Connected Nation Takes Inside Track On Minnesota Mapping, Too
Who values consumer input? Apparently nobody.
Earlier this week we noted
how controversial telco-tied broadband mapping operation Connected Nation won Florida's bid for broadband mapping, despite a higher bid, thanks in part to having a former BellSouth executive Judging the merits of the outfit. It looks like things aren't too much different in Minnesota, where Mike O’Connor, a member of the State's broadband Task Force, blogs
about Connected Nation getting a cozy inside track on that state's mapping process as well. Complains O'Connor:
I'm pretty cranky about this process. Nice n'cozy. Nice n'closed. Nice bypass of the Task Force. No public input at all as far as I can see. Looks like there was lots of opportunity for providers to provide input about their confidentiality needs, not too much input about what consumers need. Look forward to more sub-par optimistic maps, and impossible to use/verify data, people.
Connected Nation was fighting the University of Minnesota for state broadband mapping money, and in addition to not having to deal with pesky public input, the group got a very cozy recommendation
(pdf) from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Major carriers have used all of their lobbying muscle to convince politicians that Connected Nation should be the
broadband mapping operation in every state. Few if any politicians seem concerned that a mapping operation so closely tied to carriers will result in sub-par data.
Not everybody is napping. The Minnesota Post
noticed. "Any way you look at it, having Connected Nation run a critical decision-making dataset stinks and having the governor sign off on it, without an ostensibly neutral task force handling it, highly suspect," observes the paper.
| |said by r81984:Uh... no. A good source of news and information? Sure. Neutral? Hardly.
A neutral group could be dsl reports. They already have more data than anyone else on broadband availability.
In terms of broadband availability, user submissions and central office locations are a poor indicator. Surveys don't work; most people aren't going to know what options they have unless they've shopped for broadband recently. Even compiling speed test results is of limited use- it only tells you what speeds people have as opposed to what speeds are available to them.
Without data from providers- data that they're often not eager to share due to concerns that competetors will use it to gain an advantage- broadband mapping isn't an easy task at all.
| |jhboricuaExMod 2000-01
| |said by dynodb:A poor excuse if any. The point is that this was done with absolutely no input from the public, which is why the task force was created in the first place. King Pawlenty is a bonehead.
Sorry, but the idea of a state task force being completely neutral isn't terribly plausible either. They're going to be subject to political pressure and ambitions just like any other government entity. There's always going to be some form of bias in studies like this.
said by dynodb:Providers have fought tooth and nail against any accurate broadband mapping. This is no different, except now they get to manipulate the data that gets presented to their benefit. If they are to receive OUR money for broadband deployments, it should be a requisite that accurate and verifiable data has to be presented, you'll have to be crazy to believe CN is up to the task.
Like it or not, accurate broadband mapping is almost impossible without information from the providers themselves, and they're often reluctant to hand out information that could be used to benefit their competors.
said by dynodb:It seems to me your either willfully ignoring CNs history or are too naive to believe that a group funded by the telcos is going to provide any useful mapping data. And while it is true that a government task force or a 'neutral group', in this case the University of Minnesota, would have to rely on the provider's input, I find it more likely that the U of MN or the MN task force (having seen its membership) would challenge the accuracy of the data provided by the telcos. I have zero confidence that a group funded by the telcos with a checkered history that pretends to be pro-consumer would challenge any garbage data fed to it.
It sounds to me like the "connected nation" group is being backed by providers to get around those concerns. Until we see the results of what they come up with, it's too early to write them off merely because of industry ties. Any remotely accurate broadband mapping project- be it done by a government task force or "neutral" group (if such a thing exists) is going to rely on provider input.
This is fantastic, we have a Telco with no next gen broadband plan (Qwest) who now gets to manipulate broadband mapping for their own greed.
"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe." - Albert Einstein
Jose A. Hernandez * System Admin * MPLS, Minnesota, USA *