Indicators of Broadband Needs sheds light on low-income areas with limited broadband use. It doesn’t answer questions about how much money we need to spend on infrastructure, what speeds such spending should target, whether the providers should be public or private, and how such money should be spent.
The way forward is to prioritize urgent needs over long term visions. In cases where a new wireline network is the only solution that will get a rural community online, of course that network needs to be all fiber and potentially symmetrical. But such cases are rare.
While we have work to do in rural and poor America, we are not at a point where we can afford to turn our backs on emerging technologies in favor of a zombie broadband plan born in the last millennium.
Barring the advent of some new technology that allows you and your neighbors to use the same band at the same time with absolutely no interference, this is all there is. We will have have such a technology someday, but we quite have it yet.
Municipal broadband overbuilders such as Chattanooga Tennessee, Longmont Colorado, and Fort Collins Colorado are in the curious position of acting as both marketplace regulators and market participants.