Congress Set to Overturn Bans on Municipal Networks, Collect Better Broadband Data

In a pair of decidedly wired pieces of legislation (shocking), Congress has decided to tackle municipal networks and poor stats on national broadband deployment. The Community Broadband Act would overturn state legislation in Arkansas, Florida, Texas and Missouri that prevents cities and counties from getting into the telecommunications game. This also has serious implications in North Carolina where the legislature has been throwing up roadblocks to municipal networks left and right. I'm sure Ohio is pleased with the legislation as well since the state is currently planning a state-wide broadband network.

The Broadband Data Improvement Act is seeking to not only require statistics to be reported in a more granular ZIP+4 format but will also redefine "broadband" from its current (and pathetic) 200Kbps speed and establish a "Broadband 2.0" standard that provides enough bandwidth to stream HDTV. For reference, an uncompressed HD stream uses about 80Mbps. These new statistics and definitions could be just what the doctor ordered to push slovenly telcos into delivering the speeds they promised over a decade ago.

It's about time something productive started coming out of the swamp. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps delcared rather boldly that we're playing "Russian roulette" with broadband policy. He's not far off the mark. 

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