Friday, January 9, 2009

$44 Million Broadband Stimulus, with Telco Sock Puppets?

HuffPo's Craig Aaron:

I touted the detailed plan put forward by colleague S. Derek Turner, which proposes $44 billion in broadband stimulus spending, and I listed some of the key elements -- such as future-proof speeds, universal service, and no blank checks -- that must be part of any legislation.

But I forgot to include an important warning: Beware of sock puppets.

Sock puppets, for those unfamiliar with the creatures commonly found inside the Beltway, are mouthpieces who rent out their academic or political credentials to argue pro-industry positions. These pay-to-sway professionals issue white papers, file comments with key agencies, and present themselves to the press as independent analysts. But their views have a funny way of shifting depending on who's writing the checks.
I'm very excited about a long overdue push for broadband saturation and improved services (and competition), but no checks against handing large sums over to Telco's - themselves responsible for the sluggish growth and lack of innovation- is like asking Dick Cheney to hold the Constitution and a box of matches while you clean the air-tight display case.


  1. Qwest has already starting lobbying for a piece of the action. I can't imagine an outcome much worse than them getting some of the guvmint cheese.

  2. Is there a competition for best simile of the week? Dick Cheney, the Constitution, and a box of matches...

  3. Jesse,

    I can imagine an outcome that would be worse than letting Qwest get some guvmint cheese: letting UTOPIA and iProvo get some guvmint cheese.

    After so many broken promises by UTOPIA and iProvo

    1. Our take rates are going to be real high
    2. We are going to make a profit,
    3. There is practically no risk to taxpayers
    4. Our average revenue per user is going to be real high
    5. Our coverage is going to be ubiquitous
    6. UTOPIA and iProvo are going to bring lots of businesses to Utah that otherwise would not come here

    you can rant and rave all you want about the 1996 telecom act, but it doesn't matter. The federal guvmint has as much bidness pouring money down this rathole as local governments do.