadband data channels. How do we support ongoing maintenance and development of our broadband infrastructure and balance that against a desire to see more free “over-the-top” content? How do we keep up entrepreneurial innovation while still recognizing that broadband delivery is a capital-intensive business, and that broadband operators bear a large part of the financial burden? What role should government play?

There is good reason for President Obama to add a CTO to his circle of advisers. The issues we face in broadband alone are exceedingly complex.

Side Note: Speaking of today’s inauguration, I watched much of it in high-def on my new netbook thanks to streaming feeds from CBS3.com and an open Wi-Fi hotspot. The video was beautifully delivered.

One Response

  1. […] Broadband Issues for President Obama The historic swearing-in of President Barak Obama has taken place, and now it’s time for the real work to begin. Alongside war and a tumbling economy, several broadband issues face President Obama in both the short and long term. There’s the broadcast DTV transition scheduled for next month that may now be postponed until June. Next up: the issue of increasing broadband access and download speeds. AT&T’s Fiber Rollout Increasing Digital Divide AT&T likes to brag that they now offer U-verse to over 17 million households, but after two years, they’ve still only managed to sign up 1 million subscribers. While 17 million households sounds like a pretty significant footprint, if you’re not in one of the higher tax brackets, you are probably still waiting for super fast internet access. Placeshifting BeyondTV to the Mac This feature makes it possible for Mac OS X users to watch recorded shows served up by a BeyondTV computer over the internet. It’s a pretty easy process that requires BeyondTV on the home PC and VLC on the place-shifting computer. […]

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