Wednesday, July 23, 2008

CostQuest Study: United States Lacks National Broadband Policy

CostQuest Associates, a national telecommunications cost consulting and software company, released results today of a 50 state survey conducted earlier this year. the survey was done to try and understand individual state policies to expand high-speed Internet availability. The survey was conducted over a six week period this past spring and involved (depending on the state) public utility commissions, legislators, governor's offices and various task forces. Overall, the survey concluded although most states have undertaken broadband initiatives, there is neither a single national model nor a consensus on best practices.

Here's some highlights from the survey report:

At least 39 of the 50 states have some form of broadband initiative in place, either through legislation or through a more informal effort to increase broadband access.

Only 10 of the 50 states have undertaken a definitive broadband mapping effort.

Only a select few have looked at the cost to deploy broadband in the currently unserved areas so as to provide information to encourage private capital as well as delineating the issue to determine if state assistance is needed in uneconomic areas.

According to Jim Stegeman, president of CostQuest Associates:

Most states are searching for ‘best practices’ and those currently developing broadband initiatives have taken an ‘a la carte’ approach, selecting elements of programs from other states. Many states are still in the planning stages, but there does not seem to be a one-size-fits all approach.

Stegeman also says:

By surveying what other states are doing, we are able to give federal policy makers a snapshot of how individual states are approaching broadband deployment with limited resources.

Take a look at the two page survey summary results linked here.

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