Friday, April 12, 2013

Let the free market decide? Job killing 22nd place in Broadband Access Due to Unprofitable Rural Areas.

Just like electricity was some 80 years ago, the roll out of broadband to rural areas today is not profitable or in the best interest of our telecommunication giants. So surprise, we've still got a problem.

Democrats have pushed to bring inexpensive service to rural and uncovered areas of Wisconsin, only to get blasted for their efforts. State Republicans have even tried to get the state out of the internet provider business when it comes to schools, libraries, etc. which get service at a reduced rate, whining it’s unfairly competing with private providers.

How’s that free market working out?  Again, Republicans are on the wrong side of this issue and have killed jobs and held back the economy. Conversely, Democrats have done nothing to make this a campaign issue.

Lack of Broadband Access Killing Business, Big Surprise:
jsonline-Rick Barrett: A lack of reliable and affordable broadband service in many areas in Wisconsin is hampering the ability of individuals and businesses to capitalize on new technologies … Wisconsin ranks 22nd among states in average broadband speed and 26th in adoption of broadband service faster than 4 megabits per second.

Those aren't encouraging numbers as Wisconsin strives to compete in a national and global economy, said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., a quasi public agency that represents business interests. "People want to work and live where there is quality and affordable broadband. Businesses have not yet started because of a lack of broadband in some areas of the state," Hall said. "I really think areas of the state that don't have adequate broadband are at a disadvantage. A lot of companies don't want to move to regions because broadband isn't there," Hall said.
Let the Free Market Work-Stimulus a waste of money and a boondoggle? And yet Republican policies have encouraged this disparity. Will they get the political blow back they deserve, and will Democrats point out how backward this conservative policy is?
Other communities and broadband providers have used federal stimulus money to expand service.
Let the Free Market Work-Small government Republicans Turned Down Help:
But state officials turned down a $23 million federal grant aimed at delivering broadband to more schools and libraries. Among other things, federal officials wanted a commitment that the infrastructure the grant would fund would be used 20 years or more. Otherwise, Wisconsin would have to repay the money.
Republicans Balk at lack of ability to sell off the taxpayer built infrastructure to freeloading telecommunication Giants:
"The details associated with that grant, and the strings attached to it, made it unworkable. It was the right decision to send the money back," said Bill Esbeck, executive director of the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association, which represents broadband providers in rural areas. He disagrees with the assessment that large parts of rural Wisconsin lack broadband.
Telecommunication Giant behind the Curtain: We don’t have a problem? Until it’s profitable, expansion has been put off:
Last fall, some providers said they might cancel or delay expansions because of changes aimed at bringing an $8 billion Universal Service Fund into the digital age … providers said they couldn't predict how much of the money would be available to subsidize rural broadband projects. That made them hesitant to invest in expansions costing millions of dollars.

Hall says expanding the service in rural areas is comparable to the expansion of the electrical grid in the 1930s. "To me, it's the next frontier. And it's just as important," Hall said.

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