KenB - 2:58 am on Feb 27, 2010 (gmt 0)
I don't think DSL is the way to bring broadband or even quasi-broadband to rural parts of the U.S. As pointed out above the CO limitations and need to run so much copper is just too great. If broadband Internet is going to be brought to rural parts of the U.S. we need it needs to be made a national priority much like the rural electrification projects were early in the 20th century. As part of this the Federal government needs to invest in helping to develop the one technology that could actually bring broadband Internet to rural America and bring real competition to the not so rural parts of the U.S. That is the Federal government needs to help fund and promote investments in the development of a unified smart grid technology for our entire electric grid. With a smart grid, broadband over electric could bring broadband Internet into homes over the copper that is already connected to nearly every home in this country, which are existing power lines.
Not only would this bring real competition to the Internet market as there would be another viable broadband Internet option, but smart grid technology would allow us to use energy more efficiently by charging different rates for electricity based on demand. For instance, lower rates at night, encouraging people to put off certain chores like washing dishes or clothes until the night. With a smart grid and smart appliance, the grid could even communicate with the appliances to help determine the best time to run.
A fully realized smart grid could totally revolutionize how people in rural areas connect to the Internet and revolutionize how we use electricity.