The Cousins were mulling over a broadband tax, but the new Government has put a stop to that. (Now they’re considering using some of the BBC license fee to fund broadband development.) The idea was to charge people 50p (around $0.70) per month to fund the expansion of broadband into rural areas. Would such a move work here in the U.S.? Would you be willing to pay, say, $1 per month, paying toward some sort of Broadband Fund, to ensure that people in the middle of nowhere have access to reliable broadband? What’s more American than wanting to help your neighbors?
The UK plan, as I understand it, was supposed tack on an additional 50p (that’s read “fifty pence”—watching Sky Sports News has made me familiar with the Pound Sterling, especially during football transfer season) to your monthly tax bill. Doing some maths, that works out to £6 per year. That’s £6 per year to ensure that the fine people of Hull and the North East have access to broadband.
Let’s take that idea and apply it to us here in the U.S. You send the IRS an additional ~$10 every April, ~$10 that goes to a Broadband Fund. That money is then used to develop a modern broadband infrastructure in places that otherwise would go without. I don’t know if the good people of, say, Wyoming or Nebraska currently have access to 100 mbps broadband, but it sure would be useful.
Imagine an entire United States of America wired for broadband! And by “broadband” I don’t mean some crummy DSL service that’s marginally faster than AOL dial-up. No, I’m talking 100 mbps at a minimum for everyone. What better way to spur the likes of Netflix to increase the quality of its streaming movies? (I shudder to compare a Blu-ray with a Netflix stream!) Maybe Hulu could bump up the resolution (while dialing down the compression) of “Parks and Recreation”?
Broadband for everyone! Who’s with me?