U.S. Falling Behind World in Broadband Adoption, FCC Fears

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski addressed all comers to the Web 2.0 Summit with some dire news: the United States doesn’t seem to be doing too well with broadband adoption. The harsh criticism of current policies comes after the release of a study last year by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation that shows the U.S. falling behind in broadband development from 1999-2009.

GigaOM covered the speech, as well as rehashed the potential implications of these concerns,

Genachowski said the U.S. is struggling to contend with some of the forward-looking policies and progress of the 20th century, which are making it harder to push ahead with broadband in the 21st century. He flogged the need for spectrum and reiterated the need to take some of the spectrum set aside for the television industry and move it over to serve the needs of mobile broadband, a process the FCC is working on with broadcasters. The dependence on copper for voice and DSL has also hampered the growth of broadband, which he said requires “fatter pipes.”

Included in his speech were some crumbs tossed to the net neutrality discussion and why the FCC has appeared to have been dragging its feet getting regulations set up to protect customers. The current U.S. Congress has shifted somewhat and this has slowed the FCC’s response to the needs of the broadband industry—with an eye for profiteers and large corporations watching their margins. He also mentioned that the Verizon-Google deal over wireless broadband also placed a major crimp in a resolution.

“It would be nice if Chairman Genachowski took note of the cooperation he is getting on the spectrum issue – and realized he is getting no such cooperation on Net Neutrality and his attempts to grab the power necessary to impose it.  Seton Motley, President of lessgovernment.org weighs in.  There is in fact tremendous bipartisanship – in opposition to his plans to reclassify broadband. Here’s hoping it finally sinks in, and his push to commandeer the Internet comes to an end.”

Even with net neutrality still in the wind, the general tide of innovation seems to be leaving the U.S. behind and as it does major corporations may continue to jump ship to other countries that are better connected.

The United States, the FCC says, we can rebuild her: faster, smarter, and more optic than before. We just need to buckle down, before more major companies take their executives out of country because we’re still muddling through the 20th century and it’s time to move into the 21st.

About Kyt Dotson

Technology and civilization walk hand in hand and civilization is nothing without the skin of society, brushing up against itself, speaking strange nothings across dimly lit avenues and computer screens. If we're going to understand ourselves in this digital era, it will be through watching the adoption of technology by people to express themselves as people. I am an anthropologist and an author of science fiction and fantasy--and with my technology, I hope to open up new and exciting worlds that will not just enlighten the humanity of my friends and fans but also educate and enhance the expression of their own personhood. Find more of my work on Google+; send tips to @kytsune.