dslreports logo

story category
GAO On Broadband: Please Listen To Us. For Once. Please.
Government waste agency wants clear goals (duh) for broadband
by Karl Bode 02:17PM Thursday Jun 11 2009 Tipped by Fisamo See Profile
The General Accounting Office (GAO) this week released a new report (pdf) suggesting that whatever broadband policy the government adopts -- it needs to have clear performance goals. While that may sound like an idiotically obvious comment, the GAO knows they've been dealing with government agencies who've been faking their way through broadband policy for a decade -- with no real metric for success.

For instance, the GAO has repeatedly issued reports showing how the FCC has absolutely no concrete goals established for the nation's E-Rate program, which soaks up 40% of all USF fees, and has given out $22 billion for bringing telecom services to schools and un-served areas since its inception in 1998. But since the well-lobbied FCC never established concrete goals and never really tracked the money, the program has seen rampant abuse by both carriers and schools.

The GAO has also repeatedly issued reports highlighting how the FCC's broadband mapping and data methodology was incomplete and flawed, something several FCC Commissioners have admitted. That flawed data repeatedly suggested broadband competition where none really existed, influencing government decisions. Bad FCC data is a primary reason why it's 2009 and the nation has no broadband policy.

Unfortunately for the GAO, they've been repeatedly ignored by agencies for decades. The E-Rate program remains dysfunctional, with no real guidelines imposed to track spending. The FCC's data collection methodology remains flawed, and is poised to be replaced by a privatized mapping organization that may not be much better.

135 comments .. click to read

Recommended comments


Corona, CA

2 recommendations

reply to NetAdmin1

Re: Gov't and clear goals don't belong in the same sentence

said by NetAdmin1:

said by wifi4milez:

Take the DMV for example, those people are total bums and literally dont care about anything other than stamping their time cards.
Strange, I see that in the private sector all over the place too.
The thing is, if there's "waste" in the private sector, its not your problem. If you don't like the service, you don't have to continue as their customer. Corps at least have incentive not to waste to keep you as a customer and to stay in business. On the other hand, when there is gov't waste, it is your problem for 2 reasons. First, the DMV is your ONLY source of service, you can't go anywhere else. Second, your hard earned tax dollars are paying for their employees to be apathetic bums.