The National Public Radio (NPR) interview of Thomas Bleha last Saturday should be a wake-up call the US government. Bleha’s recent book entitled Overtaken on the Information Superhighway was the subject of the NPR interview and actually not a major surprise. The Internet may have invented in the US, but today the US lags behind in providing high speed broadband access. Among other things, Bleha commented that Clinton Administration made the Internet a high priority but went on to blame the Bush Administration that was just not interested and relied on private business to build a high speed Internet network in the US, but that never happened.

US Government Appears Paralyzed

The US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) just reported to the Congress that there are about 2,200 grant applications to fund broadband infrastructure which total about $28 billion although only $4 billion is currently available (of the total $7.2 billion allocated). So the NTIA is wading through these grant applications and as result delaying the process even further. The Federal Communications Commission issued a report about the same time that “a lack of a broadband subsidy program… contributed to gaps in broadband adoption in the U.S.” In the meantime nothing is moving ahead!

What’s Going Elsewhere?

The UK still plans to bring broadband internet service to every home by 2012, but it does not seem likely in the US in foreseeable future at all. Bleha pointed out that the average Internet speed in the US is 5 megabits per second, but in Japan the average Internet speed is 60 megabits per second…a whopping 12 times faster. As a result Japan can provide great Internet services of all sorts. Clearly something has to change to improve broadband Internet in the US, but when?

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