UBER update, September 2009
UNIVERSAL BROADBAND FOR A RURAL REGION

http://broadband.senatordaleschultz.com

Dear UBER supporter,

“When will I have quality, affordable broadband where I live?” is a question I hear daily, so it’s time for this UBER Update. Our goal of extending broadband statewide took on new hope with the federal stimulus package that includes $7.2 billion in grants, loans and loan guarantees to extend broadband to un-served and underserved areas.

In August, 2200 proposals nationwide sought $28B or seven times the $4B available in a first of three broadband stimulus funding rounds. The good news is, of about 30 projects submitted for Wisconsin, several are relevant to our region.

BROADBAND STIMULUS PLANS RELEVANT TO OUR RURAL REGION

I submitted a letter of support for each proposal requesting my support. It has become clear that Governor Doyle and the Wisconsin Public Service Commission have considerable influence in funding decisions and we can hope to hear some good news when this first round of funding is announced by year end.


NOTES ON THE FEDERAL BROADBAND STIMULUS PLAN

Stimulus Plan's Definition of "Broadband" is Slow
For a broadband project to be eligible for federal stimulus funds, the speed of 'broadband' was set low, at just 768 kilobits per second (.7 megabits) downloading, the minimum speed for low-resolution video and 200Kbps up. Compare that to some countries with broadband speeds averaging tens or hundreds of megabits and national broadband plans calling for speeds of a gigabit. An exploding use of video helps drive an ever increasing need for speed, but many web applications require more than 768Kbps.

Mapping the Need
Census blocks will be used in determining areas eligible for stimulus funds and for broadband mapping purposes. Nationally, the average census block has 50 residents or close to 25 households. This compares with a meaningless measure used today in which a zip code or telephone prefix area in which with just one household has broadband is considered to be served.

PLEASE BE IN TOUCH

Please let me know your questions, comments and topics for the next UBER Update. Email me at sen.schultz@legis.wi.gov.

Visit my UBER website for past UBER Updates and more: http://www.legis.wi.gov/senate/sen17/news/Press/2008/pr2008-053.asp

See what I'm up to, tell me what you think by responding to my survey, and start receiving my occasional In Touch with Dale e-newsletter: http://www.senatordaleschultz.com/

Thank you.