Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Texas Broadband Follies

The Texas broadband follies 

October 19, 2004, 4:00 AM PT
By John Borland

For signs of serious sickness in what passes for U.S. Internet policy, look no farther than the "golf-themed" Houston suburbs that are about to get government-subsidized broadband.

Early this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its latest round of funding for rural broadband projects, a program aimed at bringing farms, ranches and other rural communities onto the Net. Agriculture Secretary Ann Venemanby the year 2007." praised the loans as part of President Bush's efforts to bring broadband "to every home in America

According to the USDA official, the agency is having a hard time finding people to take the $2.2 billion in funding available this year. But it turned out that almost a quarter of the money was going to a company that serves high-end, master-planned suburbs just outside of Houston, with homes costing up to $1 million--hardly the type of community that needs subsidized Net infrastructure. Particularly when there are plenty of people in places like Hell, Mich. that still have to make a long-distance call to get on the Internet at all.

Is it just coincidence that these lucky Houston suburbs are part of House Republican Leader Tom Delay's congressional district? [...]

Commentary: Maybe Tom Delay should pay a visit to Hell.