Some Quick Updates Goog-VZ Reaction Craters Industry Talks, BTOP Recision of $300 Million Back Again.

Well this was a fun week.

First, it turns out that the public — when actually confronted with the prospect of two giant companies dividing the internet between them — is less than thrilled with the prospect of watching the market work its magic. Bet Alan Grayson is sorry he sold out now.

If Mr. Grayson would like to show his support for real Net Neutrality, how about his co-sponsoring the Markey-Eshoo Bill? He (and all the other Dems who profess their undying love of Net Neutrality) could show they really mean it by actually co-sponsoring a bill with strong, enforceable, net neutrality conditions.

On the downside, the Senate stripped out $300 million from BTOP again. This time, it does not look like there can be an over-ride. Because when you are Democrats, if you have a stimulus program that’s actually working to create jobs and infrastructure for the future, the thing to do is gradually dismantle it to appease Republicans. _sigh_

Stay tuned . . .

One Comment

  1. Harold
    It’s worth looking again at the evidence that has convinced you that BTOP is effectively creating jobs and infrastructure. The infrastructure is nearly all overbuilds where there is plenty of fiber in place already, sometimes as many as six providers. NTIA is not extending connectivity to unserved areas by any measure, even though that’s the first goal of the stimulus.

    It might be useful if in fact the builds brought rural broadband prices down closer to the national average, but there’s little or no evidence most will do that. Most of the prices I hear rumored are still so high they will discourage any new broadband investment. There is no requirement of actual lower prices. Where there’s limited competition, it’s more likely that the projects will price “to the market” which is already too high. Where’s there’s plenty of competition, what the heck are we spending so much money for?

    The count on jobs created is rigged behind a veil of secrecy. It turns out that instead of actually estimating or counting jobs directly created, they typically simply apply an inaccurate formula “if you spend this much money, xxx jobs are created.” This is obviously inappropriate. Consider a BTOP grant that buys access to existing fiber, as several do. Nothing is built and no jobs created in that case. If most of the money goes to equipment, far fewer jobs are created than if it goes to construction (and most of those are outside the U.S.)

    Raoul Katz did an input-output analysis to come to a broad estimate of jobs directly created. His conclusion, based on the limited available data, is that broadband spending creates fewer jobs per dollar than many other parts of the stimulus program.

    Sure, Larry Strickling of NTIA is a great guy who has done a great deal we all respect. But the more data I find about where the money is really going, the more angry I get. Especially because he won’t realease any of the real data even after a FOIA request.

    Wish I were wrong, but when you get to the details the spending is totally different from what the agency is claiming.

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