Because I Care Enough To Say the Very Worst

I have tried to blog by my guidelines of no politics, few rants, attempted humor. I appended that a while back to add, mostly irreverence because somebody described my blog that way and I liked the way it sounded.

It wasn’t hard to stay away from politics or limit my rants to just sometimes because I basically don’t care much for politics and you probably don’t care much about my rants.

Things change.

I will be ranting regularly about Connect Kentucky, Connected Nation, and reducing the digital divide.

I cared before, but did my ranting as comments on other sites. Besides, the government (US/U.S.) was so broke, the chances of any real change in the government’s involvement in access to the web was very limited.

Things change.

We (US/U.S.) now have a stimulus package.
In that stimulus package is $350,000,000 to provide a map of where broadband access to the web is available.

The new stimulus package just signed by President Obama has $350 million in it for broadband mapping, yet even before the bill was signed, the danger warnings for this program are glaringly obvious: Who will control the information on broadband deployment? If the program is done correctly, then the program may bring some benefits to the effort to include all Americans in the digital economy. If not, much of the money will be wasted.

$350,000,000 for a map. A map that will be wrong if this money falls under the control of Connect Kentucky via Connected Nation. And it most certainly will fall under their control.

Connected Nation is the spawn of Connect Kentucky. Connect Kentucky is a private company that got a lucrative contract from the state of Kentucky to “map” broadband access in Kentucky.

Here’s what Connect Kentucky said for 2007 (emphasis mine):

95% of Kentucky households can access broadband Internet up from only 60% three years ago

Connect Kentucky was hailed by politicians across the state all the way to the governor’s house. Of course! Who wouldn’t crow about 95% access to broadband?

Except it’s wrong. Ever heard of the “smell test?” or “gut reaction?” What was your gut reaction when you read that 95% of the homes in Kentucky could access broadband?

Of course! It doesn’t pass the smell test.

The problem is we haven’t seen substantive, independent confirmation of any of Connected Kentucky or Connected Nation’s claims. Leichtman Research says that Kenutcky is 46th out of all U.S. States in broadband penetration. The FCC’s data on broadband penetration, as we’ve stated repeatedly, is not reliable.

But the politicians loved it. What bragging rights! Connect Kentucky recognized a good thing and leveraged their bullshit in a new direction: nationally. Connected Nation was formed to take the “Kentucky Model” to other states. Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia, Minnesota all drank the Kool-aid, and Connected Nation raked in the dough from stupid lawmakers and their ill-informed taxpayers.

Now Connected Nation is going to get $350,000,000 from US/U.S. to provide the same wrong information to the stupidest body within our borders: The Congress.

Connected Nation contributes to the problem with its data collections, which is based on “theoretical judgments,” such as that everyone within 1.5 miles of a telephone switching station has DSL, Rice said, and those that don’t can’t afford it. Connected Nation “is coming in as if its a scientific organization that will do fair and objective surveys,” Rice said, adding that the data, which comes form incumbents, can’t be verified and behind which Connected Nation won’t even stand because there is a prominent disclaimer of the accuracy of the information on their maps.

Rice’s bottom line: ‘Connected Nation is undermining the future of rural America. That’s what it’s doing.”

I’m going to try to raise my share of hell about the people down the street who are scamming US/U.S. taxpayers.

This is the beginning.

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