The 1960 election was decided, in part, on the idea that a "missile gap" existed with the Soviet Union. Sen. John F. Kennedy used this phony issue to portray VP Richard Nixon, who had made his name as a Cold Warrior, as being "soft on communism."
Ambitious politicians now have an extraordinary opportunity to do the same thing to any GOP claim on business support in 2008. Simply tout the Broadband Gap.
The Broadband Gap is the difference — in cost, versatility, and speed — between the broadband Americans have and that our major economic rivals have.
Thanks to bandwidth hoarding by the Bells, this gap is growing wider. Already, as noted before, we are falling behind such countries as China and Slovenia in terms of our broadband capacity. How many more other countries will we fall behind in the next three years, under the stewardship of a Bell-cable duooply which seeks to turn every Internet access session into a one-way billable event.
There are ways out of the Broadband Gap:
- Enable competition, as in England, mandating that the Bells wholesale rather than hoard their capacity.
- Make broadband access a government priority, as in China, Japan and Korea, with the capacity of government-subsidized utilities sold off in big hunks at low prices.
- Encourage the development of alternative broadband access schemes — municipal broadband, WiFi, WiMax, and powerline.
Frankly, the details are less important than raising the issue. Solving the problem is even more vital.
Let’s get to work.