Monday, October 8, 2007

First wireless nation: Macedonia

It appears that an unlikely award has been bestowed upon a Mediterranean nation this year. Macedonia has been able to install a wireless network across the nation. Though this feat was not done alone, it is a marvelous step for Macedonia.

In the U.S. it seems to be the policy of the federal government and its agencies to allow for the market to spread Internet access across the nation. That is why in the U.S. there are 'pockets' of broadband connectivity. Usually these 'pockets' are in proximity to locations of denser population. The reason, in order for the communication company to make profits it must be present in areas with potential to create profits. In short it is more profitable, thus doable, to connect a city of 500,000 people for broadband connectivity than a town of 5,000. Gradually as market saturation increases in the larger population locations, broadband connectivity will filter out to less populated, less profitable areas of the U.S.; thus is my understanding.

The confusing point of this post centers on why monies and support from USAID was used for what is not done in the U.S.? Why is it that the U.S. can instigate a national broadband policy, however indirectly, in Macedonia, but not in the U.S.? Yes, the U.S. is much larger and perhaps better off with regards to infrastructure to support Internet connectivity, but why would USAID sponsor the development of high speed connection of schools, rural governments and populations in Macedonia, but not the U.S.? Maybe the US is using Macedonia as a testing ground for a national broadband policy? Congratulations are in order for Macedonia, for becoming the first nation with universal Internet access.