In keeping with the neo-Socialist principles of the Liberals, President-elect Obama is pushing hard for a stimulus package that is essentially a modern version of FDR’s “New Deal”, which created a federal welfare state, devalued Us currency by ending the gold standard and ended prohibition. Obama has pledged that his incoming administration would make the largest “investment” in national infrastructure projects since the late 1950s. Among these projects is a plan for expanding access to Internet broadband, the so-called information superhighway.
Leaving aside for the moment all the “brick & mortar” projects Obama wants to use taxpayers’ money to fund, let’s look to the future in the form of “expanding access to Internet broadband.”
During the Great Depression and FDR’s resultant reactionary New Deal, the US Federal government tried to revive the American economy with the public work projects, this ended up paying people to dig unneeded ditches, ditches to nowhere. It is likely that Obama’s plan for expanding access to broadband internet services will end up in a similar fashion, having built “information superhighways to nowhere.” President-elect Barack Obama and many Liberal want to spend billions of tax dollars on a nationwide broadband build-out as part of his planned economic stimulus package. But how do we ensure that those billions aren’t spent creating the 21st century equivalent of ditches to nowhere?
Essentially the question of how to spend the money is not one that can be answered. The underlying coverage and usage data is just not available. Only a tiny few know anything substantive about the internet’s actual infrastructure and those that do know aren’t sharing that information with policymakers, regulators, or their competitors.
The FCC has essentially created a fictional story about broadband’s growth and deployment. Had the FCC done the actual work to examine the history of broadband and then questioned why America was not getting properly upgraded, we wouldn’t be 15th in the world in broadband.
— Bruce Kushnick
An Alliance for Customers’ Telecommunications Rights
Earlier FCC found that its data collection on internet broadband was incomplete and thus ruled that AT&T, Qwest and Verizon could stop filing some reports – because the reporting requirements did not extend to cable companies, as well as more traditional telecommunications companies.
Without public data how can the US federal government find anything close to best way of making the internet more resilient, accessible and secure? With little or no data to work from and the very real probability of this being a useless waste of tax dollars, this does sound a lot like a 21st century version of FDR’s New Deal.