The U.S. should aim for 100M bps (bits per second) of broadband available to all U.S. residents by 2012 and 1G bps by 2015 in order to catch up to other countries that are moving forward with broadband rollouts, recommends a study released Monday. The study, by the Baller Herbst Law Group, also calls on the U.S. to create a national broadband strategy that helps state programs bring broadband to underserved areas. Neither private industry nor government programs alone can build the broadband networks needed for the U.S. to compete globally in the coming years, said Jim Baller, founder of Baller Herbst and the study's co-author. The e-NC Authority, a state program in North Carolina focused on broadband rollout, commissioned the study, and many of Baller's recommendations are focused on how North Carolina can get broadband to the 16 percent of the state's residents who don't yet have it. Among the recommendations: Grants to broadband providers, communities working together to finance broadband networks and funding for new broadband competitors. Several speakers at a forum accompanying the study's release said other states can learn from North Carolina's broadband efforts. The state has used a combination of state, nonprofit and other funding to bring broadband to its rural areas, and in January, it awarded a US$1.2 million grant to help bring broadband to four rural counties. But speakers at Monday's event said the U.S. government needs to step forward and help bring broadband to rural areas across the nation.
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