Mr. President, Put Broadband’s Destiny in Communities’ Hands

Last month I wrote that broadband needs a JFK, meaning it needs a visionary and political champion to articulate a goal for broadband that’s almost as awe-inspiring and mountain-moving as our goal to land on the moon set by JFK in 1961. So I was pretty pleased to hear broadband get a shout out from the podium at President Obama’s SOTU speech.

Within the next five years, we’ll make it possible for businesses to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all Americans. This isn’t just about —  this isn’t about faster Internet or fewer dropped calls. It’s about connecting every part of America to the digital age.

I didn’t have a John Boehner misty-eyed lip-quiver moment, but the moment was a little warm and fuzzy. I got a call from a White House staffer right before Christmas to talk about broadband strategy, I asked them if they’d seen the JFK post, and was happy to hear that a few eyeballs there had checked it out. Sometimes it’s the little wins that keep inspiring us toward the big victories.

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Past is Prologue: Advancing Broadband in 2011

As we roll into 2011 and another year of communities’ forward progress in the pursuit of broadband, it is helpful to take some time in January to calibrate our vision and plans to achieve those ends.

Last year in the heat of broadband stimulus craziness, I wrote numerous posts offering tips on how to create better grant applications. Much of this advice is applicable in the broader realm of planning by any community or entity wanting to build a network and deploy broadband services. I present six posts here that I feel are particularly helpful.

Read (or re-read) these, pass them on to your project team and stakeholders and get ready to get down in 2011.

It Does Matter How You Say It

Incorporate the three brief but powerful recommendations presented here into all of your written material and verbal presentations pertaining to your broadband project. You’ll be more likely to generate financial, marketing, operational and other success.

Google’s Gonna Do what!?

Google managed to steal the spotlight for a while during the stimulus program. In assessing the potential impact of their move, I offer another three recommendations broadband project teams should adhere to while laying their plans’ foundation.

National Broadband Plan? Think Globally, Act Locally.

This is my first take on the Plan. As Washington continues to disappoint us and incumbents continue to aggravate us, I believe even more strongly now that every community’s motto should be: If broadband is to be, it is up to me. Many constituents have a role to play.

Even Broadband Can Use a 12-Step Program

A skeleton upon which you can add the meat of your broadband strategy plan.

Tips for Maximizing Service Providers’ Role in Community Broadband

At a May workshop attended by many California folks who had already moved beyond hope for stimulus money and were exploring broadband tactics “for the rest of us,” local and regional service providers offered good advice on partnership development.

The Old Spice Man, the FCC’s 706 and Broadband

Speed was always an issue during the stimulus since the goals were so pathetically low, and as the program wound down, the National Broadband Plan pointed to the next multi-billion dollar funding program for which low speed goals could again be an issue. I drew a parallel to the Old Spice Man as clear indicator of why 4Mbps sucks as a goal.

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