The priority for Congress in the Wednesday hearing to to draw a bright line between network projects in legitimate need of federal support for construction, technical capacity development, and backhaul and those, like Loveland, that are simply vanity projects.
When we begin with the requirements we quickly find that there are many ways to satisfy them. At this point it’s more prudent to continue to rely on innovation to meet needs rather than declare one and only one technology the permanent victor.
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.
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.
It behooves us to be realistic, to assess facts honestly, and to avoid rushing to solve non-existent problems while real needs remain unaddressed. The Internet works fine for those of us who have it, but it doesn’t work at all for the rest of us.
At least part of this problem will depend on making the necessary enhancements to the Internet architecture that will enable us to provide a kid-safe Internet experience. This may be the hardest part, actually, because it’s the only part that’s not simply a matter of money.