Wiring Up CA

1:16 PM -- Silicon Valley has a reputation for being weak in terms of broadband coverage, but everything should be all right now, because there's been a task force.

Yesterday, the California Broadband Task Force (CBTF) brought out its report on the state of the state's broadband and what should be done about it. Here's a glance at the seven major recommendations:

  1. Build out high-speed broadband to all California citizens. Gee, why didn't I think of that?

  2. Improve or streamline permitting standards. Probably the most helpful of the seven.

  3. Encourage broadband usage among those who still don't care. Actually, that's not fair -- really they're saying that every household with a child should have a computer with high-speed Internet.

  4. Pump more money into broadband research -- specifically, long-term research that the market, with its 12-to-18-month obsessions, might otherwise ignore.

  5. Create a statewide e-health network. This has mostly to do with remote diagnoses, but any time you combine medical records and networks, somebody's going to have privacy concerns.

  6. Use more computers in schools. Get them addicted early.

  7. Continue state-level and statewide leadership. It's easy to make fun of California's broadband situation, but we're still ahead of all you other states, so there.

Telcos are coming out with press releases praising the report -- and why not? They've got representatives on the task force, and the recommendations add up to subsidizing future demand for broadband services. If the Egg Council participated in a government task force that said people should eat more eggs, people would react by, well, throwing eggs. But broadband is one of those untouchables -- nobody wants to fall too much further behind Asia, and there's truth in the statements that the state's financial future relies on raising a broadband-savvy generation.

The 84-page report is downloadable in .pdf format here. Or you can skim the two-page summary.

In the gratuitous linking department, we'll note that one of the CBTF chairs is none other than former Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) exec Charles Giancarlo. (See Changes Run Deep at Cisco.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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