Putting words into action

The folks at Tellabs set out to do a survey of telecom industry professionals to determine their opinion of broadband availability. Here’s what they found:

  • 89 percent think lack of broadband access hurts an individual’s educational, productivity and employment potential.
  • 81% think America should use some of the current Universal Service Fund to expand rural broadband.
  • 79% think where you live should not dictate broadband availability.
  • 77% think economic status should not determine broadband availability.
  • 84% think that the U.S. trailing so many other nations in broadband penetration is a serious problem.

None of this is surprising, as even Dan Kelly, executive vice preisdent for global products at Tellabs, admits. Nor does the study’s concerns about the U.S. falling behind its global competitors in broadband penetration raise any red flags.

Of course, the U.S. telecom industry feels this way, and especially companies such as Tellabs, who stand to sell a lot more broadband gear if broadband access becomes a bigger priority in this country.

But Tellabs isn’t just throwing numbers into the ether and sitting back. The company is reaching out to others in the industry and trying to raise a voice for change. As a global supplier, Tellabs sees what’s going on elsewhere, Kelly said, and that’s cause for concern.

“We see in other countries a lot more rapid evolution of broadband services - that’s not a surprise but it is very disappointing that we are in 15th place in the world in broadband penetration,”Kelly said.

One major step, he believes, is getting the FCC to go even farther than it is now contemplating in defining what broadband should be. Having admitted its original 200 kilobit per second definition is nuts, the FCC “has come up with new measturements, but I wuold argue that those are really definitionsthat are two to three years old. When you look at what is happening in the industry, the world is moving at much higher levels of speeds and feeds. We would want measures that are forward lookin, not based on today or yesterday. ”

For all the concern being raised in the telecom and Internet communities, there doesn’t seem to be a corresponding political response. Companies like Tellabs need to be making more noise about this and I’m glad to see they’re doing it.

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