5.9.2005 -- FirstMile.US, a California-based non-profit and Calit2 partner, was officially launched May 5 at the Redwood Coast Rural Action meeting. Its goal: Big Broadband Everywhere. Its method: educating, advocating and focusing the national debate on the power and promise of big broadband until the FirstMile.US vision-that every member of the American public has access to affordable, big broadband-is achieved.
In 21st century America, digital infrastructure is as relevant to economic vitality and personal well-being as electricity and water utilities. From rural communities like California's Redwood coast to metropolitan centers like Philadelphia, access to big broadband forms the lynchpin of a strong industrial base and the creation of solid, high-paying jobs.
U.S. advocates of big broadband are stymied by the nation's employment of 20-year-old technologies and dismal global ranking of 10th in per capita broadband use. In response, President Bush has set a national goal of affordable access to broadband technology in every corner of America by 2007.
"We are a country of ostriches with our heads in the sand when it comes to where our big broadband futures lie. FirstMile.US is not going to take it anymore," said Susan Estrada, president of FirstMile.US. "Today's launch of FirstMile.US expressly addresses our country's outdated and ineffective attitude toward broadband-specifically big broadband. FirstMile.US will provide an action platform for all of us who are frustrated with the lackluster status-quo. It's America's turn to lead. And FirstMile.US will take us there. First on our agenda: spotlight rural communities like California's Redwood Coast and visionary states like Kentucky, which are embracing the first mile and enable the replication of those successful endeavors across the nation."
"The genesis of ConnectKentucky's Broadband Initiative is a comprehensive broadband strategy for this state. This initiative will give Kentuckians the opportunity to plug into the global economy from their communities. We're pleased to serve as an exemplar for FirstMile.US." said Brian Mefford, President and CEO, ConnectKentucky.
"We've fallen far behind Japan and other Asian states in deploying broadband technologies. Efforts like those of FirstMile.US are crucial if the U.S. intends to capitalize on the digital dividends of broadband -- economic growth, increased productivity, and improved quality of life," said Thomas Bleha, recipient of an Abe Fellowship, author of a forthcoming book on the race for Internet leadership and previously a Foreign Service officer in Japan for eight years. "Today, nearly all Japanese have access to high-speed broadband, with an average connection speed 16 times faster than in the U.S. -- for only $22 a month," noted Bleha.
Most experts agree that we need at least 100 megabits of broadband bandwidth to support the kind of applications expected in the next five years. Some have even suggested that one gigabit of bandwidth is essential by 2010. Big broadband refers to a variety of broadband connection characteristics that allow great strides in the types of applications used. These include the size of the bandwidth, latency (bottlenecks) as well synchronicity.
FirstMile.US is a public-benefit corporation, incorporated in California and is in the process of establishing non-profit status.
For more information, contact Susan Estrada, President, FirstMile.US firstname.lastname@example.org .