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Obama's Broadband Plan: Bah Humbug

President-elect Barack Obama has called for improvements to the nation's broadband infrastructure as part of a proposed federal spending plan that would beef up investment in the ailing U.S. economy. Well, don't hold your breath, says Kara Swisher, who likens Obama's plan to "Ebenezer Scrooge making his overnight transformation, except without any soul, sincerity or true intent to actually care about the consumer."

Even so, Swisher says that "a whiff of interest" from the new administration is a move that's long time in coming. The U.S. broadband infrastructure lags badly behind that of countries in Europe and Asia "due to a complete lack of leadership by the Feds, who have egregiously ignored exactly how important broadband ubiquity is to the U.S. economy." Indeed, according to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. ranks 15th in broadband penetration, down from fourth place in 2001. However, Swisher points out that the U.S. ranks first in the cost of these services.

Meanwhile, a conflict of interest arises between the government wanting to provide cheap, fast broadband access, and private companies wanting to block such public projects. Conversely, public groups have also called for imposing stricter conditions on private companies. So, while Obama and co. signal their intent to beef up America's broadband infrastructure, consumers have a right to remain skeptical that anything will get done.

Read the whole story at D: All Things Digital »

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