There was one News.com story that I came across today that I thought would create some hoopla in the TechRepublic community: "If you believe in broadband, free IPTV." It doesn't matter if you've never heard about IPTV, because the article's opening sentence alone is enough to start a fight: "There is very little on which Democrats and Republicans agree these days." Personally, I try to stay clear of political talk. I choose to speak passionately about other topics, like my son's new PlayStation 2 controllers that are designed with NFL team logos (awww yeah.... he has two of them - Steelers and Broncos) - but that is an entirely different blog.
ANYWAY, let me tell you about IPTV and why it's a big deal. According to the article, "IPTV networks are about more than television-viewing options. They also can improve health care in rural and urban America; as educational resources for grade school students and their parents; and as lower-cost broadband capacity for small and midsize businesses, which increasingly are dependent on electronic networks." This seems like a no-brainer, right? Why aren't we deploying the heck out of IPTV?
"It is not technological, with the best and brightest engineers solving those issues. And it is not market-created, with investors ready to deploy the new networks. Rather, the challenge to more rapid IPTV deployment is governmental."
Some state, local, and federal policy makers are demanding that "IPTV providers negotiate franchise agreements separately and individually with more than 33,000 municipal governments for the right to send content over the Internet. Not surprisingly, industry analysts and objective observers identify this regulatory burden as the single biggest barrier to more rapid IPTV deployment and thus accelerated broadband adoptions and investments."
However, some Republican and Democrat members of the House and Senate have "identified the need for minimal regulation and simplified franchising processes." Hats off for the parties coming together on this one!
The authors of this article, Bruce Mehlman and Larry Irving, sum it up quite nicely - "Our message to policy leaders is simple: Hands off IPTV! The new content and services needed to accelerate broadband adoption and encourage investment in next-generation networks, especially IPTV, are ready, willing, and able to deploy—that is, if government gets out of the way."
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.