One of the items in the current spending package (I've decided not to call it a stimulus package) is some funding to help provide more broadband Internet connectivity to rural areas. The idea is to wire areas to the Internet in much the way they were wired to electricity during the New Deal era.
But it also seems like before we start wiring up Ma & Pa Kettle's house, we ought to make sure they want to use broadband. A survey done by the Pew Internet & American Life Project says that 2/3 of Americans that don't have broadband today, don't want it. The problem isn't availability. The problem isn't price. They just don't see any reason for things to move faster than with their dial-up modems In fact, "19 percent of dial-up users, for example, say that 'nothing' would get them to upgrade, not even lower prices." (see here)
Now you may think this is crazy. You're reading my blog and probably have some sort of high speed connection. But you're not the one targeted by this. Who is? Why it's the big Internet companies who stand to make the most from it. So let's call this the Internet bail-out part of the current spending plan.
A better way to handle this is to let the Internet providers fight it out themselves for speed. Charter is hawking a super-fast 60Mbps downstream Internet services (I think I'm running at 3Mbps, maybe 5Mbps and it works fine for me). Verizon is upgrading it's FIOS and is drooling over the possibility of getting some bail-out money. (see here)
Another option for high-speed Internet is to use a "cellular" card or "air card" as it is sometimes called. These cards can be used almost anywhere. When I travel, I sometimes find that they are faster than the hotel's "high speed connection."
The broadband stimulus needs to be cut out of the economic spending plan