Broadband connectivity is rapidly becoming an important resource in the world. While it is not as critical a utility as water, electricity, or natural gas, it is quickly becoming an essential commodity. Increasingly, broadband is the platform over which our knowledge, entertainment, and commerce are moving. Therefore, it is downright embarrassing that the U.S. ranks 26th globally in broadband speed with an average of 5 mbps. Google is using its vast resources to improve this situation by laying an optical fiber network in the Kansas City area as a pilot of Google Broadband. Local testing in Palo Alto, California delivered average speeds of 922 mbps to users. Google's goal is not to re-wire the entire U.S., a project that would cost $350 billion, but rather to spur innovation and development by the neanderthal telecommunication companies. However, not everyone agrees that more broadband is a good thing. Hollywood is nervous that better U.S. broadband will equal more content piracy, attributing current slow U.S. broadband speeds with containing the faster growth of film piracy. Ultimately, faster broadband is coming, the question is when it will arrive. It is fitting that a commercial company like Google is pioneering this initiative, but at some point the federal government is going to need to take ownership of regulation, much like it did with electric utilities a century ago. The question is which (if any) presidential candidate has this vision and will act on it?
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(submitted by Tom)