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Created

March 16, 2010

Faster, Better, Cheaper! The National Broadband Plan is upon us.

Within the more advanced corporate marketing communities, there is an understanding that explaining your service or products in terms of “faster, better, cheaper” leaves you open to direct attack from your competitors. No matter how fast or how much better your offering, it’s only a matter of time until your competition “one ups you”! One saying goes, “There’s no sustainable technical advantage.” Rather than highlight “speeds and feeds”, enlightened organizations focus more on the value of a product or service, described in terms that are familiar and meaningful to the target users.

So, I can already hear you ask yourself, why is this guy talking about marketing techniques in the same post with the National Broadband Plan?? Well, thanks for asking!


Over the last couple days, I’ve read over the executive summary, the FCC news release and a whole bunch of blogs on broadband.gov and I must say, I’m encouraged by what I read. Of course, a few of the intended technical aspects of the plan were discussed, but, more importantly, the focus of some of the materials I read was on the many and varied ways this plan can significantly and positively impact the lives of all Americans, even the traditionally underserved. This plan is about so much more than the ability to stream HD movies to every household in the nation or providing every mobile phone user with access to Youtube!

Let’s think about the impact to Open Government, using the broader implication that Open Government is about providing better, more valuable services to constituents. A critical success factor to many open gov initiatives is adoption of the service, however, if the service needs to be designed to support the lowest common denominator, adoption may suffer. Why? Because, like it or not, many Americans are simply not impressed with online services from government that do not compare to the commercial services they’ve become accustomed to. Ubiquitous, high speed access changes the equation though. No longer burdened with the need to address low-bandwidth users as the norm, government agencies can begin to adopt the same techniques, technologies and user experiences that have made many commercial services, who are less encumbered with stringent access requirements, so popular. Exciting, right?

Consider the implications to online healthcare options, educational opportunities, public engagement, and public safety. Government can begin to harness the power of ubiquity, from the network itself to the technologies used to deliver services, to drive far more useful and compelling services. Citizens can be engaged where they are, mobile or stationary, when they want and how they want. Now that’s what I call Open Government!

Coming back to start of my post, I think, thus far, government has done an admirable job painting a vision of a better America through the availability of broadband for all. As the FCC rolls out the plan today, I encourage you to remember this, yes, “faster, better, cheaper” access to broadband is good, BUT, the real value is in what our government does with it.

My optimism continues……