Missed Connections

Friday, June 19, 2009


The Obama Administration has allocated billions to expand broadband service to underserved areas, but the first step is spending millions of dollars to find those areas. And how that mapping is done will greatly affect whether the digital divide will be bridged. Mark McElroy is the Senior Vice President of Communications for Connected Nation, the nation’s largest broadband service mapping company. Art Brodsky is the communications director for Public Knowledge, a leading critic of Connected Nation’s mapping methodology.

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Comments [7]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Mr. Bergdall and Ms. Siefer must not be fans of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me". As Albert rightly points out, McElroy's claims were laughable, which is exactly how Ms. Gladstone reacted and why these two, essentally complained. The guy wasn't worth calling out on the spot, elswise programs like "Wait..." wouldn't be possible.

Jun. 25 2009 01:56 AM
Albert from Washington, DC

I was disappointed by Ms. Gladstone’s response to the outlandish claims made by Mark McElroy of Connected Nation that only a private firm would be able to maintain the secrecy of sensitive information collected in a broadband census. Are we honestly expected to believe that the United States government is incapable of gathering this information without revealing sensitive data about where public utility offices are located? While I do give Brook and OTM credit for allowing a rather forceful rebuttal of this claim by Art Brodsky, Connected Nation’s argument was so illogical, unbelievable, incomprehensible that it should have been called out on the spot.
What possible reason does Mr. McElroy have for believing that a government tasked with maintaining millions of pieces of classified data – unnecessarily in some cases – is incapable of keeping this information secret. And what possible reason do we have to believe that Connected Nation has the security necessary to prevent 3rd party access to their databases of proprietary information. It is not unusual to hear half-truths and obfuscations in interviews, but it is surreal to hear one that is so blatant.

Jun. 24 2009 11:28 PM
Angela Siefer from Columbus, Ohio

I am far from being an advocate for Connected Nation but I must say this piece did not help to clear up the issue of Connected Nation's mapping. The interviewer had clearly already chosen sides. Contentious issues are best served by third party moderators helping the public understand the complexities.

Jun. 22 2009 05:07 PM
Sean McLaughlin from Eureka, California

How can publicly funded information be made available as transparently as possible?

Is there some way to "crowd source" the information, test and stay current by having users share real data from the ground up?

Jun. 21 2009 11:52 PM
Dick from Austin, TX

Seems that a straightforward performance quality standard would be part of the contract for service providers. However, determination of serviceability might be less obvious. Therefore, it seems ongoing quality evaluation is needed to fill the "holes" in service. Gaps that appear over time would be part of the ongoing refinement of service. This approach has been used for public utility service for decades with electric service, utility service, mail delivery, rural fire departments, etc.

Jun. 21 2009 06:16 PM
Robert from NYC

Really, did you expect different replies from this thief!!

Jun. 21 2009 10:26 AM
Tom Bergdall from Kasane, Botswana

Opening laughing at the company representative and then giving the self-appointed public "advocate" the uncontested last word are not the way to convince me that I've heard anything close to the truth. I'm a long time fan of OTM but this story, unfortunately, is amongst the worst.

Jun. 21 2009 01:56 AM

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