The Bells promised to serve us broadband if we let them run over Wireless ISPs. Done. No broadband.
So they promised us broadband if we would give them absolute control over their lines, ending any requirement for wholesaling. Done. No broadband.
Then they promised us broadband if we'd stop cities from buildig out wireless networks that might compete with them. Nearly done. Still no broadband.
Now, Qwest is pushing a plan in Congress to tax your broadband access and hand it the money, promising broadband in rural areas.
It's amazing anyone would believe such hollow promises, given the history. Color Democrat Byron Dorgan and Republican Gordon Smith (both represent areas covered by Qwest) as believers. The National Journal reports the two Senators are working together on just a Qwest-subsidy bill.
Here's a quote from the National Journal article:
Aides to Smith said the bill would make money in the Universal Service Fund available so telecommunications providers could build out broadband facilities. "It would be built into the same structure, and might end up as a stand-alone fund, within the current system next to the high-cost fund," an aide said.
Here's why this is not only theft, but stupid.
By simply raising WiFi power limits in rural areas, and enabling competition (mandating the re-sale of fiber capacity in these rural areas) Dorgan and Smith could get what they want without the ratepayers or taxpayers having to spend more dime.
All Qwest will do with this money is extend its fiber nodes out a bit, to extend its stranglehold on rural ratepayers. Then it will come back for more subsidies.
Competition is the answer to broadband's problems, not subsidized monopoly. Small companies, not big government.
Think Washington will listen?
Not so long as Qwest keeps spending to buy your legislators, they won't. (The link is to political contributions made by Qwest CEO Richard Notebaert in the last election cycle. Play the same game with other Qwest insiders, and with the corporation itself. Fun for the whole family.)
NOTE: This game also works well at OpenSecrets.Org.