The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today that it has awarded 15 grants to fund broadband mapping and planning activities. Minnesota is on the list with Connected Nation as the designated entity to receive a total of $1.7 million. Connected Nation is an organization sponsored by telephone and cable companies. It represents their interests in deciding what data to collect and how information should be displayed. So much for transparency.Several other states are also aligned with Connected Nation or a Connected subsidiary. This doesn't bode well for finding out exactly who is not being served in terms of high-speed internet access. For more information on Connected Nation's conflicts of interest and problematic mapping, check the Public Knowledge site.
What is Connected Nation again? Does it only consist of current or former telecom employees? Can we ask Commissioner Wilson to disclose any conflicts of interest he has in selecting Connected Nation? Why does it take millions of dollars to draw a map? Are they personally going to door-to-door or what? I’m making comments here as well as Facebook.
Sorry, I meant to say "potential conflicts of interest." I’m not assuming there are any.
Other groups besides telcos & cablecos listed as advisors of Connected Nation including some nonprofits. http://www.connectednation.org/who_we_are/national_advisors/Techdirt just wrote something about the situation. http://techdirt.com/articles/20091223/1246267491.shtmlI have more to say but I think I need a blog post.
The Minnesota part of Connected Nation (Connect Minnesota) has posted a "service inventory" map of Minnesota. <br/> <br/>http://18.104.22.168/MNBroadband/default.aspx <br/> <br/> I find it a positive step that they post this data. If they are responsive to comments on it, even better. website: http://www.connectmn.org/