“It’s been running slow all week,” Settles said in an interview. “People have been going to [the online application process] and having problems. There has also been an issue because everyone is super paranoid. It’s been clear from the beginning if there is a technical error, if you omit some data or it is not formatted correctly, your application will be rejected.”
As a result, Settles said, many of the applicants are actually submitting multiple applications to cover different parts of their broadband projects rather than putting all their eggs in one application basket and then seeing that application rejected on a technicality.
While the extension is a smart move, the question remains whether one week will be long enough.
Yesterday, news broke that Qwest—the nation’s third-largest provider—would not be applying for the first rounds of federal stimulus grants. Now, the Washington Post reports, major providers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast are planning on sitting out as well.
The Commerce and Agriculture departments say that the national broadband plan can still succeed without the big players, but some analysts aren’t so sure. From the Post:
“If you want to get broadband out, you have to do it with [those] who brought you to the dance in the first place, and in this case it is the incumbent cable and telephone carriers who have 85 percent of lines in the country,” said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington tech policy think tank. “This is not basket weaving. This is really complex and intensive technical stuff that takes a fair amount of sophistication and scale to be able to do right and to continue to upgrade.”
Denver-based Qwest (NYSE: Q), the nation’s third-largest local phone company, sat out the first round and appears to have joined the ranks of telecoms that would like to see the rules changed for future rounds of the broadband stimulus program.
“We continue to support the use of program proceeds to facilitate the deployment of broadband services to unserved consumers,” said Steve Davis, Qwest’s senior VP for public policy, in a written statement. “However, upon evaluation of the funding opportunity and the various requirements for participation, we were unable to make the business case for filing an application for more rural opportunities.”
28 years ago today, a little gadget called the IBM 5150 PC made its debut. By the very next year, the personal computer had gone from a toy for hobbyists and geeks to the major force in business—so much so that in 1982, Time magazine declared the computer was “Man of the Year.”
Happy birthday, mighty 5150. Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Tomorrow was the deadline for sending proposals to the NTIA for the initial round of federal stimulus grants. But due to the sheer number of proposals—and the overwhelming strain they’re causing on NTIA/RUS servers—the deadline is being extended to Thursday, August 20 at 5 pm Eastern.
Here are the schedule and speakers for tomorrow’s national broadband plan workshop (all times Eastern):
TECHNOLOGY: FIXED BROADBAND
Julius Knapp, moderator
Panel 1: Mobile Broadband
Dr. Victor Frost, Program Director, Network Technologies, National Science Foundation
Bill St. Arnaud, CRO Canarie
Adam Drobot, CTO Telcordia
Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Google
John T. Chapman, Chief CMTS Architect, Cisco
Henning Schulzrinne, Professor, Columbia University
Paul Misener, VP Global Public Policy, Amazon
Panel 2: Fixed Broadband Technologies
David Burstein, Editor, DSL Prime
Dr. Paul Henry, Broadband Wireless Systems Research Division, AT&T
Mark DePietro, VP Strategy/Business Development, Broadband Home Solutions, Motorola
Marc Goldburg, CTO, Assia (DSL)
Jason Livingood, Exec. Director ,Internet Engineering, Comcast
David Young, Vice President, Verizon
Geoff Burke, Senior Director, Corporate Marketing, Calix
Stuart Lipoff, President, IP Action Partners
TECHNOLOGY: WIRELESS BROADBAND
Julius Knapp, moderator
Panel 1: Mobile Broadband
Kristin Rinne, Senior VP Architecture and Planning, AT&T
Sten Andersson, Head of Wireless Networks Solutions, Ericsson
Barry West, President - International, Clearwire
Scott Corson, Vice President of Engineering, Qualcomm Flarion Technologies
Milo Medin, CTO, M2Z
Tom Anderson, Head of Architecture for Mobility, Office of CTO, Alcatel-Lucent
Panel 2: Rural Broadband
Mark D. Dankberg, CEO, ViaSat
Jim O’Connor, Director, CPE Engineering and Planning, Open Range Communications
Richard Keith, Senior Director of Strategy, Motorola
Vanu Bose, President and CEO, Vanu Inc.
P. Kelley Dunne, CEO, Digital Bridge
Mark A. McHenry, Ph.D, President and CTO, Shared Spectrum Company
Brett Glass, CEO, Lariat.net
Regarding the issue of broadband adoption — and how to get people without broadband excited about having it — Moffett looked beyond geography and noted some key differences between the United States and Western Europe, including a wider income distribution, and the number of U.S. homes currently living below the poverty line. Often overlooked, according to Moffett, is the unfortunate number of people in the U.S. who are illiterate — higher than most other OECD countries — which is largely contributing to slower broadband adoption. The good news is that, although the Internet is still primarily an experience of the written word, Moffett believes that as it becomes more entertainment oriented, adoption rates may climb.
Another roadblock Moffett mentioned was the cost structure of the network — specifically related to high-bandwidth applications and the wireless web. Because carriers are unable to charge enough make up for the cost of their capital investments and a limited capacity on the wireless spectrum, Moffett expects usage caps to be coming to wireless networks, and that for the immediate future at least, wirelines will continue to be the Internet workhorses rather than wireless. This will in turn affect how app designers operate, as the market isn’t yet sufficient for deploying advanced, bandwidth-intensive apps.
We’ll soon have a video interview with Craig Moffett about his remarks to the FCC. And if you missed today’s national broadband workshop, a transcript and video archive of the meeting is available at the FCC’s national broadband plan site.
John Horrigan, Associate Director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, discusses Pew’s research on broadband usage and distribution in America. Broadband adoption has increased in 2009 because people now see broadband as a must have utility, a valuable healthcare tool, and a conduit for economic opportunity even in lean times.
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