July 18, 2003  ·  admin

On the road, I�ve seen the power the Internet has to bring people together. In Austin recently, 3,200 people showed up for a rally�an experience that I found absolutely amazing. In Santa Fe, 2,000 people showed up, and in Seattle and Tucson, thousands showed up. All of these rallies were organized over the Internet. Only a few years ago building such an event would have taken months of preparation and a huge field staff. Today, it can be done online, and mostly by volunteers.

I think that is a demonstration of how the Internet can help us restore active participation in our democracy. But in order to include everyone in the process, we need to expand net access to rural areas and to the inner city. Currently, too many minorities and rural residents are on the wrong side of the “digital divide.”

As governor of Vermont, I made expanding internet access a priority. Vermont is a national leader, with over 99% of our schools connected to the Internet. In rural states like Vermont, the Internet can make a real difference by providing telemedicine and telework opportunities, as well as distance learning.

As a community that actively discusses these issues, I�m interested in your opinions on how to best bridge the digital divide. The US ranks 11th in the world on broadband penetration. How do we bring broadband to more people in the most cost-effective manner? What role will WiFi play? I understand that the emerging technology of WiFi may make it easier to bridge the digital divide. What would your recommendations be?

Once again, I�d like to thank Larry Lessig for inviting me this week, and I appreciate your feedback. Stay involved. Help us widen the circle. We are going to restore the American community�online and off�by working together. Thanks again, Howard Dean

  • http://astron.berkeley.edu/~jhall/ joe

    I would suggest supporting municipal WiFi endeavors… like the Bay Area Wireless Research Network. Seeing Internet access as a public information utility (delivering bits instead of gallons of water or killowatt-hours of electricity) is interesting… where I, as a municipal resident, would pay an internet access fee and have WiFi access via building-mounted WiFi repeaters.

  • http://nic-naa.net Eric Brunner-Williams

    At Digital Council Fires, hosted by the National Indian Telecommunications Institute, speakers from all over Indian Country, including two Abenakis, spoke on how they were bringing some part of data service, sometimes even without POTS, to their communities. Broadband was not even mentioned, though some innovative asymetric satellite and wire line paths were.

    The Benton Foundation has done good work on this topic. We’ve done good work on this topic. It is disapointing to hear “broadband” posed as the highest and best thinking in the problem area, rather like the ATM mantra of the late 90′s. Getting network drops to schools is an accomplishment, but it is far from sufficient. Rather like putting in CATV, but not thinking through the content production issues, and turning the cable plant over to commercial content providers.

    What role will WiFi play? That’s a business decision I’m making as I comment, for my ISP in Southern Maine and the Islands. It may be business, it may be just buzz, but it sure isn’t national policy.

    I’ve made up my mind about one thing, but the baby’s crying so I’ll leave now.

    Eric Brunner-WIlliams

  • Anon

    WiFi Solution? Herds of Antenalope…obviously. Our, only slightly more farfetched is the idea of spread spectrum.

    There is one main reason we’ve fallen behind other countries in broadband penetration, and that is the shear size of the infastructure required to wire the USA. Telecom monopolies may hurt but don’t be fooled into believe that’s the reason we don’t rank with Korea or Japan, where monopolies are just as rampant. The distance between our borders and the miles upon miles of sparsely inhabited land make total penetration just plain stupid in economic terms.

  • misty

    I’d refer you here — http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1194373,00.asp

    We’re way behind in broadband access in this country because oligopolistic providers (SBC, AOL Time Warner) have deeper financial interests in controlling online access to copyrighted properties than they do to enabling better access pathways.

    Profit margins are better in draconian enforcement of so-called “Rights Management” than in the hard work of providing cable access to every home. It’s a dire picture; we’ll stay behind until DRM legislation lets them eliminate the public domain for creative works as Disney wants, OR until other legislation forces them to break up those business units.

    It’s a parallel pattern to auditors living under the same roof as business consultants. Help!

    Thanks for doing this; it’s a good idea whose time has come.

  • Benjamin Hinkley

    I feel I have to comment. My father has for the past 5-10 years been working in north-central Maine (north of Bangor – very sparsely populated) to provide DSL to rural areas. The problem isn’t that there’s no money to be made, but rather that it is not “enough” money for the baby bells to concern them with. The fact is, it is profitable. The major players just want no part of it.

  • Darrin Eden

    In Portland, Oregon a symbiosis of education-oriented, non-profit groups Freegeek and Personal Telco offers significant promise to build free networks and make personal computers available to anyone willing to work a few hours in thier community.

  • http://www.pobox.com/~rknop Rob Knop

    One key element is open standards. Don’t allow a standards body to adopt a proprietary “standard” solution in any municipality, and don’t allow a standards body to adpot a standard which is encumbered by royalty-bearing patents.

    If the protocoals and systems whereby municipalities are wired are owned by one entity, you suffer all the usual problems of a monopoly. A small upstart type who might have a better idea for doing it more efficiently can be quashed by a patent suit, or won’t even be able to get started due to the proprietary nature of the protocol. One entity ends up with far too much control over a basic piece of infrastructure.

    Beyond that, it’s much like media consolidation: keep things as open as possible to as many players as possible. If that means state-run lines on which any service provider can provide service, great. If that means opening up the Wi-Fi spectrum, great. Right now in this country, where we do have broadband, it’s usually a monopoly; you have to buy your cable modem internet service from the cable company if you want broadband. If you don’t like their terms of service, tough; it’s either them, or nobody. This isn’t great. And, despite what the cable companies who hold these monopolies will claim vociferiously, this can only stifle innovation, not encouarge it.

    The importance of open standards cannot be overempahsized. The de facto open standards upon which the Internet is built is what has made it the amazing conduit for grassroots organization and communication that it is today. If the Internet had been built in a proprietary image, it would be much more like what the music and movie industries want: a tightly regulated and controlled space for consumers to consume, and where it is only used for those things the designers and owners want it to be used for. It would not be the space that has the kind of creative and unexpected and wonderful results we’ve been seing.

    -Rob

  • http://kathy.sneakyfrog.com/ Kathy Tafel

    I concur with the open standards. Do not lock country into proprietary system (Microsoft just got big deal with gov’t after announcing biggest security flaw ever).

    In my dream world, you could put WiFi on every federal building and state and school, and also put solar panels on their roofs and pay for the expense over the energy costs saved. WiFi means you don’t have to lay expensive cable all over the place. It’s kindof how cell phones took off in Asia instead of landlines, because they started using technology later.

    I would also be concerned that big telcos/cable providers may censor information that’s not on their network, or make it way slower to access.

  • http://ethanol.blogspot.com Evan

    WiFi is one technology in a stream of technologies to come; I don’t know how long it will last. But I do strongly suspect that wireless technology of some form or another is going to be a big part of the solution to the so-called “last mile problem”–that is, the cost of getting broadband from some central neighborhood location to each person’s home or office.

    I suspect government might have a hand in helping that happen by encouraging research in to spread-spectrum radio and other novel approaches that enable us to make vastly more efficient use of the finite resource of radio spectrum, by rolling back regulations that prevent the use of such technologies, and to drive a stake through the heart of the restrictions on strong cryptography. Businesses will not be comfortable using wireless communication for critical data unless they’re very sure about security.

    You can also encourage it with all the other nudges to innovation that we’ve discussed throughout the week–patent reform, and a requirement that government-funded research be released as open source, would help get the technology out the door and into inexpensive equipment very rapidly.

    Finally, sorry to flog the same dead horse, but if you want greater broadband adoption, then either broadband needs to get significantly cheaper or significantly more exciting to have–it costs about as much as cable TV, where I live, and it’s worth it to me, but obviously not to everyone. If there were more people with the bandwidth, then there’d be more applications that used the bandwidth, but the people won’t get the bandwidth until there are applications for them to use. Something needs to start the ball rolling, and that something should have been Napster, internet radio, and other online channels for music and entertainment–but our big IP industries fought tooth and nail to shut them down, because they were a threat to the old business model. We risk being stuck in the past because copyright law prevents us from entering the future.

    Napster wasn’t perfect, and neither are its successors. But the idea behind them–a vast digital library, free or almost-free, with access for everyone–is a good one; that’s why so many millions of people signed on. We need to find a way to balance the legitimate interests of artists with the public interest, but it can’t be the balance the publishers favor–”everything for us, nothing for you”–or we will cut ourselves off from the future.

    The Eldred Act would be a good beginning. If old books, movies and songs entered the public domain and flooded onto the internet, I think there would be an immediate uptick in the market for broadband.

    Thank you for this week’s discussion, Governor; it’s been a privelege to have a platform to discuss these matters and feel confident that you were actually going to at least skim what I’ve written. Whatever policies you eventually adopt on intellectual property and other technology issues, I’m going to be working for you in Santa Cruz and cheering you all the way to the white house.

    Evan Hunt

  • mc

    Governor Dean,

    The highest court in New York State has declared the funding scheme for New York City’s schools to be unconstitutional- CFE v State of New York. Furthermore, the court found that all children in New York State are entitled by the State’s constitution to the opportunity to attain a sound basic education – which is not, as the State unsuccessfully argued, an 8th grade education. The record in the case is frightening. It documents school children living in poverty, crumbling school buildings, classes held in hallways and closets, science labs without any sort of science equipment- and all the while the State argued that is was OK, they only had to provide an 8th grade education. When you come to this state and Gov. Pataki campaigns against you, your staff might do a little research into CFE v State of New York. It might be a great way to reach out to minority communities- �Why did Governor Pataki argue in court for years to not educate the poorest children of New York?�

    As a student I can tell you internet access has become integral to the way I study. Always having access to journal databases, Google, international news resources, e-mail, and the ability to videoconference using my Apple iSight camera- both inside and outside of the classroom- make me a more effective learner. WiFi as a municipal utility in urban areas could provide that same access to everyone- while avoiding the overpricing of the big media companies that now control net access (AOLTW etc) and preventing them from ever being able to sensor content.

    Matt

  • Henrik Treadup

    In Sweden were I live (I am a US citizen) you can get a 10 megabit (really fat pipe) non capped (no up/download limits) connection to the Internet for just $22 per month. My sister in San Diego pays double for a slower connection.

    Over here all ISPs share the phone network copper infrastructure. I believe that is no longer the case in the US.

    “Recent new regulations that we have talked about here on TLS, have led to sweeping and fast moving changes in the telecommunications and internet business; that WILL bankrupt the ISP and CLEC industry groups. This is because the Telcos can now charge their competition wholesale rates that are higher than retail rates.”
    http://www.thelinuxshow.com/archives/2003/upcoming-2003-05-27.html

    WiFi may be a bit cheaper to implement but the real benifit is that WiFi gets rid of the “last mile problem”. You no longer have to go through your cable company or phone company to connect to the internet. Instant free market.

  • Anonymous

    The “Digital Divide” is crap. When my father flew into the states and visited some areas of the rural south I looked up internet access for him and he was able to get on and communicate, do research, etc all at the local library. Our library has wi-fi as do many others. The larger issue is that a mandate was made and the Telcos saw it as a way to charge extra fees to “recoup” their costs.

    What needs to happen is that the Telcos need to loosen access, the infrastructure needs to be controlled by someone other than them, and spectrum needs to be freed.

  • http://www.happyvalleyasylum.com/ratched/ Nurse Ratched

    I think in order to make internet access truly universally accessible, the single best route is not to carry it through WiFi, which requires installation of hardware in numerous locations nationwide, but to improve powerline network capability. Doing so would require equipment at power stations and end-user points only, and municipalities could choose to offer WiFi from school and government buildings at a much a considerably reduced cost compared to all-WiFi networking. The power grid was established through extensive government investment and is accessible to virtually every home in the country. Utilizing it for internet access is the only way to create the desired reach without massive equipment investment.

    The previous poster is incorrect in stating that internet access is already universally available in the rural south. I have broadband in my suburban home, but the best my father can get is 26k local dialup, and it’s only recently that has come without paying long-distance charges.

  • Rolland Miller

    The fact that we still have local Telco and Cable monopolies will inherently prevent us from building bridges accross the “Digital Divide” Wi-Fi is inovative however it is not the solution.

    In Iraq they have water taxis that will take you accross the Tigris River. These were used extensivly during the first Gulf War when we were bombing their bridges. This is what Wi-Fi is.

    The fact remains that we should not be spending Government money proping up the Telcom industry in the hopes that they will build out their infrastructure to reach rural areas. This is just blantant Corporate Welfare. If it werent for the Telco’s we would all have IP phones and vioce calls would be practically free.

    I believe more drastic action needs to take place. Something along the lines of a modern day TVA (Tennesse Valley Authority http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USARtva.htm )project to build a bridge accross the “Digital Divide” and bring the infrastructure of the internet to the people. Building bridges for the public good after all is what the govenment should spend its money on. Not proping up failed utilities that cannot manage themselves much less my taxes. Incidetally I think we can do better than the TVA since today it is not what it once was.

    But the goal is the same. Cross the divide. I believe it would be less costly to lay fiber to each and every doorstep in America then it will be to prop up Telco’s and Cable companies indefinetly. Let them use their experience to help us maintain the infrastructure but lets build it out ourselves.

    In my opinion access to information is as essential as water and electricity. It should not be the sole privilege of the wealthy.

    Rolland Miller

  • Jonathan Putnam

    Most of the nation already has broadband capabilities via their cable pipes. If the cable companies shared their networks, as the telcos must do, you would see truly innovative competition. What do I mean? Well, I’d rather pay $40 a month and choose my own channels rather than subscribe to 75 channels that are mostly useless to me. IP video is just around the corner. Costs of production and distribution are falling quickly, enabling millions to become content producers. Here are a few suggestions:
    1.Support the Eldred Act.
    2. Make your best effort to support Open Source initiatives (I noticed you’re working on providing non-MS solutions for DeanTV). 3.Read Wired and Slashdot (or have your assitants constantly monitor sources like these.)
    4. Establish a technology forum on your website.
    5. Name a contact on your campaign team who we can discuss technology and IP issues.
    6. Feel free to contact me.

    Don’t let this week become just a token nod. Continue the dialogue on your site. This audience may be small, but it is the audience that develops PHP apps, RSS feeds, in short . . . we facilitate free communication. We can mobilize. Consider us “early adopters.”
    Good luck.

  • http://n/a Bruce Watson

    This isn’t going to be popular, but stay with me. I spent a few years with Northern Telecom (when it was a lot bigger than it is today) designing high speed routers for the telecom sector. My customers were the Local Exchange Carriers (LECs). I know a tad about the LECs and the telecom industry.

    If you want to extend the reach of “high speed” services, you are going to have to re-regulate the telcos. But… you should do it in a smart way. You should regulate the physical plant – the wires, the rights of way, the switching fabric. You should forbid the telcos from offering any kind of service on the physical plant. Instead, you should require that the physical plant be accessible to any provider who wants to offer a service.

    Separating the physical plant from the services offered would be amazingly advantageous. It would let the telcos do what they do well (the wires). When you re-regulate, you give them the mandate to extend and upgrade, which is the only way we are ever going to get fiber in the last mile. The service providers (voice, ISPs, etc.), meanwhile, all get a level playing field. This means they have to innovate to differentiate. This can only be an improvement over what we have now.

    Based on what I know of the telecom marketplace, I’m pretty confident that this is about the only way you’ll get the telcos to extend the physical plant to the rural areas, and replace 1960s T1 based copper wires with fiber, especially in the last mile. And without fiber in the last mile, you can’t offer services like video-on-demand.

    All in all, re-regulating the telcos and separating the physical plant from the services offered would be a good thing. An excellent thing. A leadership thing.

  • http://onefatherfordean.blogspot.com One Father For Dean

    Governor -

    To second Evan’s points, with an important analogy back to one of you current positions….

    Just as gun control may cap gun access / content / demand but does not eliminate gun violence root causes, deploying broadband infrastructure “everywhere to everyone” ensures neither access, nor content nor demand.

    Policy encouraging:
    - open access over both current and new open source infrastructures;
    - more content to the public domain and strengthened digital fair use; and
    - increased demand through better basic/civic education, more open government data and processes
    …will be of greater benefit to driving the desired infrastructure availability.

    Augmenting “Universal Net Tone” will also be enormously cheaper after these policies give entrepreneurs the tools to create more, new and cheaper markets in hardware, software and services.

  • Tim Corcoran

    Governor Dean,
    While I feel that Wi-Fi is an element if not merely a buzz word, it does not seem to me that it be the missing link that will bridge the divide. Poor folks don’t generally have computers let alone wireless ones. Some people actually state with pride that they are not connected. Something assosicated with public libraries or street kiosks might help. although that access may not show up in broadband penetration stat’s. Wi-Fi may play a role in a public kiosk setting. In time schools will help. Perhaps a tax on Wi-Fi-’s use of the public airwaves combined with kiosk panel adertising fees could fund kiosks in public places.

  • Ed Batewell

    For those who have bemoaned Dean’s brevity (or lack of substance, depending on your view) on Prof. Lessig’s blog, in defense of Gov. Dean, I think he may have been working on his 16 questions for President Bush. Personally I’m inclined to cut him a little more slack on his quick entries here in light of the work that must have gone into his 16 questions. I sincerely hope Gov. Dean receives an education on IP here, in hopes that he’ll be asking equally tough questions that cut to the core of IP law as an eventual result.

    At the risk of sounding redundant, it is Gov Dean’s ability to listen that will make him a great president, and he’s listening to Prof. Lessig’s camp. If my estimation of Dean is correct, we’ll be hearing more about revising some idiotic IP laws.

  • Nathanael Nerode

    The mandatory filtering programs for Internet access in public libraries are a good example of a way to *widen* the digital divide. These filtering programs don’t work for their intended purpose (keeping children from seeing porn), they always block legitimate sites, and they are another unfunded mandatory expense that our already underfunded public libraries must go through in order to bring public Internet access to the poor.

    Yet again, the “digital divide” is driven by corporate suppression of free speech, and the government’s bizarre willingness to help the corporations out with this.

    The TV cable lines have proven to be the best way to bring broadband access into the home. Of course, they are controlled by under-regulated monopolies, and the prices for cable modem access are far higher than they are in other countries. (With the exception of the one or two cities with competitive cable providers, which have quite reasonable rates.) This makes it obvious where the problem is in getting broadband into more homes.

    The occasional attempts by misguided lawmakers to treat Internet Service Providers as “content providers” rather than common carriers doesn’t help anyone either. It should be made clear that if they act as common carriers by not regulating speech on their networks, except for conforming to common Net standards such as spam prevention, they will not be liable for what people say on their networks. A few of the cable companies have been all too happy to assume the mantle of censors, although most of them seem to understand that it is better if they are common, neutral carriers of data.

    In other words, there’s a problem of under-regulated monopolies, and then there’s the problem we’ve been hammering at all week — private corporations to acting as censors. Why haven’t you posted an opinion on that? Surely it should be uncontroversial to say “Private corporations should not, in general, be allowed to decide what Americans can say, write, hear, or read.” Or do you disagree?

  • Lucian

    Dean thank you for asking us for advice, I’m shocked. This is the first time a politician has even listened to the internet community and I’d like to thank you for doing so.

    Personally I think the USA should be #1 when it comes to broadband and internet technology. We invented the internet.

    In order to increase internet speeds we must invest in building the infrastructure. This may take billions of dollars but it will pay off because the internet will be the core to our society in the future.

    I think its time we treat the internet like a utility, which everyone must have, like water and electricity.

    We we need to do, is learm from south korea, I suggest we build a massive internet backbone and then use wireless technology to connect the whole country.

    I like wifi, but i fear wifi may be too slow, its a start however. The best move would be a move to fiber optics. Someday we might be able to increase internet speeds to such a point, that video confrence and education could be vastly improved.

    http://www.point-topic.com/scripts/directory/profile.asp?country=11

    Here you see that south korea has DSL, we need to prepare to move a step beyond DSL, while also providing wifi internet access to the country.

    So the key technologies to investigate, WiFi, and Fiberoptics.

    A quote from the site “The Korean government plans to spend over US$10bn to deliver VDSL or fibre to over 80% of the Korean population by the end of 2005.”

    We should be one step ahead of them, we invented the internet. So we should find a way to be one step ahead of everyone else.

  • http://www.bletter.com/ABCEDmindedness Ray Daly

    Here’s a simple viewpoint.

    Look at the features on your cell phone versus your regular phone. My cell phone is packed and cheaper to use than my regular phone. This is because of the competition for cell customers versus land lines. (But land line competition is coming.)

    The only competion for broadband via wire is bells versus cable tv. Like so many other said above, WiFi is the key. But keep it competitive – we don’t need a Clear Channel Communication dominating WiFi and the baby bells using their monopoly to take it over.

  • http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/et03-104/ARRL_BPL_Comments.doc Guy Z

    One note about BPL aka broad-band over powerline. It is a BAD idea. It will turn power lines into Radio Interference Machines! From the Amarican Radio Relay League in a petition to the F.C.C….
    “BPL is a Pandora�s Box of unprecedented proportions. The Commission�s Part 15 rules should be modified so as to prevent interference to users of the HF and low VHF spectrum ab initio, and to prevent consumers� reliance on BPL as an interference-free broadband delivery system”

    Here is the link
    http://www.arrl.org/announce/regulatory/et03-104/ARRL_BPL_Comments.doc

    I’ve got other comments regarding WiFi on the official DEAN Blog.

    Thanks

  • http://nic-naa.net Eric Brunner-Williams

    My 3-year old’s sleep disorder’s kicked in …

    Fix 56k first. If you (candidate x for office y) can’t fix the existing edge access model, throwing more bandwidth just means more of the same. If the Internet in your mind is video streams, then you won’t fix what isn’t in your definition of the Internet. If the Internet in your mind is vernal pools where roadwarriors and other wireless amphibians mate, then you won’t fix what isn’t in your definition of the Internet. Don’t screw around with the core unless you are capable of fixing GX and WC and the other bankrupt buildouts.

    Wholesale dial runs about $5/mo, retail dial runs about two to three multiples of wholesale. IP over cable and xdsl retail closer to ten multiple of wholesale dial. Broadband is simply not urban, and not rural.

    The US is an opt-out regime, the DMA likes it that way. Can spam be fixed if the the US remains opt-out? I’m on the IRTF’s Anti Spam Research Group, a room full of monkeys each with keyboards and modems, and I’m not alone in thinking the answer is “no”. There’s something fundamental to fix.

    Hundreds of thousands of cable- and dsl-attached machines are captured by trivial virus programs exploiting essential security flaws in the DOS operating system, and exploited as disposable send-side platforms for spam. Can spam and other classes of distributed pathological programming (e.g., ddos) be fixed if the essential security flaws in comodity operating system products are not fixed? See above. There’s something fundamental to fix.

    [I'm slightly biased on this one, having written XPG, aka Unix 98. Everyone who's written something about FOSS is in the same boat, as are those who are critical of monopoly power in any market, the operating system one included.]

    There are useful things a politican can do, even one lacking clue. Please pick one and do the drill-down.

    Eric Brunner-Williams

  • anon

    I really think it is naive that GOV Dean is going to be able to influence any of this..

  • Anonymous

    I really think it is naive that GOV Dean is going to be able to influence any of this..

  • Marc in CA

    Anon,
    Every politician has limits to what they can do. Those limits are imposed by who they have to work with and what barriers they have to overcome.

    Is it naive to think that Governor Dean is going to be able to influence any of this…yes. Is it naive to think that PRESIDENT Dean would be able to influence any of this…most certianly not. Discussions about IP issues are not important to 99% of all politicians. The internet community doesn’t have lobbyists who make it important to politicians.

    But I think its naive for you to not recognize that Dean is the best chance we have. Much of his success has been as a result of the internet and the open source community. They have allowed him to deliver his message without having to raise huge amounts of money for expensive publicity. AmericansForDean.com is a perfect example of this…creating open source community tools to organize a nationwide effort.

    The minimum that Dean can do is send legislation to Congress. Make public statements and speeches regarding the issues that concern this community and get the public dialogue going in the political circles required to eventually accomplish what we want.

    Will those bills pass, will the tides change??? That remains to be seen and will depend greatly upon whether or not the Republicans and corporation-bought-Democrats maintain control of the Congress. But something is better than nothing and Dean will give us something. And I know that you’ll get absolutely nothing from the other candidates.

    Lets not forget. Once Dean has the facts, he has a record of taking a strong stance on issues and fighting for them till the end (i.e. civil unions legislation in Vermont).

    I think he deserves the chance to do his best. After all, when’s the last time you remember a Presidential candidate going into a public forum accessible to everyone and asking people for their opinions on an issue? It just doesn’t happen.

  • Channing

    Regarding the Digital Divide: Maybe tax breaks could be given to companies that donate outgoing computers to poor and/or minority individuals or organizations. Why buy broadband if you can’t afford a computer.

    Using the blog to locate people who could donate old computers to minority organizations or community centers could get more people involved in the campaign.

  • http://phil.codeallday.com Phil Gengler

    Governor Dean and team,

    I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time this week to spend some time around here, taking in the issues that are important to all of us, and letting us know where you stand. :)
    It’s nice to see a politician trying to stay in touch with the people that he would be representing.

  • Lucian

    I dont think the digital divide will be solved with tax breaks lol, thats a republican idea.

    The private companies will never fund something like this, government has to step in and make it a priority, in the same way water and electricity are vital.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    The VNS exit polls from the 2000 presidential election indicate that 64% of voters were “regular users of the Internet”. Add the occasional users to that figure, and fast forward three years and you reach the conclusion that there isn’t a “digital divide” in the USA outside of speechwriters’ bag of rhetorical tricks. Poor people in the USA have TV sets, microwave ovens, and mobile phones, and computers and dial-up Internet connections are cheap enough that anybody with a job or a two-parent family can get on the Net. For others, we have computers in the libraries and the schools.

    So the reason that Net use is not 100% isn’t about economics, it’s about something much more fundamental to making the Internet interesting to use, literacy. You have to be able to read to get anything out of the Internet beyond downloading porn or stealing music, and so many of our young people are victims of failed public schools and dysfunctional families that they can’t read well enough to enjoy the Net. Solve the public education problem, and you eliminate the digital divide and you eliminate the justification for that form of racial profiling we call Affirmative Action. But to reform the schools, you have to bust the teachers’ union, and as a Democrat you can’t even think about that.

    WiFi is a great, nifty little technology, built on a protocol that was invented by a rural Vermonter, Stan Fickes, when he lived in San Jose, and by yours truly. WiFi is a local area network technology that was designed to serve small areas, such as office spaces and classrooms, and not entire neighborhoods and rural expanses, owing primarily to its inability to share channels without centralized control. There are more appropriate means for moving data wirelessly over long distances and in crowded airspaces — 802.16 and 3G (a cell phone technology). See: Network+Interop this year for and example of what happens when you try and crowd too much 802.11 in a common airspace.

    Wires and fiber are a more immediate and practical means for establishing stationary broadband connections in cities and suburban neighborhoods, and we have a lot of “dark fiber” installed during the Bubble that’s not being used. So the policy question is what it takes to get it lit up.

    The countries with highest broadband penetration are the Asian dragons where public/private partnerships in infrastructure projects are the norm. In Singapore, where I once lived and worked, the government has a venture capital fund that’s dedicated to critical projects of national importance. This fund enabled the creation of Singapore Airlines, which was ultimately privatized with profits going back into the fund for further investment. The high cost of venture capital blocks a lot of infrastructure projects these days, and reducing it would clearly help.

    But the other component that’s critical to broadband deployment is a regulatory environment that’s stable enough to support rational investment planning and loose enough to yield reasonable return on investment. I’m not sanguine about government-controlled infrastructure in technical areas because the cost/benefit calculus for public spending has to be risk averse; see: Soviet Union’s telephone system.

    I could go on, but this is too long already. Have a nice campaign, stress the positive, and drop the attack-dog business that turns people off of politics, taking a lesson in communicating from The Great Communicator.

  • http://electricgypsyband.iuma.com Shmoo

    Gov. Dean,

    Please work TOWARDS the ultimate goal of all information exchange networks (phone, radio, tv, internet, cable, etc.) being owned by the people, of the people, and for the people. In “theory” this is what was supposed to be, but in practice and in truth, ALL these outlets are owned and dominated by corporate entities. The first amendment is the “first” amendment because it is the most important.
    I know that I am only dreaming, but it is a very important and AMERICAN dream!

    Shmoo, of Electric Gypsy
    Support Local and Independent Music (boycott the RIAA!)

  • http://nic-naa.net Eric Brunner-Williams

    Richard,

    See: Network+Interop this year for and example of what happens when you try and crowd too much 802.11 in a common airspace.

    Hey! I used to build Dan Lynch’s shownets. Happy hectic memories.

    We disagree on causation (you: failed schools, no actual access issue; me: non-failed schools, actual access issue), but not on the delivery of literacy, vs video and audio clips. There we agree. Trouble is, all the dot-gonners flooded in on the post-literacy wave, and are happy as clams without an API, and married to the (hiddeously clunky) set of UI memes atop of http.

    I don’t mind if Lessig catches the p2p boat (“cargo cult” was a nice touch, and incidently there’s a IRTF list started about a month ago), but I’ve put up with Dirdre Mulligan when working the http state management mechanism issue (p3p), and I attempt to “work” in the ICANN zoo, so I’ve got some of the same character defects as Karl Auerbach (also a showneter).

    What I do mind is how this week cratered. Had this been an equivalent USENET or LISTSERV community, zero substantive content from the guest celeb and lots of off-topic wander plus a wandering chorus of nothing’s-wrong-be-happy acolytes of the celeb, and paper-thin celeb responsive commentary — on the process or the comments themselves. Berk!

    IMHO, this experiment has been a failure. A faceless campaign elf doing I’ll-get-back-to-you-on-that would have worked. This did not. The “oppo research” is not that the candidate wrote something both modestly memorable and arguably incorret (spinably stupid), it is that there was no there there at all. When handed an issue blog of note, the candidate stumbled. Whoever tries it next can’t do worse.

    With that I’ll go back to my day job, I lost a lot of interest in the IP problem space when I realized how little indigenous IP, aka traditional knowledge, aka folklore, aka biodiversity, … clutters the radars of the “regular” IP legal community in the US, and even more when the IRTF DRM effort cratered.

    Professor Lessig, please send me a poke in the eye with a sharp stick when you’ve an indigenous IPR issue on the plate. Thanks for the use of your comments, and please provide your MT templates via email, ftp or http.

    TiA,
    Eric Brunner-Williams

  • LCF

    Fox news is reporting that hundreds of Subpoenas have been granted against ordinary citizen for alleged DMCA violations. What is your opinion on this issue?

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Do you know what Dan’s up to these days, Eric? I haven’t seen him in a while.

  • http://nic-naa.net Eric Brunner-Williams

    I’ve no idea. He sold the show, what, a decade ago. I’ve lost contact with Peter deVries, most of the White Knights (core team) can be found in or within a finite number of hops from IETF-space, and Ole does the same rag but for cisco.

  • Keith

    Hi Gov Dean. Im a former steelworker that lost his job due to NAFTA. What do you plan on doing to a program that ships our jobs overseas? My area here in Ohio, is dead and jobs that are coming to replace steel are minimum wage. How is replacing good paying jobs with min.wage jobs a good thing?

    As far as internet, federal government should provide computers to schools. If we can send money to other countries peoples why cant we do stuff for our own?

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    I Googled him, Eric, and it looks like he’s now the gentleman farmer and venture capitalist. Not a bad gig, if you can get it.

    Well, it looks like this deal is done, so we’ll see y’all down the road.

  • Ankrom

    Access to the internet comes down to people’s ability to afford it.

    A national health insurance program would help a lot. (If some people want additional insurance, I’m sure someone will be happy to take their money.) The current link between the employer and health insurance is perverting the whole economy, and it’s killing the U.S. in the global market (where we compete with companies that have no direct health-insurance costs). People’s kids, friends, and curiosity can get them online once they are earning a decent wage. In schools, fix the roof, make sure the kids are fed, and ensure that they have books (a problem even in some middle-class schools!). Those are the first steps to narrowing the digital divide.

  • S L Collins

    Governor Dean-

    The Digital Divide is real. I live in a remote area of Eastern KY. Few people have computers or internet access. Those of us who do are limited to dial-up connections because of the cost of running the lines.

    In Japan, Corporations are required by law to use 10% of their profit to upgrade their technology. If the Communications industry had such a requirement, this wouldn’t be a problem. Wi-fi might be the only hope for those of us who are really out in the sticks, so they should start building from the outside in.

    For example, with Digital Satellite, they provide local channels to the largest markets first. Where I live, the cable service is substandard; television reception is impossible because of the mountains, so satellite is the only real option. We pay the same charges as people in the city who get local channels. There are no local channels available here, but we can get New York and LA channels for an ADDITIONAL fee. We pay more for less service and have no viable alternative. It’s shaping up the same way with the internet. The areas that need it most have least access, and we pay more for it. There is only one ISP with a local access number here. I pay $18. a month for service I could get for under $10. in a city.

    I don’t live here by choice. Many goods and services would be unavailable here without access to the internet, and UPS or Fed Ex. Rural areas have to be a priority when these decisions are being made. Decent communications are vital to our quality of life, and in many cases may be the only access for students who don’t have libraries in their communities. It is even more important to make these services available to the poor in rural areas. We don’t have dozens of agencies we can turn to for help as we might in an urban environment.

    Thanks-

    SL

  • Carl

    Governor Dean,

    Do you mind if I change the topic for a moment? ;-)
    Here�s something that I�m really concerned about, and I think you should be too.

    Copyright and other intellectual property issues (like the DMCA) are important topics on this blog. While these topics probably don�t seem very relevant to everyday Americans, there is a bigger picture to it all that may not seem apparent. This brings me to what I would like to see a greater focus on: How has the mainstreaming of the Internet affected intellectual property and the information sector of our economy? How does it affect the careers of many Americans in the present and in the future?

    The economy is based on capitalism, free markets, globalism, etc.
    We all need to make money to pay for the products and services that we need and want.
    These are 3 major categories of industries in which most people have jobs:

    1. Physical products (food, housing, manufactured goods, etc.)
    2. Services (doctors, lawyers, teachers, salespeople, managers, etc.)
    3. Intellectual Property (books, music, films, software, etc.)
    (I realize that I may have left some categories out, but this should suffice for my discussion.)

    First lets look at #1.
    The US used to have a strong manufacturing industry, but much of that had moved outside of the US and into third-world countries, along with a continuing decline in blue-collar jobs in this country. Due to globalization, workers in other countries are paid significantly less than they do here, which is the reason why most of the work moved overseas. It is simply cheaper for companies to produce goods there. In order to get a good paying job here then, people have had to get a college degree and work in another field. A high school diploma doesn�t cut it anymore in most cases, except for minimum wage jobs.

    #2. Services
    By their nature of requiring direct customer contact, it is likely that many jobs in this sector will never be exported to other countries. A young college student, deciding to pursue a career as a doctor is a pretty safe bet. However, some services like telemarketing and telephone support lines have already been exported to other countries like India. And technology sometimes has a way of greatly reducing the need for personal contact. I�m sure banks would just love to replace all their tellers with ATM machines if they could.

    #3. Intellectual Property
    This is where I want to focus on. The problem is, this industry is in trouble. REAL TROUBLE, unless we figure out a way to solve it, but it�ll be tough. Here�s why.

    It has to do with the very nature of information, which this industry thrives on. Traditionally, someone could write a book, get a publisher to produce copies of that book and sell it in the bookstore. Or you could be a musician, produce an album, sell it and make lots of money if it sells well. All this involves costs, not only in the creation of the work, but also in duplication and distribution of the work. With the advent of the Internet, the cost of duplication and distribution has approached essentially zero. It costs time and money to create a work, but as soon as that work is in digital form and placed on the Internet, it can be copied for free. The music industry has been in a panic over P2P filesharing lately (i.e. Napster and Kazaa) and rightfully so.

    The problem is the very nature of IP. It doesn�t work like other products in a capitalistic system in which products are bought and sold based on supply and demand. In basic Econ-101, less supply and greater demand should raise the price of a product. But as supply approaches infinity, price approaches zero. This is what occurs when IP is on the Internet. The only reason IP makes any money at all is by creating artificial scarcity by the use of copyright law. And the copyright law is only effective as long as the government can enforce it. But the Internet makes that very difficult. In fact, it is technically possible for a computer program to be written that will make it impossible for a person to be identified who is sharing copyrighted material.

    Right now the music and movie industries are scared. The DMCA was passed with corporate backing, with unfortunately very little input from consumers. Record companies are currently suing hundreds of music file sharers (many of whom are college students) in an attempt to curtail file sharing. The only reason they can do this now is because the current crop of P2P programs aren�t very good at masking their users identities, but like I said it is technically possible to do so and it has been done. The Recording Industry is merely getting a lot of consumers angry with them by suing their customers, and it will push them to use those improved programs. So what should IP industries do? The Internet is here to stay. By the very nature of information, and the nature of the Internet, copyright law will probably cease to be relevant on the Internet. It is no use trying to fight technological progress, as fighting this will fail.

    There are a few solutions that I can think of. One is for the IP industry to try to shift over to a Service industry (item #2). Another idea is to use a donations or tipping model, where IP is given out freely. Another is to fund IP from a central pool of funds, maybe a government tax?

    The movie industry need not worry, as they can fund their movies through box office sales (a Service model), although I wouldn�t want to buy any stock in the Blockbuster video rental chain. The music industry is in more trouble, and they�re doing all the wrong things to alienate their customers that will hurt them in the end. The software industry and tech industry is also having problems. Not only because of the nature of IP, but also because of increased exportation of tech jobs to third-world nations like India and China. In fact, many white-collar jobs are now being exported to these countries today like blue-collar jobs were exported yesterday. It isn�t only the dot-com bust that is causing the current slump in the tech industry!

    I really believe that these intellectual property and tech issues have a profound effect on the future of our economy and really need to be addressed. I think the sooner there is a serious discussion on this the better. We need this if we expect to get out of this recession!

    Thanks
    – Carl

    (Here�s a good discussion on slashdot about the exportation of tech jobs. )

  • Lucian

    Carl thats a very good post.

    Another solution, at least to the music problem is to allow the file sharers to become the distributor, and split the profit. If the file sharers become file sellers, this is a possible solution.

    The solution to the tech industry intellectual property situation is being solved by the open source movement, which currently is beginning to treat information as a service instead of as “property”.

    It seems to be working.

    The movie industry is safe, people want to see movies on the big screen and this isnt going to change. The Music industry is threatened most, and its only threatened because the RIAA refuses to allow file sharing to be profitable for artists.

    As soon as a company decides to try to profit from file sharing, they get sued by the RIAA, of course if a ocmpany is profiting from it, it means theres money in the industry, I mean napster, kazaa, grokster and other file sharing companies wouldnt exist if there were no way to profit.

    So we know theres a way to profit, and we know theres artists who want to make money, the solution is for the government to create a standard open source file sharing application, and then allow the user to become a legal distributor of music online, where they make 50 percent of the profits on mp3 sales, then the artist sells the rights to the public domain when they upload it to the internet or they can sell their rights to the government.

    What we need to do to save the music industry is remove the RIAA, the whole record company middle man has a chokehold on the industry, they control the musicians, the consumer, and make most of the profits. The consumers refuse to pay the “tax” and its just like the boston tea party, when consumers refuse to pay you cannot force them to buy your stuff, it has to be of value to them. The musicians arent getting paid or treated well by the RIAA so musicians hate the RIAA as much as consumers.

    So what we have here is the middle man RIAA preventing musicians from selling their music directly to consumers via P2P, while they also sue P2P companies so musicians and consumers have no where else to go but to them. Now that P2P is “legal” based on court opinion, they are suing everyone who uses it in an attempt to keep control over a market which they know does not need them.

    We no longer need the RIAA to distribute music for us on CDs, we can do it ourselves, so basically consumers are refusing to pay the tax while musicians are going on strike.

    Alot of musicians deliberately defy the RIAA and put their music on P2P services, alot of musicians hate the RIAA and love P2P, so we need to listen to the musicians(the ones who create the music), and the fans (the ones who pay for the music) who both want to get rid of the RIAA (the ones who own the music and who force the tax on the fans)

    I call it a tax because fans dont ask for CDs, fans want P2P. 60 million people arent enough to tell the RIAA their business model is dead? So now they will sue as their new business model?

    I really hope Dean does something about this, I think this issue can be solved if we talk to both sides, the creators of music and the consumers of music, WITHOUT the middle man RIAA group attempting to exploit both sides. When we finally can speak creator to consumer, the creators and consumers can come to a deal and the government can then enforce the deal.

    This is what should be done, corperate welfare for the RIAA is not the solution. Thats not capitalism.

  • Lucian

    “In Japan, Corporations are required by law to use 10% of their profit to upgrade their technology.”

    Maybe we should pass something like this?

  • Lucian

    “In schools, fix the roof, make sure the kids are fed, and ensure that they have books (a problem even in some middle-class schools!). Those are the first steps to narrowing the digital divide.”

    I have a better solution. Instead make sure every school has computers, and then load the books from PDF fiiles.

    Schools dont reallly need to spend money on books anymore unless kids dont have a computer, a solution would be to make sure every household has a computer then you could save money on books easily, theres sites like this one http://www.wikipedia.org/

  • Lucian

    ” You have to be able to read to get anything out of the Internet beyond downloading porn or stealing music,”

    Thats not the schools fault, its the kids fault. I learned to read by reading and using the net, not from school. I did not go to good schools, so improving the school has nothing to do with improving the student. People who have the net but who dont use it for anything serious dont want to learn to read, its that simple.

    Theres plenty of things to learn on the net, I’ve learned a few programming languages, I learned to read and write better, I still use the net as my primary research tool.

    I bridged the digital divide, I grew up poor but I got on the net and used it to educate myself and make up for what I didnt learn in school.

    Please do not make excuses, people who grew up even poorer than I, such as kids in Africa and in third world who go to internet cafes have learned computer programming, refined their english and now have most of our American jobs.

    Improve the internet by increasing the speed in the rural communities and ghettos accross the USA, improve the situation by building more after school programs and computer clubhouses which have computers.

    Its still up to the kid, if the kid doesnt want to use the computer the kid wont learn to read just like you cannot make a kid go to school or learn in school if the kid decides they wont.

  • Joseph W. Mathews

    Just curious as to why the Governor’s Office in Vermont
    had no e-mail listed on the state site when Dean was in
    office?

  • http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20030703.html Roman Berry

    Some of the comments on DSL and the “need for speed” above require I point to a technology called “Dynamic Time Metered Delivery” (DTMD) which can do 22 Mb/s over regular twisted pair at distances up to 12000 feet from the CO. (Compare that to the limitations on DSL!)

    Bob Cringley had a good column on this a few weeks back. The problem isn’t the technology. The problem is with the ILEC’s.

    See the column here (or click on my name below):

    Dynamic Time Metered Delivery

    http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20030703.html

  • http://nic-naa.net Eric Brunne-Williams

    The segway from IP to last-mile must have left some shaking their heads. Richard, if you’re still “here”, feel free to chime in.

    The set of services that don’t require low latency, low jitter, … — the technical characteristics of “QoS” — such as ftp, smtp, telnet, … and the invisible infrastructure dns/udp, nfs/tcp, afs/tcp, kerberos authentication, … aren’t made more, or less available by the size of the last-mile bit-pipe. These all work fine over dialup, aka “narrow-band”. What problems there are are not inate to the technology, but asI mentioned earlier, to business models that fill the pipe with predatory garbage. Incidently VoIP works fine over 56k, I ran a VoIP testbed with CNNIC (Beijing), Cleveland and WD using 56k. It is unusual when such a service is used to transport an object that is encumbered, other then computer source code. The set of services that do require low latency, low jitter, and incidently, bit rates above 56k, are streaming data — audio and video in particular. It is unusual when such a service is used to transport an object that isn’t encumbered, other than to incidently deliver non-QoS service (above) over the same channel.

    In a nutshell, if the service is “best effort” (classical internet), then bandwidth is generally not the controlling factor, and IP is an edge case. If the service is better than “best effort” (telco or cable nets), then bandwidth is generally the controlling factor, and IP is not an edge case.

    When Dean, or any other competing politician goes for “broadband” as a national policy goal, these fall out as logical consequences:
    o the media-independent policy goal is not literacy,
    o the media-dependent policy goal is a subset of universal service,
    o the candidate has confused encumbered a/v product distribution systems with the Internet.

    Absent an equitably weighted policy goal concerning archival and library access, the policy space available to the candidate, if elected, is bounded by the interests of the telco infrastructure, the compeating cable infrastructure, and the encumbered content distrubution infrastructure — AT&T, TW, and Sony, to pick one from each side of the triangle.

    There are thousands of dialup ISPs providing 56k and sub-56k, but only a few score of broadband-only operators. My company just acquired the ISP-side of New Brunswick Telephone (Prexar), and promptly sold off the xDSL business , because it is significantly more complex, and to keep our narrow-band, universal New England focus, and not get married to the markets Adelphia and TimeWarner are already attempting to monopolize, and Verizon is selling xDSL into. As several commentors have remarked, access to the ILEC and cable infrastructures are two, disjoint, crucial regulatory necessities for competitive access to customers — I _want_ access to the TW cable plant in Portland (in Maine, the other Portland has an interesting regulatory history on just this subject), and I _want_ access to the Verizon switch fabric. A candidate who simply says “broadband”, without a regulatory reform message, is saying to me “monoploy works, get one or get lost”.

    Now I’m aware of my market demographics here in Southern Maine, and I know that the xDSL and data cable customer profile is suburban, with an above median income, and less Democrat (my wife is a party hack) than the average for the 1st Congressional District.

    When all of us step back and ask what does it look like from 40,000 feet, the demographic consequence of the technical limitations on the existing copper and fibre distribution systems, and the regulatory barriers for competitive access to the low hanging fruit in the telco and cable walled gardens are as plain as day. When the porn and mass-market content distribution network revenue models are super-imposed, the certain classism and the possible racism, of “broadband” are hard to miss.

    There are scores of places where this is written up better than my moments stolen from child-minding on a Sunday, not to mention my native limitations, allow. Besides, if I’ve made mistakes I can’t fob off on the kids or a bottle of IPA, I make my living selling dialup. I’m biased, even if I’m correct.

    Anyway, that’s why DRM discussions frequenly pull in PILC issues. Things are better now, the soft real-time vs best-effort tension is just about a/v. It used to be about gun pointers and other hard real-time applications that went bang, even when the code was bug-free.

    DRM == digital rights management, a former IRTF activity.
    PILC == performance implications of link characteristics, an IETF WG.

    Eric Brunner-Williams

  • Jonathan in GA

    We have to do more to reach out to minorities.

    Although Iowa and NH are not minority bastions, most of the critical primary states are.

    We need to pull in blacks and latinos!

    JB

  • http://nic-naa.net Eric Brunner-WIlliams

    The largest minorities in New Hampshire, as in Vermont and Maine, are Abenaki Indians, and francophone descendents of the 1860-1880 migration from PQ, with considerable overlap of the two populations.

  • Dr. B.

    What about ISDN level access in rural areas?

    Consider ISDN modem access via http://www.excelir.com communication services where network marketing among community groups could produce individual and non-profit monies (www.seedlingsfoundation.com) to help finance ISDN (125K) level access. There are now low cost ISDN modems that can be used for internet access and VoIP (www.tjnet.com).

  • Daniel Speyer

    I don’t think wireless is a digital-devide solution. Even if we could get coverage (unlikely — it’d be as hard as cell phones), there’s still the matter of access points. Wireless cards aren’t free. Wired Ethernet cards are, or very close. If you have any luck or connections, you can find them being thrown out with old computers. Failing that, they’re about $5. Wireless is different. It’s at least $30 just for the adapter.

    For getting access to people who really have no money, public internet terminals are pretty much the only option. Every library, every town hall, every school should have public internet terminals, with no censership. Everything falls apart with CIPA or the like. In most cases, the fiber is already there (for the internal uses of the organizations). The terminals should be cheap (no more than $250 for hardware, free software). Labor costs can be kept down by running from CD with no hard drives (using a staandardized modified Knoppix).

    None of this helps *really* rural areas. For them, I guess it’s worth considering satelite based systems. Other than that, just offer *some* bandwidth by subsidizing a 1-800 based dial-up ISP. Broadband’s very nice, but it’s not really vital.

    What is vital, though I realize I’m a little off topic here, is decent computer education. The state of computer curriculae in our educational system is disgraceful. The main shortage seems to be teachers. I realize that most people who understand computers well enough to teach them can get better pay and conditions in industry, but we need something. Dragging Cat5 to everyone’s front door won’t help if they think they run Compaq on their Netscapes! It may well be that we need to specially prepare a corp of teachers to teach computers. If so, then so be it. As a democracy, we cannot afford the level of rampant technological ignorance we currently suffer.

  • Shawn The Modest

    Gov. Dean:

    When this question of the digital divide came up at Rainbow/PUSH, you took the opportunity to distance yourself from Rep. Kucinich, who was saying that until we cut Pentagon spending and made a real commitment to funding social programs divides such as this would persist. You’re position that increased Pentagon spending makes us strong and secure remains debatable. Be that as it may, are you asking for no-cost solutions? Assuming that’s what you’re looking for, here are some suggestions.

    (1). Hardware. Rely on groups like freegeek who are overextended and underfunded to provide secondhand computers to poor people. Articulate a strategy of faith-based pc distribution. I’m envisaging a WPA-type crusade of Penguinistas that won’t cost the government a cent–because we all know those GNU hippies are in it for the love of the game and would never flinch at rubbing shoulders with the hoipoloi.

    (2) Knowledge. Start with those all important preschool years. Make a MSCE or RHCE certificate mandatory for preschool teachers. Add a mandatory retraining regime and comptency testing. Oh, and don’t call them teachers. Create job titles like Early Liteteracy In Techology Enablers (ELITES). This will work fabulously, as it will draw all those laid off engineers and developers into preschool education, where they can earn low wages and a lowered status and frightful working conditions while managing to hold on to at least a symbolic token of self-esteem. The children will love it too. Who doesn’t want to play cyborg–7 hours a day, five days a week?

    (3) Connectivity. It’s got to be wireless. Outfit the military with wireless gear, and garrison them in disadvantaged communities. Let them hand out wireless cards and share connections–and sweets too (you know, hearts and minds). If there’s room in your budget for Homeland Security and “first responders” by all means give them the gear too. Imagine a poor community where every call to the paramedics becomes an educational moment, and every shakedown of immigrants brings us together as a nation!

  • Nathanael Nerode

    No-cost solution?

    Stop requiring libraries to buy useless filtering software. This is straining the budgets of public libraries, which *want* to bring free Internet service to people.

  • http://political_data.blogspot.com gerald berke

    THIS is interesting!
    Through this medium, a person can state directly and always on the record, their thoughts.
    I don’t have to read what somebody else thought about it, I can see the words of the person, directly.

  • MMartin

    I am no expert in this area – but would love some input from those of you who are… what ever happened to the notion that we could use powerlines that are already going into nearly everyone’s homes to connect at high speeds to the internet? In so many ways that seems like a real winning proposition to me – what are the pros/cons of that technology?

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/shadowblue Mike Gillis

    You probably aren’t even getting these comments anymore, so I’ll keep this fairly short, just in case I’m completely wasting my time. But, I would just like to say that I really would like you to become President.
    It really looks like it’ll be pretty hard to do it in ’04. The Internet is an amazing tool, and it’s absolutely wonderful, thrilling, and cool to see it being used — and used well — by a Presidential candidate, and the resulting masses of people being introduced to all the neat things that some of us have been lucky to know about for a couple of years now.
    I’d vote for you, hands down, but I’m a Canadian university student, and so it would be rather difficult. I wish we had a better candidate for our next election.
    Thanks for revolutionizing the process.

  • Sean

    It strikes me that if you want uniform coverage for the internet, it may be prudent to treat it like a new freeway system. Something that is payed for by all for the benefit of all.

    Sean

  • Rob Froelich

    Governor Dean,

    Back in the late ’90s many of us were excited about the prospects of the Telecom Act of ’96. We were sorely disappointed when we saw it get slowly gutted through little or no enforcement and that no on in congress or the white house had the guts to take on the ILECs and re-examine this issue. I’ll shorten my comments by referring you the Bruce Watson’s comments above, in my opinion he’s right on target.

    I could go on at considerable length on the topic of bridging the digital divide, and competition in telecom, but I won’t here. Instead I’ll give one small piece of advice, to you Mr. Dean. If you want a prosperous America, do what government ought to do for telecom, allow innovation, and break down anti-competitive barriers that enrich the owners of old technology at the expense of entrepeneurs and community activists that want something better for their community. If you want a concrete example of what I’m talking about, you need to get to know Annie Collins in Batavia, IL. She’s the head of the group Fiber for our Future that supports a community broadband network in her area. They were defeated last april in a referendum by big spending, and despicable, deceptive marketing by Comcast and SBC.

    I believe that Americans are among the most creative and hardy people in the world. We will find a way to ensure that everyone can benefit from the advancements made possible by the Internet. Americans will make it happen, we need a government that will stay out of the way, and take prudent steps to ensure that local monopolies are not allowed to crush innovation and competition before it has a chance to flourish.

    Best wishes,
    Rob Froelich

  • Suzanne Kiefer

    Dear Governor,
    I am a seasoned teacher in Florida. 2004 is when my campaign for Superintendent of Marion County School System ends. My friend said you have collected more money via the internet than all the other candidates.
    Our regulations state; we must have name, address, check number. How do you electronically accomplish that for reporting purposes?
    Paypal? My students told me about this company. I would be greatful to hear from your people on how this was set up.
    Thank you,
    Suzanne Kiefer
    Art Educator

  • http://docmartian.livejournal.com Doc Martian

    While questioning Howard Dean’s grassroots organization upon his financing… a series of people began to defame the memory of my brother… who passed away at Loma Linda University Medical Center in October 1984. Todd Garth Anderson was a strong and vital kid. He was a fount of humor and human love.

    this link will disgust you with the soullessness of howard dean’s supporters as they attack the memory of a child victim of the godzilla of all brain tumors. http://www.livejournal.com/users/docmartian/24959.html
    words like the words posted there on behalf of a political agenda should not go unavenged..

    I personally think the best revenge is to spread the word. Dean’s staff are human filth. If you wish to write them however, please take into account that shortly after posting messages on Dean weblogs, people i believe to be Howard Dean’s goons have swerved their cars at me… attempted to physically intimidate me… and act like nazis in a variety of shocking methods of huey long style politics. Spread the word remains my advice, you have greater networks of communication as activists, students and humanists, then they have as corrupt thugs.

    Respectfully,
    Kevin Anderson

    howard dean! sucking israel’s bean! a sellout machine! building fences not dreams! brought to you by the same guys that shot yitzhak rabin! and his lovely zionist wife, dr. steinberg-dean! bought by sex, a second doctor’s income and ice cream. howard dean!

  • saidur r. badal

    Dear
    Sir,
    I am interested to attend the confrence. please send me all
    information in details. i am working in ngo in bangladesh.
    thanks and best regards.
    saidur r. badal

  • http://www.LateNightPrinters.com business card

    Dean needs to get on Conan O’Brien – fast

  • Anonymous

    I live in Oklahoma and have been begging my local cable company for years now to carry broad band internet access but since more people in my area do not want it, it is not cost affective for the cable company to carry it(in other words we will not make enough of a proffit).
    I have access through my phone line and aol right now but it is costing me about $100 a month which i think really sucks.
    I could get broad band access through Southwestern Bell but to do so i will have to had my phone account with them for at least a year in good standing and pay a $500 deposit for the equipment.Now I play alot of games over the internet and with
    out broad band access they are not really much fun when some one comes along and kills me then tells me I should not even be on if I am only going to use a dial up connection which is all i am able to get right now even though I am more than willing to pay more than the $100 a month I am paying right now.
    So in closing I guess what I am saying is that a fast and realliable internet access method should be established for everyone in the country no matter where they live or wither they are rich,middle class or poor and that it needs to be done as soon as possible.
    It would help make us a more informed and better educated country in my oppion.
    And to that guy that lives in Sweden and has 10 meg access with no upload/download restictions for only 22 a month over the phone lines no less, I would just like to say that i eveny you very much and would consider myself extreamly lucky if I was able to get a deal that even came close to yours.(the max connection speed i can get is 48k if i am lucky and some times i have to spend several hours just trying to get connected).

  • Jean Cerwonka

    This article is very informative. However I would like to know about wifimax. is it only for businesses or does it have other applications?